In a case of epic coincidences, McDonald’s — the global fast food franchise — announced it was shutting down all operations in Russia the very same week word leaked that McDonald’s operation on the 1200 block of State Street in downtown Santa Barbara would soon be no more. Why Russia is obvious if a bit late, but the reasons for the State Street departure remain murky.
“No reason was given on their departure,” said their landlord, Jim Knell, founder of SIMA Corporation, “but their clientele has been declining due to the homeless presence.”
Knell said McDonald’s lease expires at the end of July. Was it because of an impending rent increase? “Never discussed,” Knell stated. When asked what he had any replacement candidates, Knell replied, “We are looking for a lessee that will add some synergy to the block without attracting the homeless.”
McDonald’s had been in its current locations for the past 15 years, and before that, it had been in the same block but in a different location. McDonald’s roots in Santa Barbara are deep and well-known; it was in Santa Barbara that the Egg McMuffin was invented.