Montecito’s New Shopping Center Is Coming Into Focus

Back in October, when word broke of L.A. developer Runyon‘s plan to turn the Las Aves complex across from the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge into The Post, we were told there would be just two food-and-beverage outlets—a full-service restaurant and a bakery/café. According to the agenda for today’s Historic Landmarks Commission meeting, however, The Post will now have two restaurants and two smaller food-and-beverage outlets. (The rest is retail.) Runyon is also proposing to add decks and terraces on the Cabrillo Boulevard and Los Patos Way sides. (*The meeting has been canceled because of the storm and evacuation order.) Update: I got my meeting mixed up; the one that got canceled was the Montecito Planning Commission.)

The plans submitted to the city also include a few more renderings which, if accurate, mean the complex will be much more prominent than it currently is.

And there’s good news in the landscape plan: the tiled fountain by Marge Dunlap will remain.

But we still don’t know what Runyon intends for the buildings that are currently home to the Montecito Athletic Club and Stella Mare’s Bistro, which it bought in November. (Stella Mare’s recently announced that it’ll be leaving at year end.) One has to presume that the developer is still trying to get its hands on the Magic Castle Cabaret building and/or the apartment building behind it, although I hear that the owner of the latter is unlikely to sell.

P.S. A. points out that Los Patos Way is in Santa Barbara, not Montecito, which is true—but I guarantee you that The Post will be much more like Montecito.


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It’s been rumored that Rolex and Cartier have committed to two of the retail units – fingers crossed!

da del

oh brother! just what the average resident and tourist needs! really ?!

Love SB

I so agree with da del Rolex and Cartier are not what the community needs. Please don’t turn our charming community into Beverly Hills with tour buses dumping people off on the corner!


One more step in the demise of Montecito- fast becoming a suburb of west LA with the inflated real estate prices and pushy, in -a – hurry people to go with it So very sad


That is a charming, authentic corner of Santa Barbara and Stella Mare in the historic building is like stepping into the South of France 30 years ago. They are only leaving because the new owner will not renew their lease. This development takes a magical, timeless gateway between spot and turns it into Culver City.

John Jorgensen

The timing of the renovation will surely be effected by the adjacent highway construction work. The plan appears to me most closely resembles the Trancus Country Mart on PCH or the larger center near the Malibu Colony, the latter with mad parking issues. Significant impact.

Janice Ristow

We need many changes in Santa Barbara but a slick new shopping center isn’t one of them. My doctor’s office is there and the quiet little place is bursting with wisteria and other flowers in the spring. I just returned from Santana Row in San Jose and they offer flowers and eating frozen yogurt in a big overstuffed easy chair, among the many fancy offerings. It would be nice to offer a fresh place that all can enjoy. When I go there to the doctor I never think, if only this was more Montecito.

steve ruggles

Rolex and Cartier? Gag me. I agree that this wonderful community keeps going down the slippery slope of “Lux.” Yuck. So much catering to the very wealthy and often the tourist or second homeowner. I do think that area is a partially a diamond in the rough, is screaming for substantial improvements and a binding together of the different elements but more offerings for the 1 percenters? Please no. I’ve been here 50 years and some of the changes have been improvements in the community but many are just awful, soulless, boring venus flytraps for the occasional Whale-spender. Blah.


Hello City and County of SB, instead of turning this wonderful local gem into Beverly Hills North, wouldn’t this be a perfect location for the State’s mandatory affordable housing quotas forced on Carpinteria and Goleta, but not in Montecito ?