September 23, 2023
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Designers happy to see new Hotel Californian open


An artist’s rendering shows the Hotel Californian.

The rebuilt and redesigned Hotel Californian accepted its first overnight guests in more than a decade on Sept. 17.

Still featuring the original façade of the hotel built in 1925, the Hotel Californian now boasts 121 rooms, 20,000 square feet of commercial space, a rooftop pool, an event deck, a Turkish spa and a ballroom.

Principal Architect Mark Kirkhart of DesignArc, the architecture firm of record for the entire complex, said the new hotel can now continue to provide a fitting entry into Santa Barbara.

He added that William Levy deserves credit for having the vision of what would become the three corners of the intersection of State and Mason streets and getting the entitlements necessary for the new Hotel Californian to be built.

“The hotel will complete the connection between the waterfront and lower State Street,” he said.

Mark Shields, the lead designer for the project, was motivated to make the buildings beautiful and romantic.

Shields and Kirkhart said they are most proud of the public plaza at the northeast corner of State and Mason because it is a welcome relief to all the buildings that are currently “hugging” State Street.

After navigating the bureaucracy and finally completing the project, Kirkhart said he and his team are incredibly satisfied seeing all their work come to fruition and they recognize it as a hugely important project for Santa Barbara.

Woodbridge Capital’s Michael Rosenfeld hired DesignArc in 2011 to redesign the project. Additional architects from DesignArc that worked on the Hotel California include Thomas Hashbarger and Kevin Dumain. The structural engineering for the project was headed up by Taylor & Syfan of San Luis Obispo. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering work was done by South Coast Engineering out of Calabasas and the civil engineering was overseen by Stantec of Santa Barbara.


John Madonna, son of Alex Madonna, and his construction company have been contracted to clear and rebuild the sections of Highway 1 wiped out by the Mud Creek Slide and Paul’s Slide. Madonna will use modern tools such as a radar that shows where the dirt and rock is moving. About 25 workers from Madonna Construction will work on clearing and rebuilding the highway.

Madonna said that the Mud Creek Slide brought down about 8 million tons of earth and rock and that a time of final resolution cannot be accurately stated. Crews are also working to protect the newly formed peninsula from erosion so that a new highway will have solid support.
Caltrans has called the Mud Creek Slide the largest slide in the highway’s history.


A 67 single-family home development named Noveno featuring pedestrian and bicycle paths, parks and open space will break ground Sept. 21 on Orcutt Road near Johnson Avenue in San Luis Obispo. The developer, Robbins Reed, said in a news release that the project has been in its planning stages for more than 20 years and is its most ambitious project to date.

The homes within the development, which will start in the mid-$600,000s, range from 1,600 to 2,500 square feet. There are both one- and two-story floor plans available and each home is solar photovoltaic featuring garages pre-wired for electric vehicle charging.

Noveno will start accepting reservations in spring of 2018, said Robbins Reed Vice President Aaryn Abbott in a news release.

RRM Design Group, Rick Engineering Company and Summers Murphy & Partners will all be contributing to the project.


Ground was broken on a new 140-room hotel at Fourth and Spring streets in downtown Paso Robles last week. Planning for the project has been going on for about three years. OS Innco said in a news release that it plans to build the new Oxford Suites in two phases. The first phase of the hotel construction will feature 100 suites, a conference space, a breakfast and reception area and a fitness center, while the second phase will add 40 rooms and a meeting space.

Construction plans are still ongoing and the project team is still in the process of applying for business permits but the hotel is slated to be opened by early 2019.

The hotel will be the second that OS Innco has opened in SLO County. The other is located on Five Cities Drive in Pismo Beach.

• Contact Robert Shutt at