With construction at the new Hotel Californian — soon to be a dominant presence on lower State Street — poised to wrap up in the next few months, hotel management is holding a jobs fair on 6/5 in hopes of filling 200 positions. According to Managing Director Carlos Lopes, the hotel will be taking applications for all positions from the bottom to the top. Pay, he said, will be commensurate with that of four- and five-star facilities; all employees will be given job-specific training for a month.
Owners of the Hotel Californian — known formerly as Entrada de Santa Barbara — have pledged to have their doors open for business sometime this summer. When exactly that is is the subject of considerable speculation around City Hall. “We’re rushing,” said Lopes. “We’re making progress.” City Administrator Paul Casey suggested that the grand opening will probably take place in September or October. “We’re talking about the end of Santa Barbara’s summer,” he said. Casey said he’d heard that as many as 250 workers were on-site. Lopes said the restaurants and spa have been completed, that furniture is being moved into the hotel, and that the ballroom is 70 percent done.
City Hall is anxious that the new 121-room hotel be open in time to capitalize on Santa Barbara’s summer tourist rush. But given the geologic torpor with which the project moved along before the current owner, Michael Rosenfeld, took over six years ago, everything is moving forward with blistering speed. The original Entrada de Santa Barbara was approved in 2001, but the developer — Bill Levy — was plagued by financial problems and lawsuits by investors demanding to see where their money went. In 2007, Levy declared bankruptcy — citing $100 million in expenses — and sold Entrada at fire-sale prices to a South Carolina bank, which in turn sold to Rosenfeld at the height of the Great Recession for $7 million.