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Noozhawk: Reimagine Santa Barbara: State Street Remains a Key Focus

Santa Barbara, California – Published 6/26/2018
By Joshua Molina
Staples building in downtown Santa Barbara

After the hit of Thomas Fire and debris flow caused a need for regional economic recovery, State Street retail faces the same challenges it did before

When smoke from the Thomas Fire started to stifle the city last December, retail conditions on State Street were already in bad shape.

The shift from bricks-and-mortar business to online shopping has delivered a significant blow to Santa Barbara businesses. Conspicuous vacancies dot State Street, and businesses, locals and tourists say homelessness and vacancy discourage people from visiting the downtown area.

Wildfire smoke forced businesses to close their doors during the holiday season, and the deadly Jan. 9 Montecito debris flow destroyed and damaged hundreds of homes, and flooded Highway 101.

The 12-day roadway closure cut Santa Barbara off from the south entirely, and according to a May UCSB Economic Forecast Project presentation, Visit California estimated the closure “resulted in a loss of $949,000 per day in visitor spending, adding up to a total of $11.39 million lost over 12 days of highway closure.”

Economic recovery from the disasters will take years.

“Looking ahead, the profound destruction and disruption caused by the Thomas Fire and the Montecito mudslides will have ripple effects on South Coast commercial real estate for years to come and is expected to slow down sales activity in the near term,” the recent UCSB Economic Forecast Project report said.

Now, almost six months after the debris flow, the conditions on State Street, even with the most optimistic face, are at best the same, with little marked change in vibrancy in the downtown core.

Staples is the latest big box store to pack up and leave, reportedly leaving at the end of August. Recently Chipotle also closed its doors, as did a Verizon store.

These stores follow a slew of other chains that have departed downtown, including the Macy’s department store that anchored Paseo Nuevo, Brookstone, Guess, American Apparel and Panera Bread, to name just a few.

“Everyone took a hit during the Thomas Fire,” said Steve Brown, a commercial real estate broker with Radius Group. “We lost a lot of traffic.”

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Noozhawk: Staples Appears to Be Leaving Downtown Santa Barbara Location

Santa Barbara, California – Published 6/22/2018
By Joshua Molina
Staples building in downtown Santa Barbara

Loss of office-supply store would be another blow to the 400 block of State Street, which already has other vacancies.

The 400 block of State Street in Santa Barbara appears about to take another hit.

Staples, “the office superstore,” has not yet renewed its lease, according to Radius Group’s commercial real etate broker Steve Brown.

Radius is currently marketing the building at 410 State St. and looking for a new tenant.

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Radius Insight: Q1 2018 Market Report

Perhaps not surprisingly, sales during the first quarter of 2018 got off to a markedly slower start versus Q1 2017. Altogether the first quarter compiled 14 sales of commercial property totaling approximately $53 Million in volume, not too far off the prior 15-year average of 18.7 sales per quarter but significantly fewer than Q1 2017’s 30 sales and Q1 2016’s 24 sales. In fact, Q1 2018 has been the weakest first quarter since 2013. So what is causing the slow start to the year?

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South Coast Leasing Summary

As expected, Santa Barbara’s office vacancy rate dropped slightly from 6.7% in Q4 2017 to 5.9% in the first quarter of 2018. Average gross achieved rates ticked up from $2.69/SF to $2.93/SF while average gross asking rates remain nearly unchanged at $3.04/SF.

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South Santa Barbara County Multifamily Summary

Just as the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslides may have impacted the South Coast commercial sales sector, the Multifamily sector also slowed during the first part of 2018, but resilient Santa Barbara is on the mend.

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Radius Insight: Q4 2017 Market Report

The high annual transaction volume that started in 2014 continues. Last year was another strong year with 97 total sales, just six short of 2014’s record 103. The majority of commercial properties sold in 2017 were office buildings (37) followed by retail (24). Though not for lack of demand, industrial and land sales totaled just 17, while there were also two hotel sales. The 4th Quarter’s 22 sales were down from Q1’s high of 31, yet still above the 17 sales-per-quarter average and in line with 2nd Quarter (19) and 3rd Quarter (25)…

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South Coast Leasing Summary

Santa Barbara’s office vacancy rate has been slowly increasing since 2014 bringing the current vacancy rate to 6.7%, the second highest level we have seen over the last 17 years. It would be realistic to expect lease rates to level off or decrease, likely driving vacancy rates back toward 5%…

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South Santa Barbara County Multifamily Summary

We ended 2017 with moderate sales compared to 2016 due solely to lack of inventory. It’s clear strong demand for multifamily isn’t going to wane any time soon. While the Millennial population grows, they remain locked out of the homeownership game. That means as Millennials continue to save for a down payment they must rent. This trend is expected to continue for the next few years…

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Noozhawk: Go Red For Women Event Gets to Heart of Cardiac Disease

Santa Barbara, California – Published 2/7/2018
By Donna Romani for the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association wants women on the Central Coast to know that mothers, daughters, sisters and friends are at risk. Heart disease and stroke kill about one woman every 80 seconds — more than all cancers combined, the association reports.

The good news is, 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes, the Heart Association said.

Community members can be part of the change to end heart disease at the 22nd annual Go Red For Women Luncheon.

For more than a decade, Go Red For Women has fought for equal health opportunities for women, the Heart Association said.

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