September 22, 2023
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Bill Foley buys Hotel Californian


The Hotel Californian on lower State Street in Santa Barbara (file photo)

Foley Entertainment Group, founded by Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey owner and Santa Barbara County wine magnate Bill Foley, has purchased the Hotel Californian on lower State Street in Santa Barbara.

Foley Entertainment Group announced the purchase Sept. 1 and did not disclose the price. The property’s assessed value is $33.5 million, according to Santa Barbara County property records.

The 121-room hotel is located at 36 State St., near Santa Barbara’s waterfront. The property boasts three buildings occupying three corners of State and Mason streets, adjacent to the Funk Zone and near the downtown corridor.

The seller is a real estate development and investment company led by Mike Rosenfeld, the CEO of Los Angeles-based Woodridge Capital Partners. The company, a Woodridge Capital affiliate called 35 State Street Hotel Partners, bought the Hotel Californian property and two adjacent parcels in 2011. The firm tore down the old Californian hotel and built the current one, which opened in 2017, featuring the façade of the original hotel from 1925.

Rosenfeld has closed huge deals recently in Santa Barbara. In December 2020, 1001 State Street Partners LLC, which is run by Rosenfeld, sold the Amazon Santa Barbara office building at State and Carrillo streets for $38.4 million. It was one of the largest sales ever of commercial property in downtown Santa Barbara.

The Hotel Californian includes a rooftop pool and deck with ocean views, meeting and event spaces, a ballroom, a Moroccan-inspired spa, and dining options. The hotel also features gardens, paseos and open plazas.

The transaction includes the hotel’s restaurant, according to Foley Entertainment Group. The space will serve as the future home of a Foley Food & Wine Society tasting bar, which is slated to open in the fall.

“The spectacular Hotel Californian is a wonderful addition to our growing portfolio of entertainment and hospitality assets,” Foley, who established Foley Entertainment in 2021, said in a company news release. “Hotel Californian’s reputation for five-star service perfectly aligns with the philosophy of Foley Entertainment Group and allows guests to experience true luxury at one of the finest oceanside properties in all of California. What makes the acquisition even more special for us is our family’s connection to and love for the city of Santa Barbara. It is a magnificent place.”

Managing Director Warren Nocon, who began his duties in 2013, will continue to lead the day-to-day operations at Hotel Californian, said Randy Morton, co-CEO of Foley Entertainment Group.

Nocon will oversee sales and marketing operations, as well as revenue management, the spa, guest rooms, and food and beverage services.

“Hotel Californian has embraced the incredible opportunity of being part of the renaissance of Lower State Street and the growth of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone,” Morton said in the news release.

The organization’s portfolio of properties include the Hotel Les Mars in Northern California, the Las Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League, the Henderson Silver Knights of the American Hockey League, the Vegas Knight Hawks of the Indoor Football League, as well as several other assets.

Foley also owns wineries in northern and central California, the Pacific Northwest, Argentina, France and New Zealand. His wineries in Santa Barbara County include Foley Estates and Firestone, which he bought from the Firestone family in 2007.