September 22, 2023
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New owners have plans to transform Nordstrom building in downtown Santa Barbara


The Nordstrom building in downtown Santa Barbara was recently sold to a trio of real estate companies. (file photo)

Three out-of-area firms have acquired the now-vacant building formerly occupied by Nordstrom in downtown Santa Barbara, the companies announced Nov. 4.

Shopoff Realty Investments and Praelium Commercial Real Estate, both based in Orange County, bought the property in partnership with an affiliate of New York City-based Dune Real Estate Partners.

Shopoff Realty Investments representatives declined to disclose the purchase price.

Shopoff and Praelium worked together as the leads on the acquisition, according to Shopoff President and CEO William Shopoff.

In an email interview with the Business Times, Shopoff said his firm has changed in mind for the three-story, 175,000-square-foot building, which is at the north end of Paso Nuevo mall.

“In this case, we believe there is a better use of this space than big-box retail, which has been highly impacted by e-commerce,” Shopoff said. “Our plan might include a smaller amount of retail, or no retail, and other uses including creative office. Our goal is to breathe new life into the building and the surrounding neighborhood.”

The real estate firm’s business strategy is “focused on finding ways to improve communities through efforts to repurpose or enhance properties, in an effort to find the highest and best use by adapting assets to meet the needs and demands of the community, its businesses and constituents,” Shopoff said.

The building is on property with a long-term ground lease from the city of Santa Barbara, according to Shopoff Realty Investments.

“Our team has a high level of respect for, and is very much looking forward to, working with the city,” said Scott San Filippo, founding principal of Praelium, in a statement. “Through smart, redevelopment we believe we are poised to aide in the revival of this end of State Street.”

The Nordstrom building is part of Paseo Nuevo, a 450,000-square-foot open-air shopping center. The high-end department store closed in 2020 amid the pandemic after anchoring the Paseo Nuevo mall for almost 30 years

In addition to Nordstrom, another prime retail anchor building at Paseo Nuevo is vacant: the former Macy’s, which shut its doors in 2017. The massve building is slated to be transformed into office space, Santa Barbara-based Hayes Commercial Group announced earlier this year.