Is Something Big Brewing at La Cumbre Plaza?

••• “The Macy’s property at La Cumbre Plaza on upper State Street has just closed escrow for around $63 million,” reports commercial real estate agent Caitlin Hensel. “Rumor has it that a team of local developers will reposition the property into housing.” Moreover, last week, what appears to be another parcel at La Cumbre—specifically, the parking lot in front of Bristol Farms—traded hands for $32 million. (Photo courtesy Hensel.)

••• “An overnight storm dropped record-breaking rainfall on Santa Barbara County, and on Tuesday morning, crews were assessing damage in the Alisal Fire burn area, where county officials ordered evacuations in case of post-fire flooding and debris flows. County Public Works crews responded to Refugio Road early Tuesday to survey the damage from the storm and clear mud and rocks from the roadway.” —Noozhawk

••• “Four years after the Thomas Fire torched the hills of Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, vegetation surveys have found that up to 80% to 100% of the ground cover in the upper watersheds has grown back, greatly reducing the chances of another debris flow in the area, according to the Montecito Fire Protection District. […] Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor presented the recently updated storm impact consideration map that identifies properties in the community that may be at risk of debris flow or flooding this winter. […] There are currently 355 parcels at risk of debris flow or flooding in Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria, compared with 445 properties the year before and 517 properties in 2019.” —Noozhawk

••• “Amid a new increase in Covid-19 cases, California is reimposing a statewide mask mandate on indoor settings for one month, state officials announced Monday. The mandate will take effect from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, 2022.” Santa Barbara Country already has a mask mandate in place, of course. —ABC7

••• “The city of Santa Barbara is considering an ordinance regulating sidewalk vending.” —Noozhawk

••• From a Heal the Ocean press release on Edhat: “Duquesne, the Summerland Beach oil well that has been tackled by the State Lands Commission this past week is done! And what a mess it was! We owe a big thanks to the SLC engineers, Interact/Acteon contractors, and the oil cleanup team from Patriot Environmental for collaborating day and night with big, heavy equipment during King Tide conditions, with buckets and shovels and other gear, to expose, clean, and cap a prolific leaking wellhead buried under 4 feet of sand.”

••• “The decommissioning of Platform Holly is back on again, after a pause […] for the pandemic. The State Lands Commission held a town hall meeting on Thursday evening, announcing that the DCOR crews were back on the platform, had completed plugging four of the 30 wells, and might be completely done in 12-18 months.” —Independent

••• “The source of an oil sheen near Platform Holly off the coast of Goleta remains under investigation [….] The platform has not operated since the 2015 Refugio spill, and continues to be monitored by a maintenance crew 24/7. […] The California Office of Spill Prevention and Response said the sheen ‘appeared consistent with natural seepage.'” —Noozhawk


Sign up for the Siteline email newsletter and you’ll never miss a post.



Andrew Maltun

Super exciting to see people reenvisioning spaces like the Macy’s/Sears at La Cumbre plaza. Building more housing, not market manipulation, is the best approach to our housing crunch. Looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do with it, especially if it does turn out to be residential.

Jonathan D

I agree with the need to build more housing as a solution to our housing crunch, but instead of kicking out an open business why don’t they reinvent the multitude of vacant retail spaces we have around town such as the large Sears building. The same goes for the owner trying to kick out Restoration Hardware (we should be protecting the remaining open businesses on State street, not force them out). The Sears owners proposed getting their space rezone as housing 2 years ago, but the city did not approve the plan. The city and developers should concentrate on the unoccupied spaces before they force out a functioning business.

Andrew Maltun

I’m embarrassed to admit I thought Macy’s closed a few years ago as well. My mistake. Completely agree with your point re: zoning. That is key for this revitalization to succeed.

ES Corchero

I agree — it seems strange that Macy’s (the last anchor to a struggling retail space) would move toward housing — when Sears and so many other vacancies exist in that space. La Cumbre has tried to encourage local business in that space, but it needs to be rethought and updated with local Santa Barbara charm and cater to its residents of all incomes, in other words: Upper State would be great for non-tourists or the wealthy (like Caruso’s projects!) — but the rest of us in our community!

Thomas Cole

Wow, $60million is too much for an empty useless building. They overpaid.