[EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was updated at 12:40 p.m. on Dec. 19 with quotes from Ashley Parker Snider and updated information about the design and the architect for the property].
The family of the late Fess Parker said Dec. 18 that it is moving forward with revised plans for a second waterfront hotel in Santa Barbara.
The family of the late actor and developer said in a statement that it has submitted initial concept drawings to the Historic Landmarks Commission for the property on Cabrillo Boulevard at the intersection with South Calle Cesar Chavez. The family told the Business Times that it is moving forward with plans for an upmarket, boutique inn, which would be located next to the 360-room Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort.
Ashley Parker Snider, Fess Parker’s daughter, told the Business Times that her family is working with San Francisco-based Passport Resorts, but that there are no immediate plans for the company to manage the property. Passport is behind the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, one of priciest and most high-end hotels on the California coast. Architect Mike Niemann, who worked on Post Ranch and the El Capitan Canyon Resort in Santa Barbara, is designing the hotel, she said.
The revised proposal includes plans for 50 to 65 rooms, according to Historic Landmarks Commission documents, or about 60,000 net square feet spread out over two- and three-story buildings. The original plans for the property had called for 150 rooms. Back-of-house uses will be provided in a 26,000-square-foot, three-story building on the Calle Cesar Chavez parcel, with about 60 parking spaces. An additional 100 parking spaces will be provided at a third site, a segregated portion of the parking lot at the DoubleTree hotel.
“We made the decision to go for a really upscale property, and privacy is key,” Parker Snider said in a Dec. 19 interview. “And you’re not going to have that with the previous design.”
The plans to the commission are the first step in the city process, the Parkers said. “We are delighted to have submitted these materials to the HLC for their review,” the family said in a Dec. 18 statement. “We look forward to working with the city toward creating a world-class hotel with exemplary architectural style that enhances the understated elegance of Santa Barbara and appeals to visitors and locals alike.” The hotel, which has not yet been named, will be environmentally conscious, according to the website for Fespar Enterprises, the Parker family’s company.
The Parker family also owns Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Epiphany Cellars and the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn and Spa in Los Olivos. The DoubleTree hotel in Santa Barbara is a joint-venture with Hilton.
The second Santa Barbara hotel has been in the works since the mid-1990s but was stalled for six years prior to the latest revision. Although Parker and his family had received the appropriate building permits by 2007, the financial crisis hit before they began construction. Parker passed away in 2010 at age 85, leaving the project in the hands of his family.
“It would be wonderful to finish the project. It would finish the waterfront. We would very much like to see it be completed,” Paul Casey, Santa Barbara’s assistant city administrator, told the Business Times earlier in 2013. “Also, from a bed-tax revenue standpoint, the city would certainly like to see that long-planned project finished.”
Fess Parker, known first as a Disney actor and then as a hotel and winery magnate in Santa Barbara County, jumped through a number of hurdles to get approval for the new hotel. In exchange for permission to develop the luxury hotel, he agreed to donate six acres of waterfront land to the city, a parcel that’s now part of Chase Palm Park. As part of a deal with the California Coastal Commission, the Parker family also agreed — in exchange for coastal permits — to build a hostel before they open the new hotel.
The Parkers said Dec. 5 that construction on the hostel, to be located in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone district, has restarted and it is expected to be finished and opened in the summer of 2014.