April 2, 2024
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CRE: DignityMoves welcomes community to new Goleta village


The DignityMoves project, tentatively known as La Posada and slated for Hollister Avenue and Modoc Road, received a lukewarm welcome from around 35 Goleta residents on May 8. The new village, consisting of 90 tiny homes of transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness, will be built on county-owned land at the site of the former Juvenile Hall.

According to Matt Riley of DignityMoves, the private nonprofit in charge of the development of the new complex, the project will target chronically homeless people already stationed in encampments in the area. He estimated 60 to 90 people are currently living there.

Madeleine Benn

DignityMoves has promised to raise $5 million to build the prefabricated homes, with Santa Barbara County vowing to match DignityMoves’ contribution with $2 million per year to cover the costs of managing the site, providing 24/7 onsite security as well as staffing for a wide range of addiction and mental health services.

The complex, similar to DignityMoves’ downtown village on Santa Barbara Street, will offer their potential residents individual units with doors they can close and lock. Riley cited the importance of the four P’s, possession, privacy, pets and partners, all of which will be allowed. He emphasized that drinking or drugs will not be tolerated, while curfews and house rules are also set to be enforced.

The neighborhood is already slated for a 21-unit homeless housing project near the Page Youth Center and St. Vincent’s has another homeless housing project proposed a few blocks up from Hollister.

Many of the meeting attendees were hesitant to accept the structure’s planned site, citing alternate locations as well as general reasons not to set up shop there. One speaker noted the recent occurrence of the police being called on a homeless man who parked himself in the shelter of a nearby bus stop and screamed obscenities continuously until the cops arrived. Upon their arrival, he threatened to kill whoever had made the call.

Another attendee said the campsites where the homeless campers currently live are among the prettiest in the area, suggesting it is unlikely they would want to trade in the beauty of their views and freedom of movement for the “little boxes” offered by La Posada.

Former county administrator Terri Maus-Nisich told attendees that on any given night, there are only three shelter beds available. Under applicable law, illegal camping ordinances can’t be enforced unless viable shelter beds are currently available. By creating 90 additional units, the county would be able to legally enforce the camping laws, clean out the encampments and keep them shut down.

Other advocates cited the success of the downtown DignityMoves project, where several residents have found more permanent housing, eight have jobs and a few are already attending college.

Many residents remained disappointed in the outreach effort in that they were notified after the decision had been made, not giving them a chance to weigh in.

County Supervisor Laura Capps claimed unequivocal support for the project, explaining that it’s more than a safety or mental health issue, but a moral issue at its heart.

On May 9, DignityMoves and county officials hosted a ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremony for a different project, this one offering 94 units on county-owned land in Santa Maria, known as Hope Village.


Open Air Bicycles has set up shop on the corner of Carrillo and Santa Barbara streets in downtown Santa Barbara.

It will be the third location for the iconic local business, which originated near the Fig Tree and the Santa Barbara Amtrak station 51 years ago now. After having lost its lease at the State Street location, Open Air Bicycles is happy to be back.

Ed Brown, the third owner of the establishment, lamented that they weren’t planning to move, but that sometimes it is necessary and that despite the forced nature of the relocation, they are ecstatic to be back in business. Previously located at 1303 State St., they had been there for nearly 14 years before the building was sold and the new owner developed plans for a toy train station. Their new site, at 135 E. Carrillo Street is the former location of 805 Deli.

Benefits to the new location include a larger showroom, higher ceiling and increased visibility. Brown expressed additional excitement for the adoption of e-bikes. He said e-bikes are keeping the industry afloat as there’s been a dip in the popularity of mountain and road bikes. Kids bikes will always be prevalent and leisure bikes and beach cruisers also continue to be bestsellers.

Customers can now order their bikes online and pick them up in-store.

Brown knows he’s part of a dying industry of local owners. With Hazard’s and Bob’s having been sold to corporations, Open Air and Velo Pro Cyclery are the only local owners left.

Brown is also thinking about the future. He is currently in talks with one of his longtime managers, Jesse Over, to eventually pass along the business.

He knows the transition is inevitable, but that they currently have a long lease and expect to occupy the space for a long time to come. 

Madeleine Benn covers commercial real estate for the Pacific Coast Business Times. She can be reached at mbenn@pacbiztimes.com.