The News-Press Is Leaving Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara News-Press has announced that all remaining operations are moving from downtown Santa Barbara to its printing plant in Goleta. Efficiency was cited as the reason, but who cares? The newspaper has been moribund for years. The interesting question is what will happen to the iconic 1922 building anchoring De La Guerra Plaza.

Some history from the Historic Landmarks Commission’s staff report encouraging the building be landmarked, which it was in 2015:

The earliest building at the south end of Plaza de la Guerra was built in the early to mid 1850s, the Sepulveda Adobe that continued to define the south boundary of the Plaza until it was demolished in 1922 to make way for the construction of publisher Thomas Storke’s Daily News Building (later changed to the Santa Barbara News-Press). The building was designed by George Washington Smith in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style, in keeping with the new theme of downtown Santa Barbara. […]

In 1951, the firm of Edwards and Wade constructed a two-story addition off the east
end of the building’s north elevation. It features a large tower capped by a belvedere
with a pyramidal roof built off the east end of the north elevation. Construction of the
addition included replacing the lower roofline at the east end of the 1922 building with one that matched the plate height of the building’s central block. […]

The construction of the tower introduced an emphatic vertical element that had not characterized Smith’s original scheme. The insertion of two large rectangular windows that mimicked the appearance of the first floor’s existing fenestration produced a more balanced if not symmetrical arrangement than had Smith’s design. The tower now contributes to the significance of the original building facing Plaza De La Guerra. A rectangular building was added* that fronts Ortega Street and is does not contribute to the historic significance of the original building.

[UPDATE 4/24: *I neglected to mention that the addition fronting E. Ortega Street is slated to be demolished as part of the 66-room hotel project at 710 State Street. UPDATE 4/28: Scratch that. I was confusing 19 E. Ortega (home to Nomad Goods, which is part of the 710 State Street project), with the other building behind the News-Press, which used to be home to NS Ceramic.] 

As for the future…. Plans to make over De La Guerra Plaza are inching their way through the city’s lengthly approval process, and the building is a linchpin in any effort to bring the area back to life. In January of 2022, however, the Independent reported that Wendy McCaw—owner of the newspaper and the building—was refusing to engage with the city on the matter of the plaza. She may want to change her tune, seeing as how any changes to the building (or attempts to build on the adjacent parking lot) will require city approval.

The building would make a great home for an art museum, if the city didn’t already have one. What downtown Santa Barbara doesn’t have is a truly high-end hotel. Having never been inside, I have no idea whether such a thing is even feasible.


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This would be a perfect place for the police station! But there may be mold issues in the basement from water damages in the past.

Edward Cordero

The money that would cost to build a new police station could be spent on the mold problem, but less money renovation still be under the cost of a new station it will be by the old one

Edward Cordero

I think as a local 10th generation, Santa Barbara is where the new suppose. Police department should be plenty of parking.

Sam Tababa

How do you know someone is a Nth generation Santa Barbara local?

They tell you.

valerie banks

Next to where the old one was in the basement of city hall. Anyone remember when it was there? My dad was a policeman


High end hotel …????????‍♀️ … that’s the last thing we need… enough hotels already. It should be something for the locals, to bring them back to down town.


Amen! my thought exactly… what we need is more housing!! perfect spot for Downton housing with de la Guerra Platz has a lush green park ( what it could be) for all to enjoy. Imagine a place for impromptu concerts, meet ups, local Art exhibitions,
and and and a local place for locals to enjoy.


Regina, you are absolutely correct. How many friggin’ hotels do we need?


I don’t understand what the News- Press is doing besides a slow motion sinking.

Dan O.

Save the Pressroom, and build multistory apartments on the NP site. Low income housing, of course.


Dan, who’s going to pay to buy the NP site and turn it into low income housing?


Downtown work force Housing with de la Guerra Platz a lush green Park to be used by anyone and everyone, an old school town square, impromptu concerts, Art exhibitions, meet ups, a place to sit and enjoy, Skys the limit, a place for “the People”, i.e. Locals!


I’m excited about the potential for this property. I wonder if we will see it listed for sale soon. I have been rooting for it to turnover for years. In general, I think we have enough hotels, but I agree this could be a great location for a hotel and would possibly contribute to a better future for the seedy DLG plaza, which would be a net positive for the community as a whole.

Tom Molinari

Personally, I think it would be a great location for an Architecture School. Perhaps UCSB, Westmont, or even SBCC may be able to develop a BA or MA program. At a time, when retail and offices are leaving downtown, having students and faculty here could invigorate the area and perhaps offer insights into the revisioning of downtown. In a city know for its architecture, what could be more congruent?


Why is the suggestion of a high-end hotel offensive? Adding more rooms of any type ultimately puts downward price pressure on even the cheapest room in town. Which I’m assuming many people consider a positive. Maybe a lot of hotel owners are sock-puppeting on this site ????

Milly M

How about making it the new police station? It would save the Saturday Farmer’s Market which must vacate the Cota/ Santa Barbara St. location to make room for the proposed police station.

John Jorgensen

Unfortunately rational decisions don’t apply here.
The avoidance of interaction regarding the Plaza leads the way.
The age of the building will no doubt require extensive seismic retrofitting for a change of use.
Might have to wait for a succession of ownership.

Craig C Chen

I used to do security there and the other attached building being leased out is big enough for a hotel or even apartments. I don’t think it should made into a high end hotel though. I do know someone else offer her big money to buy out the news press but she decline. I bet now she regret not taking the offer long long time ago.