New Housing Project Proposed for La Cumbre Plaza Macy’s Lot

Aerial view of the La Cumbre Plaza (courtesy)

Project applicant will hold a Community Open House on January 17th 

The City of Santa Barbara received a preliminary application for a new development project at the Macy’s site within La Cumbre Plaza (3805 State Street). The proposed project, named “The Neighborhood at State & Hope” is an important development in the ongoing efforts to address the city’s housing needs while aligning with the 2023-2031 Housing Element and ensuring sustainable and strategic growth.

This mixed-use development project, located on an 8.7-acre site, proposes the construction of 642 rental housing units including studios, one-, two-, and a few three-bedroom units. Notably, 54 of these homes will be dedicated to very low- and moderate-income households, enhancing the city’s affordable housing portfolio and providing diverse living options for residents at various stages of life.

“The Neighborhood at State & Hope” proposal allocates 5% of its housing units to very low-income households, entitling it to certain waivers under the State Density Bonus Law. In compliance with this law, the project has requested a waiver to exceed the City Charter’s 60-foot height limit by 16.5 feet to accommodate the increased density allowed under State Density Bonus Law.

While the City of Santa Barbara, as a charter city, typically enacts land use laws, state legislative mandates can override local laws in specific cases, especially concerning affordable housing. State Density Bonus Law requires cities to waive development standards, including height limits, to accommodate the density entitled under the law, unless specific conditions are met.

The project’s applicant team has invited all interested parties to a Community Open House on Wednesday, January 17th, from 5-7 p.m. to discuss the project elements. This gathering is open to the public and will be located in La Cumbre Plaza, at the Grace Fisher Foundation Inclusive Arts Clubhouse (across from Williams-Sonoma). View the Community Open House Flyer for more details.

For additional project information visit the City’s La Cumbre Plaza Redevelopment page and for questions please contact City Senior Planner, Megan Arciniega.

What do you think?


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    • The traffic topic is somewhat misleading for many folks. On the surface it does make folks say wait a min how is this going to work.

      Two things.

      1. Parking cannot be enforced on housing units due to AB 2097 it prohibits any minimum parking requirements to housing units within a half mile of public transit. In this case they do not have to offer 2 car spots, they can say no cars allowed if they wanted to.

      2. When the Shopping mall was at its height of sales, and thousands of people went there to shop they went all day and night. Hundreds of cars every hour comin and going on and off. Housing units typically only have cars coming and going maybe 2 times a day on average. No comparison at all.

      This project comes with a traffic study for that area and has suggestions on improving the streamline process and to reduce congestion. Take a read of that then look at the plans being proposed and see how that traffic study is being used to address traffic concerns as a guide to looking how traffic is being discussed.

    • As our population gets more and more dense, we will need to greatly improve our public transit system. But the way things work, congestion will have to be extremely bad before funds are found to do that. And yet people won’t give up their cars if public transit isn’t easy and efficient. And right now, it’s not, for most residents.

    • Water? It probably not connect to sewer system. or recycles waste water for drinking and cooking. ie gray
      water. or some say they can drink own bladder water
      to survive in desert. but UCSB has been adding sites
      for students for decades. also. the Macy parking lot
      does not look like 8 acres to me. and maybe the city
      needs more housing to use the desalting water plant?

  1. I can’t believe the City Fire Dept hasn’t raised Red Flag concerns regarding the increased traffic on Upper State, which is already grid-locked. State St. between De la Vina and La Cumbre has two congested lanes with “landscaping islands” that prevent emergency vehicles like ambulances and 35K lbs fire engines from responding in a timely manner- risking lives and property. We have mountains on one side and ocean on the other, which means FINITE growth and limited real estate and infrastructure.

    • I literally saw an ambulance easily drive up State street from the Macy’s building to De La Guerra to respond to a medical emergency, completely unhindered by any cars that would have been on the road if it had been an actual 2-lane street. It was impressive!

  2. i not see an artist rendering of the complex.

    guess they learned from the Ucsb Munger building?

    but i not sure how many stories the site will support.

    is it 8 stories? or 10.

    most other cities try to limit buildings to 4 stories.


  3. Wow, 8.4% for low-income and moderate-income? That’s pretty shocking. For reference, moderate income housing is for individuals making $50,000 – $80,000 a year (and 2-person households at $100K-$160K). So 600+ units of luxury housing and a few measly scraps for the rest of us, I guess.

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