Goleta’s lodging situation expanded significantly this week, as Irvine-based developer Bob Olson’s Courtyard by Marriott hotel opened to the public.
The Courtyard by Marriott hotel features 108 rooms, a 10-seat boardroom with space for larger groups, and an outdoor area with turf putting greens and fire pits arranged around a pool and spa area. Shelby Sim, the Goleta Chamber of Commerce director of business development, said he was honored to emcee the grand opening, saying the new hotel had “style and class.”
The hotel went up in a flash, rising from an empty lot on Storke Road half a mile from UCSB’s Santa Catalina towers in just over nine months. Goleta City Councilmember Roger Aceves said he was impressed that a “quality hotel” could spring up in such a short amount of time. Aceves, who will serve as Goleta’s mayor at the end of Ed Easton’s term, said the new business could bring in up to $50,000 a month in bed taxes, funding sorely needed by the relatively young city.
The Courtyard may not be the only hotel to contribute city bed taxes in the near future — Aceves said Goleta has two other hotels in planning. Until the Courtyard’s opening, lodging in Goleta was largely limited to the cluster of hotels in the business district east of the airport. In recent years, Goleta’s rapidly expanding technology market has been drawing a larger amount of business travelers from across the country, creating an increased demand for lodging.
Tony Wrzosek, vice president of planning and development for R.D. Olson Development, said he was optimistic about the new building’s future. “It seems like [Goleta] is going to be the commercial center of Santa Barbara,” Wrzosek said.
The semi-annual invasion of UCSB parents and families during move-in and graduation also frequently fill nearly every room in the city. The Courtyard is now one of the closest locations to campus and is already 75 to 80 percent booked for UCSB’s move-in weekend in September, according to general manager Leslie Brickell.
Olson said he “proud to be part of the community,” noting that the area is “great for families.” Brickell, formerly a general manager for a Marriott hotel in Bakersfield, recently relocated her family to Santa Barbara, and many of the new building’s staff come from the Goleta and Isla Vista communities.
Most projections estimate the new hotel will bring in around $500,000 per year to the city. Mayor Easton recognized the efforts of the developers and city officials, as well as the financial benefits of the new building. “When a city official stands up at the opening of a hotel, they say ‘what a wonderful thing this is for our city,’ and what they’re talking about is the transient occupancy tax they’re gonna get,” Easton said, to a round of laughter from the audience.
“And that’s coarse; that’s mean. Because what the city of Goleta has gotten — in addition to the tax [revenue] — they’ve gotten a great building and what I think is going to be a really great hotel.”