Paseo Nuevo to Undergo $20 Million Renovation

Artistic rendering of Paseo Nuevo upgrades (courtesy photos)

By edhat staff

Santa Barbara’s downtown Paseo Nuevo shopping mall broke ground on Tuesday for a $20 million renovation.

Local officials and community members attended the event and learned about the plans to reinvigorate the shopping center. Updates will include entertainment space, community areas with group games including a bocce ball and giant chess pieces, charging stations, increased al-fresco dining, art installations with enhanced lighting and water/fire features, an updated logo, refreshed Spanish tile steps near the Arts Terrace, drought-tolerant landscaping, and new “shopping experiences.” The project is expected to be finished by early 2020.

The LEED-certified shopping center is located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara on State Street between Ortega and Canon Perdido. It opened in 1990 as part of a private-public partnership with the Santa Barbara’s Redevelopment Agency and features 154,900 square feet of retailers and restaurants.

Paseo Nuevo Management, Pacific Retail Capital Partners (PRCP) and J.P. Morgan Asset Management (JPM), announced the renovations this past February. In November, the City of Santa Barbara’s Historic Landmark Commission (HLC) voted unanimously to approve Paseo Nuevo’s renovation plans, allowing PRCP to launch an exterior refresh of the 458,000 square foot property. 

The improvements to Paseo Nuevo will provide upgrades to exterior facades, walkways, and landscapes, which are described to “enhance the Santa Barbara experience while maintaining the unique authenticity of the city’s culture, lifestyle, and Spanish heritage,” according to a Paseo Nuevo press release

“Paseo Nuevo’s location in the heart of downtown, its beautiful architectural representation of Santa Barbara and the outdoor lifestyle it reflects of its community, is why Paseo Nuevo is the crown jewel of the Pacific Retail portfolio.” said Najla Kayyem, Senior Vice President, Pacific Retail Capital Partners.

This first phase of redevelopment will include revamping specific areas of the center, creating districts within the Paseo Nuevo footprint, and working closely with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture to implement a dynamic art program. This art program will commission local artists through permanent installation opportunities, with $200,000 being allocated toward the initiative.

Paseo Nuevo Management has also committed an additional $200,000 to identify supportive solutions for Santa Barbara’s homeless population. 

The newly appointed Ortega Building, previously home to Macy’s, will be repurposed in the next phase of the ongoing reinvestment into the larger Paseo Nuevo property by its ownership, according to the press release.

Planning for the integration of the Ortega Building will happen over time with consideration from community input and policymakers, starting with an online survey available at The plan is to transform the former department store into a vibrant complex supporting community and commerce.

“Representing 1/3 of the retail and restaurant gross leasable area of downtown, Paseo Nuevo is the city’s top destination for commerce, community and culture,” said Brian Okrent, Executive Director, Real Estate Americas, at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “The acquisition of the former Macy’s building last year and the announcement of this renovation further solidifies our commitment to this community.”

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. After school shop-lifting and gang fights at the State Street turf war dividing line also played a role making downtown unsavory; on top the long-standing vagrancy mess. Local judges said we don’t have a gang problem and we must allow vagrants to do as they please. Think twice before you automatically elect these judges again. They are social engineering from the bench, when they should be neutrally ruling on the law in protection of all rights; not just their chosen few.

  2. $200,000 can pay for two new county Public Guardian positions, who can place legal conservatorships on many in the local street population. That is the best way to get them off the streets legally and into lock-down care institutions, where they have long belonged.

  3. No offense, but I think they should give the 20 Million to Caruso and have him revamp the space. That does not look like a 20 Million renovation. That looks like a 1 million facelift with some fingers crossed.

  4. Haven’t to be Paseo Nuevo in more than 10 years. No plans to visit until things are cleaned up. Not a pleasant place to dodge skate boards & bicycles on the sidewalk or having a homeless person request or demand money from me every other block.

  5. This mall could of been so much better if Caruso would still have an interest in it. Unfortunately the city council keeps pondering why the only housing being built under incentive is 1.5x over median income level of santa barbara occupations. Had Caruso still been involved and the city was actually interested in changing policy, they would of re-zoned the entire downtown to allow housing and people could be living/working/spending money directly within this mall.

  6. “Paseo Nuevo Management has also committed an additional $200,000 to identify supportive solutions for Santa Barbara’s homeless population…”
    That $200k could have gone to Girls Inc., Boys Club or other worthy local organizations for kids… Nope.

  7. Duh, last time I checked it… was the homeless driving business away. The only problems I’ve heard of with the boys and girls are the 1/2 day Friday gang fights and as opposed to the homeless they are usually run out of there pretty quickly.

  8. Isn’t this more just “putting lipstick on a pig?”
    The downtown is DEAD until the CITY gets rid of the homeless, the public urinators, the in-your-face panhandlers, and stratospheric high rents so merchandise isn’t out of reach for the non-millionaires who would like to shop local vs online or at Costco.

  9. Idiots. It’s the landlords who drove out businesses on State Street; the vacancies simply allowed for panhandlers to get nice and cozy outside those shuttered doors without interference from local shopkeepers. This isn’t rocket science, SB. Put a check on greedy commercial landlords, make yourselves a little more small-business-friendly, and voila! Watch the “revitalization” happen all by itself.

  10. How sad – and dishonest. this is a ploy to dupe more tourists into spending their hard earned money to come here, all excited, only to be tricked by the real truth of downtown SB once they get here. I feel it is so misleading!
    It especially angers me when i see elderly tourists who probably had no idea. People (locals) should start commenting on places like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Kayak, any and all online sources for tourists to read about “vacation destinations” about the truth of DT SB, despite the pretty pictures. Then maybe city council would wake up!

  11. I, too, will not go near downtown because of the homeless and the gangs. It’s just not worth it. If I can’t get it in Goleta, I’ll shop online or out of town. My dollars will be spent elsewhere which INCLUDES my tax dollars. Hear that city council? I doubt very much they care. They certainly have done nothing to clean up downtown as it has only gotten worse.

  12. Did people EVER come to SB for State Street? I highly doubt it. Perhaps the beach, pier, boating, hikes, gardens, mission etc. State street while having gone downhill has never been amazing enough to travel to, imho.

  13. $20 million would go a long way to solving the homeless solution in downtown SB if put in the appropriate hands (shelters, mental healthcare, and staff). This money is making the place nicer for the homeless people to camp out.

  14. Wow, just looking at the photos, not much of a change, but wait first they remove or fill in the fountains and now they’re going to make new ones, yep waste of money,
    Maybe cleaning those dirty dirty streets, and yes I do see more homeless there,occupying those closed store fronts and they are filthy. Yes the greedy owners and the high rents. I do go to state street to shop and dine, and feel kinda scared when I see so many homeless there and a lot of them with pit bull dogs and they are off leash, I understand why they have the dogs, poor dogs.
    Its making it feel unsafe for shoppers and tourists or for anyone to go down there especially at night. Could they make a shelter for them not so near the hub of town? Does anyone know if the city reads any of this?

  15. It’s not just the actual gang or street-person activity, it’s also the awareness of the possibility of getting involuntarily part of an incident. Sleazy and an unnecessary burden to enjoy our downtown, shop or go to an event.

  16. City council needs to care about all the downtown negatives. Loss of retail sales taxes makes it harder to balance the city budget that supports employee compensation packages and their ever increasing city employee pension payments. City staff needs to care a lot more too – they are the direct beneficiaries of all city tax revenue streams from all sources; not just our property taxes.

  17. Cruise ship passengers are also surprised at the city street degradation they encounter, since a big activity is walking from Sea Landing where they get off and then up the length of State Street. That has become a very unpleasant gauntlet since they pass lower State Street in order to get to Paseo Nuevo and the Courthouse. Either by shuttles or walking.

  18. Everyone put in lockdown? No you exaggerate. Public Guardians office would take just those who need to have legal guardians appointed, after due process demonstration that their own personal safety needs support them be taken off the streets and placed into a more secure, yes lockdown, setting. Win win.

  19. Did you notice that there was no mention for the $20 million funding? It’s our tax dollars being abused for a private enterprise. Impeach all the city council members who voted for this ridiculous expenditure.

  20. I noticed that there was in fact mention of the funding…………actually several times. Rather than listing them all lets just say that there are no tax dollars being abused . Hint, Paseo Nuevo Management et al.

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