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Bacara Resort sold to Pacific Hospitality Group

By   /   Monday, February 25th, 2013  /   Comments Off

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The 360-room Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta has been purchased by Irvine-based Pacific Hospitality Group, less than two years after Ohana Real Estate Investors bought the luxury hotel.

The 360-room Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta has been purchased by Irvine-based Pacific Hospitality Group, less than two years after Ohana Real Estate Investors bought the luxury hotel. (courtesy photo)

Pacific Hospitality Group on Monday morning confirmed its purchase of the 78-acre Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta.

The Business Times first reported the pending sale of the 360-room resort last week.

Pacific Hospitality, based in Irvine, already owns numerous high-end coastal properties. It purchased Bacara from Ohana Real Estate Investors and Rockpoint Group for an undisclosed amount.

The deal marks a successful turnaround for Ohana, which in July 2011 bought Bacara from New York-based ADCO Group for an estimated $104 million — about half of the resort’s construction cost.

“We continually look to complement our expanding portfolio with properties that deliver exceptional experiences for both group and leisure travelers,” Pacific Hospitality founder and CEO Timothy Busch said in a statement. “Pacific Hospitality Group`s style of comfortable luxury and genuine service will further enhance Bacara`s positioning as one of California`s most alluring retreats.”

Bacara opened its doors in 2000, after more than a decade of planning. Over the last decade, the property has drawn celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Michael Jordan and hosts high-profile events including Federal Reserve conferences and the Wall Street Journal’s annual “Eco:nomics” summit on energy and the environment.

But when Ohana purchased the property a year and a half ago, occupancy rates at the hotel were reportedly low and there was uncompleted construction. Ohana, a Bay Area-based investment firm described as being owned by a wealthy Silicon Valley family, brought in a new management team, re-established ties with the South Coast community, and rode a resurgent wave of tourism and business travel to mount what appeared to be a successful turnaround.

“Santa Barbara has enjoyed steady increases in revenue, employment and tourism,” Pacific Hospitality Chief Investment Officer Kory Kramer said in a statement. “This acquisition represents our strong commitment to growth while meeting our strategic investment criteria.”

Pacific Hospitality said Bacara will continue to operate under the same name and under the leadership of General Manager Kathleen Cochran. The company did not say if any staff or other management personnel would be affected by the deal.

Wine mogul Bill Foley, who recently took a minority stake in the resort and launched his Foley Food & Wine Society there, will remain a partner in the oceanfront property.

Pacific Hospitality noted that it has acquired three California coastal hotels in the past 15 months as part of its newly-formed Meritage Collection, which also includes Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in San Diego, Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach and The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa. Pacific Hospitality also owns properties under the Crowne Plaza and DoubleTree flag.

At 360 rooms, Bacara is tied with Fess Parker’s DoubleTree resort in Santa Barbara as the largest hotel in the Tri-Counties.

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About the author

Managing Editor

Marlize van Romburgh covers banking, finance, agricultural and viticulture. She writes a weekly column on commercial real estate and a monthly column on the restaurant industry. Follow her at @marlizevr

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