Local Developers Aim High at La Cumbre Plaza

Last we heard about La Cumbre Plaza, a group of local investors bought the Macy’s building—and it turns out they bought various parking lots around it, too. Now comes word that the father-and-son team of Jim and Matt Taylor is leading the charge, with the goal of taking over the entire center and replacing it with a major mixed-use development.

Shooting the moon at La Cumbre is even harder than usual because the complex has a patchwork of owners, some of whom own the land and some of whom own the buildings. Moreover, there are restrictions on development, although some will expire in coming years. One can only hope that (a) Santa Barbara city government, desperate for housing, will do everything it can to ease the way; and (b) nearby residents will see the benefits of a city-center-style complex for Upper State. To sweeten the deal, there’s talk of including a park—and possibly even a pedestrian bridge over Hope Avenue.

Just look at the map below to see how much more efficiently the land could be used.

More will inevitably come out over time. Meanwhile, I’ll keep my ear to the ground—and if you hear anything, I’m at [email protected] and 917-209-6473. As always, anonymity is guaranteed.

UPDATE: Macy’s apparently has six years left on its lease (if the company lives that long). The ground lease for the Sears building, meanwhile, has 15 to 20 years, so nothing is likely to happen on that front for a while.


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




It would be lovely to see this space developed into a Caruso style shopping experience (The Grove, The Americana, etc). With some fountains, maybe a big movie theatre where Sears was, maybe Nordstrom can come back and replace Macy’s and then let the retail come back to fill in the remaining spaces, some great restaurants with patios facing the fountains…


I agree- keep and greatly improve shopping + add housing and open areas. Make it a destination hub!

Carla Reeves

I was at the Grove during the Holidays. It is a beautiful Shopping Center. However, it was disappointing to learn that several of the beautiful shops (i.e. Crate & Barrel) were no longer there. There were lots of boutique high small stores which I found very disappointing. I hope that La Cumbre Plaza can be revived with a large store like Macy’s.

ES Corchero

Yes, I rather Caruso set his sites on La Cumbre over the Montecito Upper Village!!!

Katy McDaniel

It would be great to see shops on the bottom and housing on the top- like all those lovely European cities!


Mary- what would you like to see La Cumbre Plaza morph into? What would make it draw the needed shoppers/eaters?


I would like to see the Sears building turned into a luxury cinema…

Josie Hyde

Can’t we have something beautiful? Can’t we use architects who know how to create wonders, someone like Jeff Shelton? Must we turn Santa Barbara into mall city? How disheartening.