The Return of the Miramar Resort’s Swim Raft

••• The swim raft at the Rosewood Miramar Beach resort will be available—including to the public—from June 1 through Labor Day. Can you order a drink via sempahore?

••• The Knit Shop has opened in Domecíl’s old space inside Victoria Court.

••• Menswear shop Tendrel is moving to 223 Anacapa Street (near Mony’s); the new location opens May 30.

••• The Ballard Inn has been bought by the Kirkwood Collection for $6 million. (It had been listed for $7.65 million.) No word yet on what the company—which has 10 other properties in California, including the Blue Sands Inn and Hideaway Santa Barbara here—plans to do with it, if anything. The main challenge is that the guest rooms are configured with the sinks on one side of each door and the rest of the bathroom on the other.

••• I went to a recent open house at 2401 Medcliff Road in West Mesa, which caught a lot of people by surprise when it was listed for the absurd price of $8.4 million (since reduced twice to a still delusional $7.7 million). The house is worse than I expected, with a clunky floor plan and a total lack of interior charm; the listing agent said there’s an ocean and island view from the upstairs primary, which I did not see myself.

••• The city of Santa Barbara put out a release about the stone pine trees on E. Anapamu Street (this is a long excerpt but I found it interesting):

The City of Santa Barbara’s Urban Forestry staff will remove five Italian stone pines on E. Anapamu Street after a comprehensive assessment identified the aging trees as a threat to public safety. Many of the remaining trees will receive canopy pruning to reduce the risk of limb failure once neighboring trees are removed. Removals are expected to begin the week of June 3.

Between March 29 and March 30, two Italian stone pines on E. Anapamu Street failed, and three required emergency removal due to the risk of imminent failure. While the trees are regularly monitored due to their age and size, a comprehensive tree risk assessment evaluated the overall health and structural stability of each Italian stone pine and identified five trees with dead and decaying roots, requiring full removal. Seven trees are in an irreversible decline in health but were not identified as high-risk and are not currently scheduled for removal. Urban Forestry staff will continue to monitor these trees.

The mature trees were planted in 1908 and 1929 and have been weakened by a combination of factors, including drought, disease, and development over the past century. When the trees were planted, E. Anapamu Street was a wide, unpaved road. Today, the trees are in parkways ranging from 4-6 feet. The large lateral roots of the Italian stone pines cause damage to nearby asphalt and concrete, lifting sidewalks and damaging roads. As repairs are made to the surrounding hardscape, the roots of the trees are pruned, weakening the tree. Aggressive canopy pruning to accommodate overhead utility lines places additional stress on the mature trees.

Recent lab testing identified Phytophthora root rot in the soil of all tested trees. This fungal pathogen kills a tree’s roots, first infecting small fibrous feeder roots before moving into larger roots of the tree. Infected feeder roots impact the tree’s ability to uptake water and nutrients, leading to overall decline.  Given the pathogen’s ability to easily spread from one location to another, it is presumed to be present in each of the parkways. Lab testing also identified Diplodia tip blight within the canopies of tested trees. This fungal pathogen causes the decline and death of portions of the tree canopy over time.

••• From the May 28 agenda of the city’s Architectural Board of Review: “Proposal to demolish the existing development including 28 rental housing units, 49 parking spaces, and a community center building, and construct a new 52-unit affordable housing development on the 2.08-acre site” at 305 Rancheria Street and 515-524 W. Montecito Street (at Cliff Drive).

••• Many of us admired SkyG’s astute comment about the state of State Street, in case you missed it.

My take is this…. Santa Barbara has created a downtown on State Street that has evolved primarily—not exclusively, but primarily—into “the place that tourists go.” Baja Sharkeez. The Salt Cave. Cali-Forno Pizza. I’m under 50 and a local. I can tell you that for folks like me and my friends, downtown State Street is basically the last place we think to go if we want to go out. There’s a certain stink of tourist trap to it currently. A sense of inauthenticity. This has nothing to do with the ability to drive or not drive on State Street. This has nothing to do with parking or the lack or cost thereof. State Street has evolved into a place that is simply not very desirable to a large portion of the local population. It’s hitched its wagon to tourism, and we know that from hotel tax income, tourism is down.

Other portions of town are recovering better—in my opinion—because they do a better job of catering to both locals and tourists. Take the Funk Zone as exhibit one. Sure, there’s a lot of tourists there, but it’s also the most common destination for everyone I know when they want to go out and eat or get a drink. And it feels cool and authentic, in a way that State Street does not right now. But also notice what’s happening on Upper State Street. The Brass Bear opened an outpost, and you can barely get in the parking lot it’s such a huge hit. It’s primarily locals. Lama Dog and Sama Sama are opening an outpost on Upper State this year—I expect it to do exceedingly well. If the La Cumbre mall gets redeveloped under the current plan, where there’s supposed to be a very fancy food hall, I expect that to do very well, in the same way that Public Market does good business, despite not being on State Street.

In the absence of meaningful population growth (see the lack of significant new housing for decades) all of this becomes a zero-sum game. Areas of town that were not retail/dining hubs 10-20 years ago have become those now. There are a finite amount of dining and shopping dollars out there—simply filling empty storefronts on State with whoever is willing to sign the lease does not change this fact. The success of the Funk Zone and Upper State currently comes at the expense of State Street proper. If we want to change that dynamic, then we need to put more people—not tourists but residents—back in the downtown core. If we do that, I fully expect that State Street will be reborn into something even better than it currently is, but that will take many years.

None of this, none of it at all, has anything to do with vehicle traffic on State Street, in my opinion. If you just want to drive down State Street, that’s fine, that’s honestly an understandable position. But it’s not going to change the dynamics of what’s happening. It’s just going to put cars on State Street.


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Andy Kozzy

A lovely dissertation on State Street with a lot of truth except for one point, reopening to cars is essential to State Streets success.
Visibility and access are everything to business and limiting it to bikes and foot traffic will never work.
It will continue to be a disaster.


Cars weren’t the magical solution when State street faced these exact same issues prior to the closure to cars. Article from 2018:

Cars apparently aren’t the solution for the 300 block which is open to cars, but is the worst block by far

Cars don’t improve access, since all the parking lots are accessed by roads currently open. Better visibility won’t make us suddenly want to go to the sock and hat store, Banana republic, Gap, etc. We all know what’s there. We all have smart phones.

Cars won’t reverse the global trend of e-commerce, and how successful retail is now centered around food/drinks, entertainment, and outdoor spaces. That’s what makes the funk zone stand out, and thats why Satellite and Wylde works are some of the best spots on State. And that’s the goal of the state street promenade, but it’s been a half- attempt.

Our mayor’s constant war against outdoor dining, food trucks, parkets, the promenade, etc is making this goal fail. His obsession with cars is a distraction, holding state street back, and preventing real solutions. In fact, he’s making it worse. It was so nice when there was more outdoor dining at the Daisy, Sama Sama, Bouchon, and Public Market.. but cars ruined that

But as Sky G pointed out, it’s really a zero sum game until more housing is added near State.


Amen. The lack of cars is not the cause of the change that started back in the 2010s and really games during Covid. Small retail is dead unless there is a critical mass of residence living within a couple blocks.

The reality is that what we need from our small town central areas is entirely different from what it had been historically. We don’t need to shop for day-to-day things, we need food and entertainment. That’s where the best areas of State Street and the fun zone really shine, they’re providing that. The tourists love it too is a plus and not a minus.

Also, would they just hurry up and open that Lama Dog and Sama Sama already? I’m dying of waiting.


The Sama Sama-Lama Dog is definitely taking tooooo long! We are in San Roque and this will literally be our closest food to walk to, we seriously cannot wait.


Great points and I completely agree; it has less to do with cars or no cars and more to do with the types of businesses and lack of nearby housing. Satellite is a great example of a thriving restaurant on State that draws community together because of a great vibe, food, wine and music.


Just spent time in Noe Valley, Walnut Creek and Lafayette. Busy on sidewalks, restaurants, shops all while having cars on street. It was amazing to compare it to the mess on state street downtown. Santa Barbara is failing


I have to say, I miss cruising down State in the car on a weekend with the dog hanging out the window, then turning around at the dolphin fountain and cruising back up. But it’s no fun if half the storefronts are empty and nobody’s on the sidewalk to say hi to the dog.

Louise McG

The State Street comment is accurate. It’s a shame the landlords of Santa Barbara are evil and will not make State Street an affordable place to do business. Is it true that a lot of State Street buildings are owned by foreigners – specifically Saudi Arabia?

Further to this, don’t forget about Dutch Gardens and Goodland Wines further up on State Street which pulls a huge crowds everyday they are open!

Jefferson A.

As it relates to commercial real estate and SB landlords, you know not of what you speak. But it get it, when you’re not well versed in subject the landlords are an easy scapegoat.


Holy crap how are you so misinformed? Tell me about all these Saudi owners that I assume a friend of a friend who does your hair told you all about.


I walked past 2401 Medcliff many times while it was being reborn as one of the worst properties on the Mesa. I’ve never been inside, but that landscaping was the sour cherry on top. Not only is it hideous, but imagine the hassle a future owner will face should they wish to change it (given the number of dump trucks required to haul away that much weight in river rock).


I agree Nathan. Zero privacy. Zero curb appeal. The inside doesn’t flow. On the upside it has defensible space in case of a fire!

Caitlin Jennings

Agreed, the “landscaping” is so sad! Every time I walk by it there are woodpeckers pecking at the house and a starling entering a giant hole in the siding

Dan O. Seibert

I live within sight of the proposed project at Montecito & Rancheria streets. And I’ve lived on the Ladera street side, that was more than twenty years ago. The buildings could use a facelift but a complete demo and almost doubling the number of units is not progress. It’s greed. The Housing Authority seems to have the graces of the local boards like this one. I’ll watch tomorrow to see the size, bulk, and scale of the project, and I’m mostly interested in the number of off street parking. Lastly, I work in Montecito on a property about this size, but there are only two people living there. Dang, 52 apartments sounds like a LOT of people living on this site.

Dan O. Seibert

I watched the ABR meeting today and I must say the project looks good from the outside. But there are two buildings that are four stories tall. That doesn’t work for me, as a NIMBY. As I watched the meeting I question the man from the Housing Authority that said they have had their eyes on this property for some time. As a neighbor of twenty years I would say, chill.


That is quite the development for the area! I hope the ‘affordable’ housing is for the local families & current families that live there.


Apparently the $7m West Mesa house is the first listing where the selling agent won’t offer any commission to the buying agent (due to the recent federal ruling). Fits perfectly with the absurdity of that entire property listing. Did you see the thousands of river rocks they covered the yard in? Truly a bizarre situation


What about the fact the fearless city leaders are ramming the 18th homeless/cagrant/drug addict center on the 600 block of CHAPALA without any input or concern about how they will destroy yet another downtown business block.
It will attract vagrants from all over CA. If you build it they will come.