Closed shops on the 600 block of State Street
Paul Wellman

In their third quarterly report of 2018, Hayes Commercial Group stated that retail on State Street continues to suffer. Within the past six months, 17 storefronts were impacted by tenant departures, making for 37 total vacancies along State Street.

Santa Barbara’s overall commercial vacancy rate of six percent is the highest it’s been since 2012. According to the report, this quarter marks a “higher vacancy than at any point during or in the wake of the Great Recession.”

The news, however, is not all bad. For instance, some vacancies have been filled by temporary pop-up stores. There have also been rumors of Amazon moving into the former Saks Building.

The report conveys that while the number of empty storefronts are alarming, the “retail core is not stagnant.” Within the past 12 months, there have been 23 transactions of retail spaces in the downtown area.

New tenants and experimental fixes show State Street might be getting back on track, the report concludes. Progress could be on the horizon.


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