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Proposed Hotel near East Beach Sent Back to Drawing Board

Approval for Three-Story, 111-Room Resort on Indio Muerto Street Postponed Due To ‘Sketchy’ Plan Drawings

Final approval to build a proposed three-story, 111-room hotel near East Beach was withheld again Monday after Architectural Review Boardmember Howard Wittausch called the plan drawings “a little sketchy.” This was the 13th time the 926 Indio Muerto Street hotel plan was brought before the board, though it was already approved by the Planning Commission last year.

“I can’t read this drawing from what it says here,” Wittausch said. “These discrepancies appear once, and then twice, and then become a pattern.” Wittausch repeatedly expressed concern that details in the plan drawings are inconsistent. “It seems like you actually want us to design this building for you,” he said to architect David Thiel. “That’s not going to happen.”

Board Chair Kevin Moore agreed and motioned to revisit the plan this Monday, May 27, at the consent-calendar meeting, provided applicant John Cuykendall of IWF SB Gateway LP “coordinates all details as instructed,” including finish colors, materials, and construction methods. The motion was approved 2-0, with Moore and Wittausch voting yes; the other members either abstained or were absent. 

If approved on Monday, the project will require demolishing a 12,000-square-foot commercial building and replacing it with a 55,000 square-foot, 45-foot-tall hotel adjacent to the South Milpas Street exit and north of the Union Pacific Railroad Tracks. The hotel will also include a 115-space, partially underground parking lot. The hotel would stand out as its towering three-story structure would be the first of its kind in a neighborhood of single-story buildings. The area historically has been occupied by locally owned businesses and working-class families. 

Despite the scale of the project, architect Thiel attempted to blend the building into Santa Barbara’s landscape, with Spanish-style archways resembling historic buildings such as the courthouse and varying window sizes. If approved, the hotel would be the 42nd property owned by Pacifica Hotels, which currently operates two other hotels in the area: The Wayfarer in the Funk Zone and Pacifica Suites in Goleta.

There were no public commenters. 

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