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Market Watch: Santa Barbara Airbus

March 19, 2010


Santa Barbara, Calfornia – 03/19/10

Radius Group Commercial Real Estate is pleased to announce Santa Barbara Airbus has leased a new larger consolidated location at 750 Technology Way in Goleta, the former home of Cox Communications.  Bob Tuler, Paul Gamberdella and Gene Deering at Radius Group represented both the lessor and Santa Barbara Airbus in this transaction.

750 Technology Way is adjacent to Santa Barbara Airbus’ current location on Thornwood Drive where they have been located since 1986.  As Santa Barbara Airbus has expanded they simply outgrew their facilities on Thornwood.  On Technology Way, Santa Barbara Airbus will have over 53,000 square feet of fenced parking area, a 5,040 square foot class “A” office building, 5,000 square foot shop building, and an additional small office building.

Bob Tuler of Radius Group remarked “When I first heard about the possibility of 750 Technology Way coming available I immediately thought of Santa Barbara Airbus.  There are a limited number of facilities on the entire South Coast which can accommodate the diverse needs of Santa Barbara Airbus.  To find one location with a quality office building, paved and secured parking, and shop space in this area is nearly impossible.”

“When Cox Communications gave notice they would be vacating their location at 750 Technology Way, our marketing enabled us to secure a tenant for the property owner prior to the expiration of the Cox Communication lease.  The owner was delighted to have a longstanding, well known, tenant such as Santa Barbara Airbus” said Paul Gamberdella of Radius Group.

Over the last 18 months The Tuler/Gamberdella Team at Radius Group has shown their expertise in the Goleta land market.  In addition to selling three large pieces of land in Goleta; Bob Tuler, Paul Gamberdella and Gene Deering have leased two pieces of land all in excess of one acre.  “We are close to completing one more land lease over 50,000 square feet which we should be able to disclose in a weeks time” said Bob Tuler.

Eric Onnen Recounts the Background of Santa Barbara Airbus

Santa Barbara Airbus was started in 1983 as a shuttle service between the South Coast and LAX.  The Company was started with 2 vans operating out of the spare bedroom of my condo in Goleta behind the Holiday Inn.  The company is still owned by the founders Mark Klopstein, me and my wife Kelly.  From these 2 vans the company has grown to the current size of 25 buses, 20 motor coaches, and 5 mini coaches.  During our growing years we made incremental steps of adding vans then transitioning from vans to mini coaches the in 1993 introduced our first real motor coaches.  Theses coaches were brought online  to accommodating our largest LAX trips.  It did that, plus moved us into the charter bus market, that has grown to become the largest part of the operation.

On the real estate side, we moved from our condo after 1 year to a retail store front of about 600 ft.  We outgrew that location after 2 years and moved to our current location.  We were fortunate to acquire this site a few years later, thinking we had secured our long term future. With the growth and conversion to motor coaches our space was too small in a few years.  We then rented various spaces for extra parking in the neighborhood.  We eventually got to rent the 5725 Thornwood site and after several years of renting acquired the site from the owner.  Thinking again that we were secure for facilities for the future.  Fortunately growth and the Clean Air Bus contract pushed us to the max on our 2 sites.  For the last 8 years or more we have been looking for the “Real” home for our operations, that would be on one site with room for future growth or operational changes.

To the present: Airbus now has the opportunity to occupy a purpose built site, that will accommodate us and bring significant improvements to our customers.  This improvement is about better waiting areas, restrooms, outdoor patio, and on site customer parking for immediate and long term parking.  Airbus as a whole has been very fortunate to have a stable customer base and a niche market that has faired well in this downturn.  We have not escaped it but have been able to adjust without losing staff.  Now we are positioning the company to bring improvements to allow us to serve our customers and bring them more value.  This value can be seen in our new location and adding free WiFi to our LAX bus’s in partnership with Citrix the sponsor.  We will shortly be launching our new website that will allow better ease of booking, the ability to change reservations online, and capability to deal with smart phone access, that is so common today.  We have almost completed the construction of a true Motor Coach limousine Bus that will diversify our market more and will be great for wine tours and company outings.  We became a green certified business by SB County in 2009, the first transportation company including our maintenance operations.  This was an important move to address our impacts and encourage responsibility.

Our operations are based on three areas: LAX shuttle, Charter bus transportation, and Tours and Excursions.  Today we are the official carrier for UCSB Westmont and SBCC.  We do many school trips for local schools that go out of town.  We currently employ over 60 people, with strong potential for growth, when the economy recovers and leisure travel and corporate events return to past volumes.  We will be able to do that with better facilities, improved equipment and the most experienced and dedicated staff we have ever had.

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