The site of the former Macy’s in downtown Santa Barbara is going to be turned into office space, introducing more than 132,000 square feet into the area’s office market.
The building is at 701 State Street, in the Paseo Nuevo shopping center. It has three floors, and more than 40,000 square feet of space per floor. Greg Bartholomew, Francois DeJohn and Steve Hayes the Hayes Commercial Group are marketing the space on behalf of the owner, Pacific Retail Capital Partners, and a press release from Hayes Commercial Group said the ground floor is being marketed to retail, restaurant and grocery tenants.
“Downtown Santa Barbara has become a focal point for tech tenants during the past ten years,” Bartholomew said in the release, “with companies like Amazon, Honey, Sonos, and Invoca leasing large office spaces along the State Street corridor.”
Hayes is also looking to attract more companies to Santa Barbara. In the release, DeJohn acknowledged that not many local tenants are looking for the amount of space the Ortega building is offering, so they’re looking outside the area to places like Los Angeles and Silicon Valley to find companies that might expand to the area.
“Office is the ‘highest and best use’ for the building, especially the upper two floors,” Bartholomew said. “State Street has more than enough retail space already, and bringing potentially hundreds of office workers to this location every day would really help vitalize the area.”
Macy’s closed the location in 2017, and the choice to develop the building as office space comes after years of speculation. There was a lot of interest to use it as residential space, but Pacific Retail’s architects found the building wasn’t a good candidate for residential conversion.
In 2020, there was also a brief period of conjecture about the space being used as a new site for UC Santa Barbara. The university is expanding its presence downtown, but will be moving its National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis into 1021 State Street, where Union Bank used to be, under a 15-year lease.