The city’s premier open-space food hall — Santa Barbara Public Market, nestled at the edge of downtown on the corner of Chapala and Victoria streets — was recently sold to new owners as part of a package deal totaling over $10 million.
The market was founded by its original owner, Marge Cafarelli, in April of 2014. The unique space was the first and only of its kind in Santa Barbara, a space created to be shared by multiple restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and food counters that would allow for newer restaurateurs to try out novel ideas. Since its inception, it has been home to dozens of businesses, with mainstays such as Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, Corazón Cocina, and Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar operating for several years.
“The Public Market is a Santa Barbara legacy, and I think this new ownership will be a good steward taking it forward,” Cafarelli told the Independent.
Hayes Commercial Group handled the sale, with founder and partner Francois DeJohn representing the buyers — the Winn and Twining families, headed by Alistair Winn and Travis Twining of Montecito. The family partnership includes Winn and his wife, Ann Winn, as well as Twining and his wife, Amanda Twining, and their 16-year-old daughter. The families have hosted charity events at their estate in Montecito, benefiting nonprofits One805 and Gwendolyn Strong Foundation.
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The buyers were originally interested in the 4,000-square-foot vacant property next door at 28 West Victoria Street; the two-story, 15,000-square-foot market and its 5,000-square-foot basement were not originally listed for sale.
Hayes Commercial partner Michael Martz, who represented Cafarelli in the deal, said that eventually the deal “just worked out” to include both properties. The fact that it was being sold to local investors was very important to the original ownership, Martz said. “It’s a great local buyer; that was very important to Marge,” he said. “She put her heart and soul into it.”
Martz said that the Santa Barbara Public Market is unique from similar markets in big cities because it leases space to local businesses and is supported by local consumers, whereas others are mostly tourist-based and include national chain restaurants.
The market itself was purchased for $7.65 million, and the vacant condos next door, for $2.25 million. The deal also included liquor licenses that pushed the total price of investment over $10 million.