••• When the former Nordstrom building sold last November, the new owners—Shopoff Realty Investments, Praelium Commercial Real Estate, and an affiliate of Dune Real Estate Partners—said their plan for it “might include a smaller amount of retail, or no retail, and other uses including creative office.” Creative office won the day, according to the agenda for this Wednesday’s meeting of the Historic Landmarks Commission: “Proposal for a change of use and renovation of an existing three-story retail building to creative office use (includes subterranean basement level). Renovation includes new exterior openings, new central courtyard, new core improvements, and new restrooms, corridors, and elevators.” Good news for the creatives who end up working there and all of us who have to look at the building: the owners are proposing to pop in many windows on all sides.
••• One of the projects in the recent roundup of hotels in the works was 302 and 308 W. Montecito (at the corner of Bath), from developer Ed St. George. In late 2019, the city council approved it with 32 rooms, but then someone at St. George’s company tole me it will be more like 60. According to the April 27 agenda of the Historic Landmarks Commission, nine of the new rooms will be in a two-building annex at 328 W. Montecito Street (on the same block, on the vacant lot at the corner of Castillo, next to Santa Cruz Market). Here are some elevations of what’s being proposed. I’m not sure whether the remaining rooms will be….
••• When the tourism economy here started bouncing back from the pandemic, hotel rates took off—in July 2021, according to the city’s monthly tax report, daily rates were 20 percent higher than in July 2019. And they’ve continued to rise ever since—for March 2022, daily rates were 50 percent higher than in March 2019.
••• After I posted about Pacaso’s purchase of houses on the Riviera and in Montecito, and how neighbors are not happy about a commercial endeavor in a residential neighborhood (even after selling shares, Pacaso continues to manage the property, as with a timeshare), I heard from one of the opponents on the Riviera. He told me that Pacaso owners are allowed to gift their time to friends. (The company’s code of conduct states that “Pacaso homes are designed solely for the personal use and enjoyment of owners and their personal guests. Rental of Pacaso homes is strictly prohibited.” I’ve reached out to the company for clarification.) And if you’re interested in seeing how areas across the country are trying to deal with the company, take a look at stoppacasonow.com. UPDATE 4/26: I got some clarity about Pacaso’s guest policy. Here are the relevant parts from the owner agreement:
You may permit another person to occupy the Pacaso Home in your absence. You may invite others to share occupancy of the Pacaso Home during your Stay, provided that the maximum allowable occupancy limit for the Pacaso Home is not exceeded. The Program Manager will not give access to the Pacaso Home during any portion of your Stay to any guest without your permission. Sponsored Guests may be required to pay charges imposed for optional benefits requested by them upon their checkout unless you have arranged for payment of those charges in advance. You are responsible for any outstanding charges made by your Sponsored Guests and/or damages to the Pacaso Home caused by them. It is your responsibility to ensure that your Sponsored Guests follow all Pacaso Home Policies and comply with the Pacaso Home Documents. You will be subject to sanctions if your Sponsored Guests do not follow the Pacaso Home Policies.
1.8 AGE RESTRICTIONS FOR USE OF THE PACASO HOME
You may permit persons under 21 years of age to occupy the Pacaso Home only if they are accompanied by you or, if unaccompanied by you, by a parent or other adult over the age of 21.
••• Victor the Florist’s second act won’t be happening in the classic storefront at Santa Barbara and Anapamu; it’s emptied out and for lease.
••• CycleBar Santa Barbara announced that a membership deal at its spinning studio coming to Paseo Nuevo goes live on April 29: “Discounted rates on memberships for the first 50 members, and then the price will increase.”
••• The annex of lingerie-and-jewerly boutique Kismet—in the storefront directly across from the Montecito Village Grocery—has soft-opened, with an open house planned for April 29 and 30. You’ll also find resort wear and accessories.
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