February 3, 2023
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City planners approve new Sansum medical center


Sansum Clinic and The Towbes Group are forging ahead with plans to build a medical center at the corner of Foothill Road and Cieneguitas Road after city planners approved the project.

At its June 21 meeting, the planning commission for the city of Santa Barbara agreed to recommend to the City Council approval of the general construction plan and the rezoning that goes along with it. The proposed medical center would consist of two new 37-foot tall buildings totaling 60,122 square feet, to be constructed on the so-called Foothill Triangle. Although the parcel of land is technically within county jurisdiction, the city will annex the land to move forward with construction, according to planning commission documents.

The Towbes Group, a Santa Barbara-based real estate development company, owns the two parcels at 4151 Foothill Road. and 681 Cieneguitas Road. where the facility is set to be built. The Foothill Road. parcel contains an abandoned gas station and the Cieneguitas Road. plot is vacant. The development company has leased the land on a long-term basis to Sansum, one of the largest nonprofit health systems between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The larger of the two buildings will have an ambulatory surgery center, while the smaller building will be the new home of some of the clinic’s medical departments, many of which are currently based at the clinic’s multi-specialty location at 215 Pesetas Lane.

“This facility embodies what Sansum Clinic is all about: multiple specialties working together to better serve our patients and the community. We were founded upon this model and with this new project, we are leading the way into the next era of patient care,” Kurt Ransohoff, Sansum’s CEO, said in a news release when the partnership was announced in Sept. 2011.

City staff is supportive of annexation and commercial development, according to planning documents. The project would conform to zoning and building ordinances and the policies of the city’s general plan.

The next step is approval from the City Council. If all goes according to plan, the surgery center and medical building will open in early 2014.