Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

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Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property
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By edhat staff

The owners of the former Sears property have proposed 550 rental housing units to be built on their 9 plus acre land off La Cumbre.

At a Santa Barbara City Council meeting on Tuesday, a lawyer representing the Sears property owner's and local officials discussed whether to review changes to the entire La Cumbre Plaza shopping mall or the Sears property itself, reports The Independent

Macerich, the company that owns the La Cumbre Plaza minus Sears and Macy's, stated it will not cooperate in creating a new development plan and has a "lock on the property for the next 78 years," reports The Independent. Macy's has a lease for the next 9 years.

The Sears owners proposed to build 550 rental apartments stating if the council didn't approve their offer, the owners would need to lease the space to commercial tenants. 

The city council voted 6-1 for the Sears owners and development director to come back with a proposal for the entire area and including an agreement for the Sears property.

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SBZZ May 11, 2019 10:04 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

"The Sears owners proposed to build 550 rental apartments stating if the council didn't approve their offer... " Ha ha ha!!!? If the land owner chooses to build rentals, this scheme will have to go through an EIR process. The city council does not have the power to summarily approve a project like this just because someone shows up in front of them with a plan. Also, I assume it is not zoned for residential. A project like this could take several years to approve.

Phantom Blot May 11, 2019 08:17 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

A fine and sensible plan. Thank you Cathy for your coalition approval. We need affordable housing for the people who do all the actual work in this town. They need to be able to raise their children here and stop burning up gas driving from Ventura and Lompoc. An excellent location for it. Perhaps the plan could include underground parking, although I would not want to see that raise the cost of the apartments substantially. On another note, Cathy Dear, can we replace the ambivalent, confused, undecided waffle major on the board with someone that has both feet on the ground? Please? I suggest one of the many, many choices of intelligent women we have available in Our Fine City. Can we have a low-cost recall of the Bozzo on the bus? Let’s get this done so that we can move forward into our dazzling future. Peter N.

Factotum May 10, 2019 08:48 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

When this noisy group demands "affordable housing", they are really demanding the right not to commute from areas they can afford. There is no right to live in Santa Barbara. There is no right not to commute. This is all about personal choices. Buy or rent the home you can afford and accept you will be commuting if you really need to get to Santa Barbara. Same weather in Ventura and Oxnard. Take the free wifi commuter buses and blog on edhat on your trips in and out of the city. No one is buying your argument we have a duty to subsidize your poor choices.

pstarSR May 12, 2019 06:53 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

but we have to bow to the prices others set? I dont want to have to pay for your greedy choices. this argument is stale and ignorant, how do you expect a city to run without the service people? without the class everyone seems to ignore and chastise for "poor choices" yet the only choice they have is to struggle and fight for every chance they can do survive in a city where people dictate the rate depending on how much sun hits there porch. seriously, get off the high horse and see if for reality. Someone is manipulating the market when it comes to rents/ housing. because its a commodity EVERYONE needs, so they have a rigged system at their fingertips.

JoeG May 12, 2019 04:19 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Factotum. You are exactly right. If you can’t afford to live here, don’t live here. That difficulty will take care of itself. Free market economics is a tried and true system. Instead, the genius social engineers are ruining the quality of life in SB by chasing the impossible dream of making our community “affordable” by over-building, high density bird houses on every square inch of open space. So wrong headed.

Sensibly Common May 11, 2019 11:59 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

I agree! But the problem is that some commuters are not taking the bus and 101 is clogged. The solution? Santa Barbara (not Ventura) is paying half a billion (with a “b”) to widen the freeway. Personally, I’d rather local tax dollars go towards something besides subsidizing the commute for people that choose to live down south.

a-1558328844 May 10, 2019 02:22 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Don't make me LAUGH with these comments that it is not economically feasible to have lower rents! LOLOL! Please - if you cannot afford to buy a home here and pay for it, we, the renters, are not responsible. The Marc just sold for $56.2 million. You think that investment firm bought it b/c it made less or more money? Of course some money shoudl be made but c'mon now - they are getting rich while lying to the rest of us about "economically feasible" rental rates. PUH-LEAZE.

a-1558328844 May 10, 2019 06:01 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Who is proposing a cap? Not me. I don't believe in things like that b/c I know businesses find a way around them. My point is, they lie and cry about what is economically feasible for them well I do not see them suffering in any way financially at all - they are uber wealthy. My point is, rents are not high b/c of that. It's b/c of greed. I don't know how you regulate that.

a-1558328844 May 10, 2019 06:01 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Who is proposing a cap? Not me. I don't believe in things like that b/c I know businesses find a way around them. My point is, they lie and cry about what is economically feasible for them well I do not see them suffering in any way financially at all - they are uber wealthy. My point is, rents are not high b/c of that. It's b/c of greed. I don't know how you regulate that.

Sam The Dog May 10, 2019 04:00 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Sounds like you're proposing a cap on what profits a business or developer is allowed to make. How many units do you think will be built over the next 5 years if you put a cap like that in place?

All Sides May 10, 2019 12:58 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Master Chief- FYI San Andres Hardware has a surprising variety of goods for a small store. Easy parking and access. I am also frustrated by the lack of industrial supply in Santa Barbara and Goleta. I try to buy local, but have to do more and more business on-line. Ugh.

a-1558328844 May 10, 2019 10:42 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Average salary in SB is about $60K per year. That is $1,154 per week (approximately). If we stay within the general economic rule of thumb of no more than 2 weeks pay towards rent, that means rents, to be affordable for the average worker, should be no more than $2300 per month and ideally, about $1200/month. There is literally no affordable housing in SB.

a-1558328844 May 10, 2019 10:36 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Where is there affordable housing in SB? To me, when you take the general rule of thumb which is no more than 2 weeks salary should go to rent (and preferably, you should be able to pay your rent with 1-1.5 weeks salary), that is affordable. Meaning, take the mean average salary and multiply that out - that would be affordable. In just the last year traffic in SB has jumped significantly, and so has the number of unfriendly drivers. Pretty obvious what is going on here. If I owned a home here I'd be selling now as I think, especially with downtown properties, values are going to plummet and the bubble will soon burst.

a-1558328844 May 10, 2019 10:32 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

So here we are, the citizen's voices are clear. Will our employees i.e. the elected officials listen and do what WE want? Nope. They'll do whatever they want. They have turned a deaf ear to us and should be fired.

MasterChief May 10, 2019 10:05 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

More Densification? How about a Lowes Home Improvement Hardware Store. We already Lost Sears & Osh! Have to go Downtown,or Goleta, Just to pickup a box of nails, or a drilI bit! Etc: There's "A LOT" of Vacant Housing in this town that needs to be filled! "No Sir,Don't Like it!"

Ahlia May 10, 2019 09:50 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Not one comment here about the fact that the small area between Hitchcock to La Cumbre bordered by State & Calle Real (the freeway) already has SO many recent LARGE developments built, being built and approved for building by the "experts" in planning. There are NO access streets here ! No place to divert traffic every time a truck parks for 20 minutes to unload or street & tree maintenance or car accidents and the drive thru restaurants baccking up onto State St. It is already far too congested and air polluted by all the frustrated gridlocked horn blowing angry drivers. But you watch, ... the City will bend over backwards to allow even more congestion here and blame the State government for telling Santa Barbara that it MUST build more residential units. Because it just means more $tax money$ for all of the government :-(

bigone May 10, 2019 08:40 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

As almost everyone has stated here, most residents do not want more "Affordable" (Hah-Hah!) housing and a lot of important points have been brought up regarding the HA, water supply, traffic, subsidies, pensions, overpopulation, tax base, affordability, and government accountability. I've lived in Santa Barbara since 1979 and it goes without saying how much this town has changed negatively in terms of congestion, cost of living, crime, etc., although, sadly, that could be said about virtually all of California. More residents will certainly add to the problems and I don't see how a $4000 a month apartment is "affordable" for most people. I had hoped that the Sears location would be converted to a movie theater instead of more apartments or condos. However, if you look at the demise of brick-and-mortar shopping centers, thanks to the likes of Amazon and other on-line retailers, especially in California, many of them are being converted to housing or "combined use" properties. This is a very complex and disturbing issue and, I fear, any outcome will not be a good one for the local community.

letmego May 10, 2019 09:19 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

I'm not sure that you are correct that "most" residents don't want more affordable housing. I'd say the people who own their homes do not, and the people who are renters most certainly do. Plus a bunch of folks in the middle. Change is inevitable. Nobody is going to be 100% happy. Santa Barbara has not, and cannot, stay the same. Population growth all but assures that, just like loss of manufacturing has all but assured that many small rural midwest towns are dying if not already dead. The state of California has assigned a certain number of new housing units to SB, whether we like it or not. It's up to us to figure out how to do that with the least negative impact possible. Decades of "no growth" has failed and only means that we get stuck with crap like the Marc, or get ADUs jammed down our throats.......... If we want some affordable housing, we have to make some of it actually affordable, not something that does nothing but line the pockets of developers.

SantaBarbaraObserver May 10, 2019 08:09 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Two things really stand out in this thread: 1) Many people have practically no understanding or grasp of basic economics 2) Many people have almost no understanding of the actual costs of development, property and land management. We as a society have failed miserably in our duty to educate our people if we have so many lacking even the most basic education and understanding of today's life. That must change if we are to grow our way out of the mess. Something you cannot do with the majority of citizens living off of the government either directly, or indirectly. --------------------------------------- The best comment in this entire thread is Thomas John's. He nails it. We import our income and our workers. They do not live here and they do not contribute to the underlying tax base nor the community. Nope. They live in Ventura County or in the North part of SB County. They clog the roads, use the resources and make our city less desirable. They spend the income they earn in our town, in their own cities and towns. They spend their time and their efforts towards a better community, in their own towns. Not in SB. -------------------------------------------- Our city has in fact, been run without oversight and accountability for the last 30 years and has built up such a large amount of debt that your grand kids will be paying for yesterday's projects for their entire lives. The local managers, leaders and elected officials have literally stolen your kids future so that a few government employees and contractors can live a comfortable life while you work harder and harder for less and less. Yet here we are, with dozens of comments asking for the very people who put us in this mess to fix it... As one commentator said, SB is literally insane.

Factotum May 10, 2019 11:29 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Rich people do find Santa Barbara affordable and have discretionary income to support its tax bases. They will find Santa Barbara desirable only if it remains small, safe and scenic. Catering to current high density subsidized housing for anyone who demands it, destroys this town's seed corn - rich people who carry the bulk of the city's tax burdens. Proceed carefully, city council. Be a slave to the revenue demands you created for yourself that only more rich people will provide, as much as the demands of those who want only a free ride and live off the largesse of others.

Col May 10, 2019 07:13 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Lowest level is how SB will evolve. What makes Santa Barbara desirable is the same idea of why wealthy people hang out with other wealthy people. They have money and can buy a round once in a while, they up their game around each other, manners and standards used to be higher amongst other benefits. I don’t care if I sound elitist. Santa Barbara used to be inspirational to strive for excellence. “The land of the beautiful people”, few people smoked and everyone exercised. Haircuts were regular even if the messy beach hair was the style. Step up your game and let’s get the “Santa Barbara magic” back.

a-1558328844 May 10, 2019 10:52 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

COL it's quite obvious that you don't care about how you sound. Take your own advice and step up your game so you don't sound so close minded, unwordly and uninformed.

Rinconer May 10, 2019 07:54 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Col- Have you been to Beverly Hills? Sounds like you would love the town. Gated communities, millionaires & billionaires only. Conveniently located next to Sunset Blvd. where you can wine & dine until senseless, and Wilshire Blvd., where you can find an abundant supply of plastic surgeons and psychiatrists. Sounds like you might like it!

yacht rocked May 10, 2019 05:56 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Santa Barbara could allow skyscraper condos and in twenty years the city would resemble Honolulu. There will never be enough housing here to satisfy all the people who would love to live here. High California taxes is probably the biggest barrier to wealthier baby boomer retirees who would fill those buildings (and Cottage Hospital, etc). If the City of SB would sell City Hall and the downtown Police Dept HQ, they would have a good start to consolidating City Hall, the PD and FD HQs, vehicle maintenance, conference facilities, etc, at La Cumbre. Work with an innovative developer who could also add additional Hotel and condo units at the site. (There's space for that.) Think smart and long-range.

ypyetr May 09, 2019 11:12 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

For all you over privileged who think you've arrived because you own a house here, and to all you entitled who think you have more of a right than anyone else, you had better take a better look at the rest of the world to see what's happening in all the overpopulated places in the world. The issue is housing FOR NOW. Soon, your housing won't be worth the paper your title is printed on because all the overbuilding is going to leave us without any WATER! No place, large or small, urban or metropolitan can exist without an adequate supply of WATER. WE DON'T HAVE ONE. It took us twenty years, two droughts, and a new water agency to run our supply down to <7% capacity. When we refilled it to some 70%, it took us 2 years to drain it back down to <50%. Do the math, we are adding so much water dependent housing, hotels, and new development that soon the water bill will outstrip the mortgage payment. At that point you will be paying $10 for a liter of water, not to bathe with or to wash your dishes, but just to drink. There are countries in the world where overpopulation has resulted in water being so valuable it is now illegal to catch rainwater for drinking because some corporation has bought the water right for the entire country.

a-1558328844 May 09, 2019 10:50 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Poor Santa Barbara. World population grows, CA continues to take in illegals by the score. People want to live here, but they don't have the money to do so. Haven't we destroyed it all enough already? We need to continue subsidize those who can't bear the expense of living here? We build and build. Where does it end? I say we stop the development and try to cope with the over-growth that we already have.

420722 May 09, 2019 11:32 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

You are missing the big picture. The city and developers use the terms “affordable” housing for all the new apartments to be built but in reality they are 4,000 dollars a month and only the people making 100,000 plus a year are living in them. I’m sorry you’ve been fooled to believe these apartments are being built for the poor but you couldn’t be more wrong. You need to get outside more often if you think illegals are living at the Marc, La estancia, The Tree farm, hollister village or will be living at the proposed sears project.

Sensibly Common May 09, 2019 10:48 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

There is too much traffic in Santa Barbara! I don't want us to turn into LA. I agree that we need housing, but it seems that to live near upper State, most people will need to drive to work or for running errands. I don't know about everyone else, but it just feels more congested than ever on upper State. I can't imagine adding more and more people and their cars to that neighborhood.

a-1558328844 May 09, 2019 10:28 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Since the City of SB is getting rid of their commuter parking lots and parking in general there will be fewer of us drive into SB for a night on the town. A far better use for the Sears building would be a Cinemaplex showing movies. Those of us who have/will leave SB to the bums and tourists still need places to spend our money. Once people start going to movies then the whole of La Cumbre Plaza will come back to life with shops, bars, and restaraunts.

a-1558328844 May 09, 2019 08:07 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

If we have to have to build a bunch more housing in SB, and the State says we do, this seems like an ideal spot for it. It won't ruin any other neighborhoods, and it would be convenient to live right near a mall--it might revitalize the mall. I hope it happens. That said, unless the rents are subsidized, they won't be truly affordable. We live in a market economy, and the market says people will pay big bucks for even small apartments in this town. There is no way to build enough apartments to flood the market and thus bring down rents. Unless something happens to make SB a less appealing place to live, housing prices will remain unaffordable for most people.

JoeG May 10, 2019 01:21 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

The state housing mandate is a scam. Some city with huevos should take the state to court and challenge the constitutionality of the requirement. Continuous building to meet the mandate will accomplish one thing: it will ruin Santa Barbara. Can anyone say we are better off after all the new development of the last 20 years? I say NO! We just keep chasing a dream that new land development will solve our problems. All it does is make things worse. Does anyone remember the drought?

Factotum May 09, 2019 09:14 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Did the state say we taxpayers had to subsidize units to meet their mandated numbers? Or that developers are forced to build under-market rate units? BTW the state in fact are Hannah-Beth Jackson and Monique Limon with prior help from Das Williams. Have they ever explained this mandate they supported to their local constituents? The states is only the people we elect to represent us. There is no universal outside authority demanding we are required to build these units - just our own elected officials. So why the complaining, if these are the people you elected to do this to you?

a-1558328844 May 09, 2019 07:40 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

The state government has mandated housing as a priority in SB. I personally like this proposal, but there is no way in hell the current befuddled group in City Council will be able to move quickly enough to make this deal work.

Thomas John May 09, 2019 06:47 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

Can someone please in one paragraph tell me why we need more affordable housing? To me it seems like the tax base can't take care of what we have. The schools are so-so, the roads suck, what do we get out of 500 or even 2000 affordable units when the vast vast majority of lower income workers commute in from down or up coast? Just sit on an overpass and watch the white pickup trucks coming in from ventura/oxnard or the commuters coming down from Santa Maria or Lompoc.

letmego May 10, 2019 09:25 AM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

When we talk "affordable", we have to be clear. First, I have no great belief that the housing would actually be affordable. I'm expecting another "The Marc". Second, affordable could mean many things - the "missing middle" ($64k-76k for a couple) or those making a certain percentage over the median income. Those folks are teachers, nurses, firefighters, etc., and hardly "not contributing". Thing is, we actually need to pay attention, or we aren't going to like what we get.

Thomas John May 09, 2019 06:51 PM
Rental Apartments Proposed for Sears Property

sorry for the follow up, but it just seems like the more and more people living here that can't contribute to the tax base just makes no sense.

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