<b>GIVE AND TAKE:</b>  Alma del Pueblo’s designers originally wanted to build 60 units 
but had to settle for 37 after review by city planners and the Historic Landmarks Commission.

Paul Wellman

GIVE AND TAKE: Alma del Pueblo’s designers originally wanted to build 60 units but had to settle for 37 after review by city planners and the Historic Landmarks Commission.

Alma del Pueblo Taking Shape

Santa Barbara Public Market Names Vendors; Four Condos Sold

Thursday, June 13, 2013
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Sandwiched between two theaters and flanked by Santa Barbara’s main drag of retail and restaurants, the high-end, mixed-use Alma del Pueblo project on Chapala Street is quickly taking shape. This week, owner/developer Marge Cafarelli announced that the project’s Santa Barbara Public Market — an airy, high-ceiling space to be filled with 15 independent merchants selling artisanal food and wine out of farmers’ market–type stalls — has picked 11 of those vendors who signed five-year leases with five-year options. (The current lineup is: Foragers Pantry, Belcampo Meat Co., Enjoy Cupcakes, Flagstone Pantry, Green Star Coffee, il Fustino oils and vinegars, JuiceWell, The Pasta Shoppe, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, WINE + BEER, and The Kitchen.) The market is set to open in September, said Cafarelli, noting how the former site of a Vons grocery store — and before that a Safeway, dating back to the early 1930s — will also include a commercial kitchen for rent and a new restaurant, the name of which will be made public next week.

“The plan was to create a community gem,” said Cafarelli, who splits her time between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. “It’s really about lifestyle.” Cafarelli and her “boutique” development company, Urban Developments, purchased the half-block of land in August 2008, just a few months before the housing bubble exploded. “We knew the market wasn’t good, but we’re opportunistic buyers,” Cafarelli explained. She said Urban Developments was aggressive and beat out 10 other bidders to build Alma del Pueblo, designed by Cearnal Andrulaitis Architects and constructed by Build Group, Inc. Because of a confidentiality agreement with her lender, Cafarelli said she wasn’t able to disclose the project’s total price tag.

On the residential side of the Alma del Pueblo — which translates to Soul of the City — four of the complex’s 37 one- and two-bedroom condos have been sold. Ranging in price from $840,000 to $2.6 million, the units feature a host of sustainability-minded elements, Cafarelli said, all the trimmings of comfortable living and “vignette views” of the downtown corridor and the Santa Ynez Mountains. “Our residents get a tremendous amount of value for what they pay,” Cafarelli said.

Five of the units are reserved for middle-income earners, i.e., one person who makes less than $79,520 a year or two people who make less than $90,880. Buyers are expected to move in this October. In addition to two communal guest rooms, a rooftop clubroom and BBQ, and a private garden terrace, the residents have access to wine storage, electric-car charging stations, bike lockups, and 39 spaces of underground parking. (Parking for the market and restaurant is in a separate underground area.) Of how Alma del Pubelo, soon to be fitted with red-tile roofs, will conform to the rest of the cityscape, Cafarelli said its “aesthetics are not referential but contextual to the style of the area’s architecture.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

One more over-planned Chapala white elephant. The disconnect between the developers and this community is staggering. But I wish them well. The city badly needs people of means to again become part of our downtown retail corridor. Welcome. I hope the condo fee covers 24 hour security detail. You will need it.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
June 13, 2013 at 8:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm excited to learn what kinds of wine the middle income buyers will store.

srev (anonymous profile)
June 13, 2013 at 1:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I've seen these units lingering on the market and can't believe the asking prices. They're outrageous.

Lars (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 3:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

ahh, Lars, you can see some, like foo, want those wonderful "PEOPLE OF MEANS" to populate our town...yep, so many units are "lingering" on the market because they were constructed for wealthy non-Santa Barbarans; say, upper 5% retirees from LA who flee here to pay these utterly outrageous (!) prices.
Foo is right on one thing: hope the condo fee (likely over $450 month) covers 24 hour security in that zone... I live fairly near so I oughta know!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 5:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Too bad its not priced for real people to live in.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 9:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Folks with lots of money aren't any less "real" than folks without money. I'm all for free capitalism. The problem is that these prices are simply not realistic. You can buy similarly sized condos with real amenities like swimming pools and gardens for half the price. Rich people aren't stupid. Unless the developer has super deep pockets, it's a foreclosure waiting to happen.

Lars (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 10:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If they sell, they are affordable. Diversity means all spectrum of the community and economic scale belong in this community. Stop being so fascist that you conclude only low-income people have rights, including the rights to be supported by people of means.

BTW: Don't miss out getting one of the mandated inclusionary units in the newly opened Chapala One if you want affordable. $167,000 gets you in the door. Visit the city website for more information.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Says more about your values that you assumed I meant low income.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 10:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

lets see how many artisanal markets last the initial 5 years.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 11:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I hope the whole thing is a huge success shops and all - this is the future. This version mispriced but then they are also new buildings.
I think Chapala One still has the same opportunity and the only reason that "failed" is because it was mispriced and sabotaged.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 11:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is my neighborhood, and I see it as a race between people like Urban Developments, who are investing in the neighborhood and creating something that will improve our quality of life, and people like Dario Pini, who destroy our neighborhoods, creating ghettos and urban blight. Best of luck to Marge Cafarelli and her company.

banjo (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 11:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Why development draw so much ire in this town baffles me. Isn't better than the Von's?

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 12:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If they move Cantwell's into the Public Market spot, they may have a chance.

But a competing secondary entry with no State Street store-front into this limited high-end deli demographics, most likely not. Maybe, if they use their sales office store front to connect the two.

Alleys that lead to this Public Market in this part of town are creepy, and most find exploring them repellent. Wonder how they will combat the detritus that has now taken this area over with their sleeping bags, carts and informal sanitation requirements.

They need to work something out with Trinity Episcopal Church who created this new vagrant magnet zone.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 12:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Alleys that lead to this Public Market in this part of town are creepy, and most find exploring them repellent. "

Because SB is a maze of alleys that lead to vice and doom. Foo you're such a scaredy cat.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 12:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

well I'm not at all for unfettered robber baron capitalism, but I was being sarcastic to foo who assumed only PEOPLE OF MEANS would be able to afford these condos. Lars, there has to be an ethical content here, too, no? But at least we agree these prices are exorbitant, and it's located in a less-than-lovely area.
and No, NumU1ofAn, the little old Von's WAS much better, and a lot of older folks and people with MEANS shopped there...we hung these people out to dry to swap in some plutocratic LA pseudo-refugees.
KV, foo has always been a fear-monger, it's the only way he thinks people will listen to his drivel

DrDan (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 3:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Just build it and they will come.

By Bettina Boxall
June 4, 2013, 2:15 p.m.
California could use $44.5 billion to fix aging water systems over the next two decades, according to a federal survey that placed the state at the top of a national list of water infrastructure needs.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2013 at 7:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I like the idea of mixed-use projects. And when I used to work dowtown, I would have liked to live near the area. LEEDS certification is nice too.

But at that kind of pricing, I'm not sure I see the value. Because I love demographics, it would be interesting to know what the target buyer profile is.

Childless professional couples (DINC's)? Affluent retired folks? Out-of-towners looking for a SB vacation condo?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
June 15, 2013 at 4:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Fans of Heart and art are apparently target buyers:

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
June 15, 2013 at 4:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Affordable means there is a market to sell them. Non-affordable means there is not.

If they sell, they are de facto "affordable", no matter what the sale price. Market = willing buyer + willing seller. Never forget it takes both.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
June 15, 2013 at 7:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

An earlier plan to replace the Von's store was to build a world class convention center, something Santa Barbara badly needs. The idea was to have the area serve as an arts and entertainment zone with the adjacent Arlington Theater. Sounded like a much better use of the land than yet another mixed use condo complex.

emptynewsroom (anonymous profile)
June 17, 2013 at 7:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You can't have a world class convention center unless you surround it with several world class hotels. Not gonna happen in downtown Santa Barbara, plus you have third world airline connections so not sure where you got this idea.

The original idea was an arts center; not an arts and entertainment center. The plan was to have studios and rehearsal space, along with housing for performing artists.

But it also included a major rehab of the Arlington Theater which never happened either. There was also talk about creating a major arts and theater space at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. That also went no where because there was no connection to the already existing restaurants for pre and post dining options. No there, there.

What we have now is a very nice low-key, high brow entertainment and dining center so higher-end residential units are the most suitable match design wise.

Shall be interesting to see if Alma's intent meets execution, when it all falls in place. Or will it too collapse into short-term vacation rentals and make this one more non-TOT paying downtown "hotel" after all. I hope permanent residents do come into this part of town -- legal ones and not just the street people who are currently abusing the courtyards and back alleys.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
June 17, 2013 at 3:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We don't need a "world class convention center", we don't need conventioneers. We already have the future conventioneers on Del Playa.

We need more venues for artists not interested in making safe tourist friendly art like we used to have more of, more places to buy appliances and hardware, more book, music and movie stores, and housing priced reasonably.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 17, 2013 at 4:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

EB, I vote for "Out-of-towners looking for a SB vacation condo"

DrDan (anonymous profile)
June 17, 2013 at 4:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

17% of SB housing is already subsidized and mandated below market rates. That is all you get KV, because this high percentage of subsidized has already artificially distorted city demographics and permanently reduced the city tax revenue base. You can get everything else on your list well within city limits. Try manufactured housing in Goleta if you want something in your own price range. Works for a lot of people, so no reason it can't work for you too.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
June 17, 2013 at 6:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"17% of SB housing is already subsidized and mandated below market rates."
-- foofighter

17% of all rental housing in the city? Link and/or calculations please.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
June 17, 2013 at 9:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Never said just rentals only -subsidized or fixed price rental and condos now are claimed to be 17% of total city of Santa Barbara housing units. Visit the city website for their list.

1. City housing authority units - subsidized, bonus density
2. County housing units for "low income" - subsidized, but in the city
3. Mandated inclusionary housing - bonus density - fixed price condos
4. Private charitable low-income housing units - ie. Laguna Cottages and Battistone cottages, etc.
5. Public-private partnerships like People's Self Help, special loans or land deals.
6. Section 8 housing - federal fixed price
7. Specialty population subsidized public housing
8. Half-way houses

Plus if you added all the illegal second units that fly below the radar, you would have even more low-cost housing units within the city. Stick in the trailer parks too. Add the shelter beds, and my head spins over what the grand total of "affordable" housing units in this city in fact are.

Talk to the city housing people who have the final figures, which has grown every year since their last Housing Element Survey which pegged it at 14% per city official, but this was years ago. Many new high bonus density, or mandated inclusionary have been built since that time.

Don't let them get cute with the numbers because they are known to give different answers "officially" at the exact same time from different people, for different purposes.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
June 17, 2013 at 10:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

39 parking spaces for 37 units???
Not to worry, I'm sure all the residents will drive just one electric vehicle per family as well as ride the bus and walk to work in the down town core.
Translation: downtown units can never provide the required two car parking and remain feasible. Sooo.......slam the on street parking with another 50 or 60 cars. Area residents and everyone else WILL feel this.

JHL (anonymous profile)
June 18, 2013 at 7:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have to laugh at the shock of 39 parking spaces for 37 units. That's two extra. Not everybody shares the automobilefetish.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 18, 2013 at 11:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Downtown parking would be expanded if they made people use their garages for their cars, instead of for storage or illegal rentals. Carports are the answer; not enclosed garages per unit.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
June 19, 2013 at 4:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

by the way...not that it should make a difference to you guys who already paid....but there will be an apartment building going up on the corner.

oh you didn't know that?

lawdy (anonymous profile)
August 22, 2013 at 12:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm pretty neutral on the condos, WTH let the rich buy'em and spend money here, of course I'm a Noleta guy so every time I go to "the city" it seems like Disneyland to me. I do like the idea of the food market and hope it is not too too chichi.

Noletaman (anonymous profile)
January 1, 2014 at 8:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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