Montecito’s Tourism Economy Almost Complete

Monecito’s tourism economy is set to boom during the rest of this year with last weekend’s re-opening of not only its country club, but also the decade-in-the-making Rosewood Miramar resort and San Ysidro Ranch earlier in March. 

After last year’s disasters, the only missing pieces in Montecito’s economy are the mudslide-struck La Casa de Maria retreat center and some key roads and bridges damaged by the January 2018 mudslide. 

 The disaster killed 23 people and destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes. The tragedy caused a shortage of rental property at a time when housing inventory already is short. 

As those pieces are put back together, the “Golden Bear,” Jack Nicklaus, struck the ceremonial first drive down a fairway at the Montecito Club on March 30. After more than three years, Beanie Baby founder and local real estate magnate Ty Warner completed renovation of the101-year-old property and the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.  

The golf facility is a par 71, 18-hole, 6,540-yard course with two casitas at the fifth and 15th holes. 

The country club also features: a 4,800-square-foot ballroom; “The Pools,” which hold 283,000 gallons of water, the largest private club pool complex in the state; an AMF bowling alley complete with arcade games; tennis courts and equipment shop; a 6,500-square-foot fitness center with a kids’ club; and a screening room and movie theatre. 

Also at the club is a recreation lawn with a court for pickleball and basketball, a soccer field, an artificial turf sledding hill, a baseball batting cage with a pitching machine and golf ball hitting bays. 

The club is almost a stone’s throw from the renovated oceanfront Rosewood Miramar, which took millions of dollars to secure while county government and its neighbors hemmed and hawed over how big it should be. It ended up with 161 guestrooms and suites and two restaurants. 

Re-opening at the beginning of March, Rosewood Miramar Beach also has some 27,000 square feet of meeting and event space as well as a spa. Developer Rick Caruso’s favorite art also is displayed on the property’s galleries. 

Meanwhile, after being heavily damaged in last year’s mudslide, San Ysidro Ranch, another Ty Warner property, finally completely re-opening after started serving lunch and dinner again recently. 

And then there is the popular nonprofit La Casa de Maria and Center for Spiritual Renewal, which has been seeking donations to help dig out of the mud and debris that overwhelmed its grounds and buildings, including its scenic chapel on Jan. 9, 2018. 

It is expected to be closed for the rest of the year, even though a small staff remains on the grounds. 

Posted April 1, 2019. 

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