January 28, 2023
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New managers to renovate Paseo Nuevo shopping center


New managers of the Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara plan to renovate the open-air shopping center.

El Segundo-based Pacific Retail Capital Partners and New York-based Silverpeak Real Estate Partners announced on Oct. 29 a joint venture with Paseo’s owner, J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Los Angeles-based BMW Realty Advisors, led by co-founder and principal Bob Baker, joins as an investor in the project and will handle the lease agreements.

The new ownership group plans to update the 20-year-old property with some aesthetic renovations over the next 18 months. They also plan to implement new leases with the retailers.

“While the shops and restaurants continue to perform well, we believe there are opportunities to enhance the property, improve the experience and better serve guests and tenants,” said Steve Plenge, Pacific Retail managing principal, in a prepared statement.

In 2012, Paseo Nuevo went through some facelifts including updating the center court, rebuilding the fountain, installing new monument signage and several aesthetic enhancements.

Gensler, a Los Angeles-based architecture consulting firm, will design the new renovations.

Los Angeles-based real estate developer Caruso Affiliated is no longer involved with Paseo Nuevo, the company told the Business Times. Prior to Rick Caruso’s company, which is developing the Miramar Hotel, Santa Monica-based retail developer Macerich managed the property.

“The property is in a prime location in the heart of downtown, with excellent access for local customers and visitors, as well as its proximity to more than 30,000 students at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College,” Plenge said.

The 458,971-square-foot downtown shopping center is one of the biggest tourism draws in the city. Many of the estimated 8.2 million day trippers and overnight visitors each year flock to the mall anchored by Nordstrom and Macy’s.

The now dissolved Santa Barbara Redevelopment Agency developed Paseo Nuevo in 1990, looking to compete with the La Cumbre mall.

While the majority of the land was city-owned, the agency paid 35-40 businesses about $42 million to relocate, said former RDA Housing and Redevelopment Director Brian Bosse, adding that the city negotiated some tax breaks with two businesses who weren’t as willing to move. The developer, Reininga Corp., kicked in about $90 million to build the smaller retail stores while Nordstrom and Macy’s paid their own way.

The mall was one of the first of its kind, Bosse said.

“That project and the end result is the economic engine, as far as the South Coast is concerned, from a retail standpoint,” said Bosse, who is now the city’s waterfront business manager. “That development has kept the downtown the social, cultural and economic focus of the South Coast.”

• Contact Alex Kacik at akacik@pacbiztimes.com.