Miramar May Have Buyer (1/22/07)

Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts officials said this morning that the sale of the Miramar Hotel wasn’t complete as news of the property’s potential buyer continues to leak out. According to Journal sources, Rick Caruso, a Los Angeles development mogul, has offered Warner to purchase the downtrodden hotel. Officials from both Warner’s Montecito office and from the Caruso Affiliated office in Los Angeles did not confirm or deny the rumor. Warner representatives said the sale of the hotel could be complete as soon as this Friday.

An L.A. Business Journal “Developer of the Year,” Caruso is in California as close as it comes to defining a business celebrity. He is best known for reshaping Southern California’s commercial districts with posh plein air shopping villages such as the Promenade at Westlake Village and the Grove in Los Angeles’s Fairfax district, facilities he prefers to refer to as “lifestyle centers.”

“What Walt Disney was to amusement parks, Caruso is to shopping centers,” Art and Living Magazine wrote last August.

The son of Dollar Rent-a-Car founder Hank Caruso, he grew up in Beverly Hills and received his bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Southern California in 1980. Three years later, Caruso graduated from Pepperdine Law School.

Reputed across the state for his business acumen, Caruso, 48, is also gifted in community relations, says a Journal source who asked not to be named. The source said Caruso is known for holding big town hall meetings to field comments and concerns from neighbors and build community consensus.

For more on this deal, read the next issue of the Journal that hits the stands on Wednesday.