May 18, 2024
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Arlington Village project moving ahead behind theater


Elijah Brumback

Elijah Brumback

Bruce Corwin, one of the longtime owners of the Arlington Theater and Metropolitan Theaters chain, is getting closer to seeing his Arlington Village apartment project take shape in downtown Santa Barbara.

The first set of building plans has been submitted and groundbreaking is anticipated in three to four months, Scott Hopkins, an architect with RRM Design Group, said in an email to the Business Times.

The Arlington Theater is often described as the “jewel of Santa Barbara,” and the original vision for the site behind the theater was to create a building surrounded by small shops, similar to a cathedral at the heart of a village. That vision was never realized as the condo market tanked before any real progress could be made.

According to Piekert Group Archtiects, which is partnering with RRM on the designs, the proposal takes an adjacent open parking lot and transforms it into a mixed-use village consisting of public open spaces, courtyards, 10,000 square feet of commercial space and 33 apartment units in an effort to bring the original vision to fruition.

The project faced initial criticism from fellow developer Marge Cafarelli, who owns the neighboring Alma del Pueblo. However, she lost her appeal against the project with the Santa Barbara City Council in a 6-1 vote in October 2013.

Goleta gets design preview

After numerous public meetings, the Goleta City Council finally had the opportunity to look at two distinct designs for a future City Hall in the current location of the Goleta Valley Community Center. A consultant presented two different design themes for the council to weigh in on.

The first design was dubbed the “courtyard” design for its connection of the existing community center building with the new city hall building via a public courtyard. The second design would place the city hall west of the community center.

The City Council unanimously supported the “courtyard” scheme and gave direction to city staff and architectural consultants, Ventura-based Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects, about other uses that should be included in the plans, the city said in a release.

The council’s suggestions included adding a new library branch, a police station and new recreational facilities. The council also directed staff to consider a parking structure to accommodate the needs of the site as well as those of businesses in Old Town.

The City Council also told staff to start conversations with the Goleta Union School District to acquire an adjacent parcel that currently houses school buses and maintenance operations.

A final study expected to be presented to the council in February will include more developed plans as well as cost projections and funding options.

More wine, more beer

BarrelHouse Brewing Co., which previously told the Business Times of its plans to expand and put more focus on barrel-aged and sour beers, is making good on those intentions. Headed for 1029 Chorro St. in San Luis Obispo, next to Luna Red.

BarrelHouse plans for the to be more than a SLO version of its current Paso Robles location, according to a snippet from the SLO Chamber of Commerce. Plans for the space are said to riff off Americana branding with a speakeasy-style taproom that upholds the historic integrity of the building. The space is expected to open this spring.

Not far away, another foodie-centric eatery and retail space is rumored to be taking shape in downtown SLO’s Mission District, according to the Chamber. The location is 1234 Broad St., currently home to Furniture Factory in the old Villa Automotive building. The new gourmet food, craft beer and wine bar is in the same vein as establishments in Los Olivos, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone á la The Lark. According to chamber insiders, the plan is to promote local agriculture, boutique wine makers and craft breweries, but also renovate a prominent corner of the downtown corridor.

Renovation at Westmont

A $750,000 grant from the Fletcher Jones Foundation is expected to help Westmont College overhaul its biology and chemistry department facilities. The college is planning to complete the first phase of construction by summer of this year. “This grant will help the college maintain its commitment to creating the best possible science programs with equally outstanding facilities and equipment,” said Eileen McMahon McQuade, associate professor and chair of the biology department, in a release.

No major updates have taken place at the school’s Whittier Science Building since 1985, and the grant will help modernize research facilities.