A new homebuilding service franchise is expanding into Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, promising to add more transparency to the construction process.
Alair Homes began in Canada in 2006, offering builders the ability to outsource administrative functions and scale up through franchising. Alair handles website work, software, marketing outreach, accounting and other services through a pay-as-you-go model so builders can “concentrate on what they do best – build,” said Alair Chief Communications Officer Adam McCaa.
It has since opened more than 72 franchises throughout Canada and the U.S. and is eyeing the Central Coast for its next move.
“Your area is definitely on the rebound,” McCaa told the Business Times. “It’s probably the right time for more housing supply to be added for that demand.”
Alair uses proprietary software that aims to provide transparency and real-time data such as cost updates and scheduling. It walks customers through a design and estimation process and then sources bids for each contractor.
It has found a niche in helping remodeling contractors break into custom homebuilding but also works in the commercial market.
Pacifca Hotels buys Milner Hotel
Pacifica Hotels purchased The Milner Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, the company recently announced.
Pacifica is one of the largest independent hotel owners and operators along the Pacific Coast with an office on Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara. The company said it is evaluating its long-term strategy for the property at 813 S. Flower St. The Milner Hotel is near the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Staples Center. It is Pacifica’s 30th California hotel.
“With this acquisition we are excited not only to contribute to downtown LA’s extraordinary revival, but to continue to diversify Pacifica’s portfolio with an investment in such a vital financial and cultural city center,” Pacifica CEO Matt Marquis said in a news release.
It acquired El Colibri Boutique Hotel & Spa in Cambria in October. It also recently purchased the 31-room, 101-bed Wayfarer hostel in the Funk Zone at 12 E. Montecito St. from the Parker family.
Pacifica also plans to build a 55,000-square-foot, 45-foot tall hotel at 926 Indio Muerto St., not far from the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort. The three-story hotel will have 115 to 120 rooms and a 90-space, semi-subterranean parking lot.
Milpas mixed-use development proposed
The Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review will take a look at a proposed four-story mixed-use development planned for the 700 block of Milpas Street.
The proposal includes an 81,207-square-foot development under the Average Unit Density program, which allows 63 units per acre instead of the usual 35.
Developers aim to raze two residential units and upgrade the 33,000-square-foot Capitol Hardware location at 711 Milpas St. Capitol Hardware would remain in business during the construction of 49,857 square feet of residential space to include 71 units. The units would consist of 32 two-bedroom, two-bath spaces, 30 one-bedroom, one bath units and nine two-bedroom, one bath dwellings — averaging 690 square feet each. There are 99 parking spaces required, with 93 proposed, and plans for 75 bicycle parking spots.
The ABR will hold a public meeting on Feb. 1 to discuss the zoning modifications required to merge eight parcels.
Ventura County industrial market improves
Ventura County’s industrial market has the lowest vacancy rate since 2008, according to a fourth-quarter report from DAUM Commercial Real Estate Services.
The county’s average vacancy rate dipped to 4 percent, down from 5.2 percent during the fourth quarter of 2014. Ventura was the only major city in the county that saw its rate increase, nudging 0.6 percent to 2.8 percent. Oxnard decreased from 5.5 to 3.2 percent, Camarillo dipped from 7.7 to 6.7 percent, Thousand Oaks dropped from 2.1 to 1.6 percent, Moorpark ticked down from 9.6 to 9.2 percent and Simi Valley decreased from 5.1 to 3.5 percent.
While Ventura County’s office market has more space available than its tri-county cohorts, its industrial market has improved over the past two quarters.
There were several large transactions inked in the fourth quarter, including 350,000 square feet of the former 514,000-square-foot Nabisco building. The old 100,000-square-foot Power One building in Camarillo was sold, a 60,000 square-foot lease was signed for an office building at 2385 Pleasant Valley Road and the former 53,000-square-foot Technicolor building on Mission Oaks Boulevard was leased.
• Contact Alex Kacik at [email protected]