Two More Downtown Hotels Are in the Works

A pair of proposed hotel conversions are likely to revive the debate over whether Santa Barbara officials should be doing more to prioritize residential development over hospitality, given the need for more housing.

According to the agenda for today’s meeting of the city Planning Commission, the owner of 1018 Garden Street (Carrillo/Figueroa, pictured above) would like to turn it into “13 commercial condominium hotel units,” which means units can be sold individually and rented out as hotel rooms.

And there’s a 73-room project—for the three medical buildings at 1913, 1919, and 1921 State Street (Mission/Pedregosa)—on today’s Historic Landmarks Commission agenda:

—1913 State: Interior improvements only, for conversion to 4 hotel rooms. Building exterior to remain; repaid as needed.
—1919 State: Conversion to 53 hotel rooms. Replace 435 square feet of ground floor area adjacent to State Street sidewalk into 6 open air private patios. Replace/relocate 2 existing egress stairs. Extend elevator to 4th floor. Addition at 4th floor to create 6 hotel rooms, with new roof deck.
—1921 State [located behind 1919 State]: Conversion to 10 hotel rooms. Minor 29 square foot addition. Minor exterior alterations for new entry doors.

I asked the applicant whether the three buildings would be considered one hotel—the description is unclear, and the buildings have nothing but proximity in common—but the answer didn’t help much: “The current proposal is for all three buildings to have hotel units located within them.” The applicant is also involved in 1018 Garden Street, and he explained that at both hotels, “guests can access ‘front-desk’ staff through a phone call or messaging instead of walking down to a front desk. […] We have staff available 24 hours a day and on-site during peak hours.” And there’s a “for lease” sign in front of 1919 State because the goal is to rent it while the hotel comes together.


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Hmm… as a neighbor, I don’t love the State Street proposal. Another hotel? Housing conversion would be much better. The hotel sounds sort of sketchy and I’m wondering what type of place it would be considering the Orange Tree Inn across the street, which has recently served as housing for the homeless.


Looks like the applicant is Arvand Sabetian, so I can stop worrying about it being seedy. Still, am concerned about a proliferation of even more hotels. It seems at the very least misguided that we appear to be redeveloping a large amount of downtown properties into hotels, while having to rezone other major areas in order to keep up with the absurd housing demands from the state. We could and should put a lot more housing downtown but instead it’s one new hotel project after the next.


And where do all the people needed to service, clean, supervise all these unneeded hotel rooms live?


Not only do we not need hotels but affordable housing (not $3000/mo. for a small studio). Where is all of this water supposed to come from? One rainy season is not going to end years of drought. I have spent most of my adult life cutting back on my water usage, for what? So out of towners can come and take 15 minute showers? They don’t care.