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Singing the State Street Blues

April 27th, 2017 · No Comments · Santa Barbara Commercial Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Santa Barbara Realtors, State Street

State Street is the main artery in Santa Barbara loaded with shops, showrooms, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and coffee shops.  A mixed bag where you’ll find many of the best stores you know and love. And yet this visually stunning go to destination for tourist and locals is struggling with record vacancies, and an ever growing homeless community. There are no easy answers here.

Jeff Harding, in his “The Capitalist” column in the Sentinel newspaper, recently reported that an inventory he conducted of downtown State Street – from the “Funk Zone to the 1300 block – found there were 30 retail stores for rent. In 2011 he came up with a count of “about 18 vacancies.” Although most of the economic indicators suggest a growing economy this trend (vacancies) isn’t just a local trend it’s also national. A lot of the large chain stores are undergoing store closings. He also suggests that the Internet and a glut of too much retail space are also contributing factors. Could this lead to more competitive rents? The market will decide.

The Independent news magazine, in their April 14th issue, reported that efforts by the Santa Barbara Police to “curtail nuisance behavior by aggressive panhandlers – referred to as young urban travelers – may soon be retooled into another method of enforcement. Whatever happens needs to happen fast.” Councilman Frank Hotchkiss told the Chief of Police that, “he and his colleagues are feeling serious pressure from downtown business interest to better address what merchants feel is a major contributor to record vacancies up and down State Street.” Like I said, “no easy answers.”

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