When it comes to dolls, Montecito doesn’t toy around. Village resident Ty Warner, for example, parlayed some beanbag dolls into three South Coast golf courses, two Montecito high-end hotels, and one beach club-along with a few billion bucks in the bank.
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Rick Caruso, L.A.’s bling-mall developer, is gambling millions that he can do what Ty Warner and Ian Schrager failed to do: Get the Miramar Hotel up and running. Last January, Caruso reportedly paid Warner $50 million for 14 acres in Montecito, some dusty permits, and broken-down cottages near the water’s edge-even after Warner warned everyone within John Davies’s reach that Montecito’s exacting building policies and process cause exasperation and exhaustion.