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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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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Noozhawk: Santa Barbara City Council Moves Forward With New Rental-Protection Ordinance: Measure would require landlords to give tenants written lease agreements, and tenant-displacement assistance for mass evictions

Santa Barbara, California – Published 1/30/2018
By Joshua Molina

Santa Barbara is moving forward with an ordinance that would provide some rental protections for tenants, although some advocates want even more changes.

The council voted 6-0 to create an ordinance that requires landlords to give tenants written lease agreements because “written rental agreements provide clarity and certainty about the contractual agreement and should be mandatory and promoted through an ordinance or resolution,” according to a city staff report.

The city also agreed to tenant-displacement and relocation assistance for mass evictions.

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Pacific Coast Business Times: Tri-county commercial real estate brokers optimistic

Santa Barbara, California – Published 1/5/2018
By Robert Shutt

Commercial real estate in the Tri-Counties will face a long list of challenges in retail, housing and the development of smart industrial space with multiple stories and integrated computing technology but the region’s top commercial brokers are optimistic about 2018 opportunities.

Traditional brick-and-mortar retail has been taking hit after hit from online outlets like Amazon and has consequently seen a general downturn in profits. However, shopping centers that are anchored by service-oriented retailers like grocery stores and restaurants should be OK, experts said.

“Retailers will be even more conservative with their expansion plans in 2018, looking to increase their online capacity with more store closures and fewer physical openings,” said J.C. Casillas, director of research and public relations at NAI Capital. “There is no new construction in the pipeline, so expect slightly higher vacancies and softer rental rates by the end of the year.”

Another common theme in 2018 will be the conversion of retail space into office space. Four companies in Santa Barbara are currently using downtown retail as office space.

“The trend toward an open, collaborative office environment lends itself nicely to retail spaces,” said Gene Deering, senior vice president at Radius Commercial Group. “Prior to the change in retail landscape, retail lease rates far exceeded office rents — causing all retail spaces to remain retail. Look for this trend to continue.”

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