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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