Operating on the theory that downtown real estate is only getting more expensive, the Santa Barbara City Council voted to spend $2 million to buy two Eastside properties to use for affordable housing at some later date. No specific plan exists for either property – the old Haggen Printing building at 416 East Cota and another around the corner at 517 Olive Street – so they will be “land banked” until one is hatched. The $2 million will come from the City’s Redevelopment Agency and will help the Housing Authority raise the $4.7 million needed to acquire both properties. Although price per square foot makes these acquisitions the most expensive in Housing Authority history, both agencies recognize that land costs are not going to get any cheaper; if either has any hope to develop new affordable housing, the time to buy is now.

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