Story Poles Show Proposed Apartment Complex on Chapala Corner

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By the edhat staff

Story poles are now up at the corner of Ortega and Chapala Streets mapping a proposed 39-unit apartment complex in downtown Santa Barbara.

The former home of the Volkswagen Dealership at 630 Chapala Street is showcase poles up to four stories high across the street from the Paseo Nuevo parking garage and former Macy's building.

The project is slated to be a new three-and-four-story mixed-use development that includes 5,119 square feet of commercial space and 31,617 square feet of residential space consisting of 39 rental units. A voluntary lot merger between 630 Chapala Street and 25 W. Ortega Street is proposed, as well as an ingress/egress easement with 17 W. Ortega Street. The proposed density on the 27,492- square-foot merged site is 63 dwelling units per acre.

"In order to effectuate the proposed easement, the demolition of a 1,102-square-foot storage building on 17 W. Ortega Street is also requested. The existing sandstone wall separating 25 W. Ortega Street and 17 W. Ortega Street would be reconstructed as a privacy wall along the south property line," the proposal states.

Architect Tom Meany is the applicant whose grandfather founded the car dealership at that very location in 1958. It ran until 2017 and has sat empty every since.


Story poles at 630 Chapala Street (edhat photo)

The city of Santa Barbara has been pushing for more housing and this project takes advantage of Santa Barbara’s average unit-sized density (AUD) incentive program. Four of the thirty-nine apartments are slated to be rented at below-market rate while the rest will be offered at market prices.

The project required a Community Benefit Height Exception to allow the buildings to exceed 48 feet in height to the proposed 50 feet, 11 inches. The city's Planning Commission signed off on the project's height exception last August.

The project will return to Historic Landmark Commission for a decision regarding Project Design and Final approval. The lot merger would take place with the Public Works, Engineering Division prior to issuance of a building permit for the project.


Story poles at 630 Chapala Street (edhat photo)

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Chip of SB Sep 09, 2022 12:03 PM
Story Poles Show Proposed Apartment Complex on Chapala Corner

Wow, pretty cool legacy for an architect to plan for the future of a property with so much family history. Unfortunately, I fear the city would rather see this property remain vacant as a sort of deteriorating monument to the past instead of adapting to the needs of the future. If Mr. Meany’s grandfather had tried to open his dealership with today’s city of Santa Barbara, it never would have happened.

Gimli Sep 10, 2022 09:37 AM
Story Poles Show Proposed Apartment Complex on Chapala Corner

(Sung by Flash and his cronies in their Den)

I spy with my little eye
Anything here that I can buy
I see a thatched cottage
Looking so neat
With compulsory purchase we can buy it up cheap
Then we'll pull up floorboards
Tear down the walls
Rock the foundations
Until the house falls
Like a pack of cards
Crashing to the ground
Then we'll build a row
Of identical boxes
And sell them sell them all off at treble the profits
Demolition

The deeds are in my pockets
I've got a contract in my hand
An opportunity of luxury living
I'll arrange mortgage
To be repaid a hundred percent
I can't wait around so make your decision
We'll buy up all the cottages
And every house and every street
Until we got everything we need
Every town in the vicinity
Every farm and village green
We're gonna buy up everything
Then it's demolition
Demolition. Demolition

Two up two down
It hasn't got a garden
But it's got a lovely patio
Stainless kitchen sink
Gas fired central heating
Whaaa-- specifically designed for modern-day living
Nothing's permanent and nothing lasts
We've sold all the houses so put 'em up fast
We're gonna buy up this town
And pull it all down
How I love to hear the demolition sound
Of concrete crashing to the ground
Demolition

It's time to make some money
It's time to get rich quick
It's the wonderful world of capitalism
I've got to make a profit
I've got to satisfy my greed
It's my faith and religion
Demolition. Demolition. Demolition

And we'll buy up the towns
And we'll knock 'em all down
Build a brand new world of our own
(repeat)

- Ray Davies of The Kinks from their 1973 concept album 'Preservation Act 1-

This song is very equivalent to the developers of their AUD Projects here in SB (and throughout all of California) which are suppose to be affordable in rent, but they are not whatsoever, and the destruction and tearing down single family homes to build three to four units. Ray Davies saw this coming almost fifty years ago.

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