March 26, 2023
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Sansum, Towbes break ground on new South Coast surgery center


Sansum Clinic has started construction on its first new South Coast building in decades.

The new surgery and medical office suite is a joint venture with Santa Barbara-based Towbes Group and is located on Foothill Road on a vacant property adjacent to Highway 154. The site will include two buildings totaling approximately 60,000 square feet. Construction is expected to take about a year.

Towbes is the developer and property owner and will be the landlord; Sansum has signed a long-term lease for the space. According to Towbes Group President Craig Zimmerman, the value of the project is “in excess of $20 million.”

Originally purchased by Towbes in 1999, the original plan for a shopping center was derailed by community opposition. A residential project was shelved due to environmental issues.

But the city of Santa Barbara embraced the idea of a Foothill Medical Center campus occupied by Sansum and the site was annexed into the city of Santa Barbara, approved by the planning department and a permit issued in a relatively speedy seven months. “This project embodies what Sansum is all about,” said CEO Kurt Ransohoff.

The last new Sansum clinic on the South Coast was a Pueblo Street facility completed in 1976. Sansum serves 150,000 patients at 23 facilities in Santa Barbara County. Representatives of Penfield & Smith and Lenvik & Minor Architects as well as Santa Barbara Planning Director Paul Casey were on hand for the March 12 groundbreaking.