State Street Gets More Pizza and a Lot of Other New Features

As summer approaches, State Street will be teeming with more shared work space, employees cycling to work and, of course, more pizza

Impact Hub,1117 State St., plans to open in the late fall to provide a work space including offices, fixed desks to rent and member-based co-working, as well as a collaborative network to accelerate its members’ efforts.

Impact Hub’s 12,000- square-foot space used to be a large rug store. Its management team includes Kyle Ashby, one of the Startup Santa Barbara founders. It’s just a few blocks from Workzones, another co-working, shared office space enterprise in Paseo Nuevo.

Meanwhile, just off State Street, Sonos, maker of some 3 million wireless sound systems, was honored May 28 by the SBBIKE and Traffic Solutions at a Bike Friendly Mixer.

More than 100 business and community leaders packed Sonos’s new, open-air office on Chapala Street where employees can be paid up to $600 to buy a bicycle to commute to work. Sonos employees can be paid $5 for every day they ride a bike to work.

Speaking of bikes, cycle shop Pedego near the corner of State and Haley streets has been replaced by eBikezzz, a franchise electric bike sales and rental shop. And, Cranky’s bike sales and repair shop on the 1000 block of State Street has moved to East Gutierrez Street.

And then there’s more pizza: craft-your-own pie Pizza Rev opened earlier this spring in Paseo Nuevo in what used to be a much-ignored jewelry store. Almost 20 businesses on and around State Street now serve pizza. One wag says he plans to eat his way through all of them. That’s a lot of cheese.

One of Santa Barbara’s best-known brands, Big Dog, is making a come back in the former Territory Ahead Outlet store at State and Gutierrez streets. A sign in the window says the clothing retailer will open in late June.

And by the way,Tesla opened a pop-up show room for its electric sedans and SUV at what use to be the Greyhound bus station at the corner of Chapala Street and Carrillo Boulevard. At the Canary Hotel across the street few years ago, Tesla offered free test drives in its roadster.

On  a sad note on outer State Street at Senior Planning Services, the company’s founder, Suzanne McNeely, passed away in mid-May. The award-winning McNeely started her business 25 years ago.

Earlier blogs: 2015 Brings More Changes to State Street

Pretty much every downtown observer agrees the South Coast’s most visible commercial district looks a great deal different now than it did during the year that just ended.

Some observers notice more specialty women’s clothing stores appearing, while some other retailers have packed up are already replaced by something completely different. For example, the Blue-Eyed Girl boutique relocated and gave way to Rocket Fizz, a soda pop and candy store at 1021 State St. Go figure.

What Downtown Organization officials are most impressed about is the declining number of empty storefronts, which reached a critical level during the recent recession. Although few if anyone will admit it, rates for a State Street triple-net lease, which includes rent, utilities and other services, were maintained during the recession and even rose soon afterward.

Some chronically empty storefronts show some signs of re-opening, such as the long-vacant space at 915 State St. But across the street, the former GBMI shoe shop next to the Apple Store remains vacant after about seven years. Across the street, the Naartjie boutique, 933 State St. closed before the end of 2014. Another boutique, Tatiana, 807 State St., also shut down recently.

Some restaurants continue to struggle. Look at Apero, formerly Verde. Several years ago it was Zia Café. Apero was a comedy nightclub with a good menu, but the building owner kept raising the rent and the manager shuttered it during the summer.

Fortunately, some eatery bright spots popped up in 2014, such as Benchmark at the old State & A site, and Black Sheep on Ortega Street. Meanwhile, places like Joe’s Café and the off-State Sojourner (37 years old and going strong) are examples of someone doing something right.

Killer Bee sports bar left State Street a couple of months ago and found a new, larger spot around the corner at 732 De la Guerra Plaza, formerly Tony Ray’s, which sports a patio.

Last time this blog was written, seven places on and around State Street served pizza. Make that about a dozen now. Patxi’s is the biggest at 515 State St., where the Territory Ahead main retail store once was. Some off-State Italian eateries have added pizzerias as well.

One of the city’s most popular spots, the Sandbar, 514 State St., is undergoing a much-needed remodeling overhaul and will be closed through January. Meanwhile, after less than a year in business, Killer Shrimp, 416 State St., closed last month. It occupied the old Sharkeez spot. Sharkeez moved across the street from the Sandbar. And, that restaurant spot at 413 State St. is vacant again, but Franco Hospitality LLC is applying for a liquor license there

Two big additions to lower State are Samy’s Camera, 530 State St., and a Sonos office at 419 State St., where Territory Ahead once housed its corporate office. A couple years ago, Sonos, international maker of wireless sound systems, took over what used to be the Antioch University campus at De la Guerra and Garden streets and then began buying commercial space all over town, including Samy’s old spot on Chapala Street.

Meanwhile on the 1000 block, the Z Folio jewelry store opened a few of months ago at 1013 State St. Next door, a gluten-free French pastry shop, Lilac Patisserie, is getting ready to open. Nearby, the bare bones Civilianaire clothing store opened in time for the holiday season.

On the 1100 block of State, the real estate firm SIMA still is trying to lease what used to be a huge rug store at 1117 State St. What most recently was a jewelry store, and Wolf’s Camera Shop before that, sits vacant on the corner of Figueroa Street.

On the 1200 block of State Street, another jewelry store shut down after about a year of operation and its place is a rug and plates shop.

What most recently was a jewelry store, and Wolf’s Camera Shop before that, sits vacant on the corner of Figueroa Street. Another jewelry store on the 1100 block of State closed and its place is a rug and plates shop.

Looking at the Funk Zone section of State Street south of Highway 101, several businesses have closed to make way for the eventual arrival of La Entrada, the long-awaited time-share condo and hotel project.

The shuttered businesses include Hot Spots coffee shop and an adjacent shirt store and bicycle rental business.

State Street Gets More Pizza and a Lot of Other New Features

Out-of-towners may notice significant changes when the visit Santa Barbara’s most popular commercial district during the annual Summer Solstice Parade on June 21.
For one thing, most of the wooden benches on lower State Street were removed to discourage transients from lounging on them all day. That cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars, but was seen as a strategic move to help State Street businesses deal with the homeless problem.
One of the newest sites – and oldest “additions” – to State Street is the late Fess Parker’s hostel across from the Fish Enterprise Co., next to Highway 101. The hostel is scheduled to open soon after sitting vacant and sealed up for about five years. The city made a deal with Parker, which involved building the$10 million “low-cost lodging” facility to offset the boutique hotel his family is trying to complete on Cabrillo Boulevard near the DoubleTree.
Also across the street from the hostel will soon be the relocated Rusty’s Pizza on Cabrillo. Rusty’s is supposed to occupy a cinder-block wall building that once was Bee Bop Burgers.
On the other side of the Indigo Hotel, a children’s museum is planned for the future, if fundraising plans materialize.
On the 400 block of State Street, the former Territory Ahead’s outlet store remains vacant with Lee & Associates trying to lease it. Up the street, Territory Ahead’s former corporate office is being gutted and renovated. Two software companies occupied that space for about a year, but interior remodeling is under way.
On the 500 block, Ana’s Taco Bar, 505 State St., just opened where a hot dog eatery once was. Last year, Barbarians Pizza opened at 511 State St., replacing Yahoo’s Tacos, which closed abruptly last year.
Another pizzeria appears to be planned inside the former Territory Ahead retail store, 515 State St. An art studio occupied that space since last year.
Across the street is the future home of Samy’s Camera, 530 State St., which has to relocate from its Chapala Street site because Sonos, the South Coast-based wireless sound system company, has been buying up commercial real estate all around its corporate office on De la Guerra Street, which is the former home of Antioch University.
Los Angeles-based Samy’s is moving into an 11,400-square-foot space formerly occupied by Fueled Sports Performance, a huge athletic complex started by local entrepreneur Adam Shipley, who had to close it because of city code compliance problems.
On the 600 block of State Street, the city installed a wire fence around a brick sculpture that was used by many transients to hang out and panhandle. The black fence is not very attractive, but appears to discourage most transients.
At State and Ortega streets, the space once used by the Trailhead bike ship remains vacant after that store consolidated with its neighbor, Velopro Bikes.
Moving up to the 900 block, Gold Elements opened up recently in what used to be the Green & Yellow Basket, a local fixture for more than six decades at 911 State St. It appears Gold Elements sells cosmetics.
On the 1000 block, three storefronts appear to be under renovation between1015 to 1019 State St. Meanwhile, a finally completed renovation project at 1117 State St., the former site of a huge rug store, is up for lease by the SIMA commercial real estate firm. No tenant has been named yet.
On the 1200 block, the Brophy Brothers restaurant owners are preparing to open a new eatery where Maggie’s at State and Anapamu streets. Next door, a Jersey Mike’s sandwich shop opened where Quizno’s once operated.
Stayed tuned: The only thing constant about State Street is that it keeps changing.

Marborg Honored

South Coast-based MarBorg Industries has been honored by Green Seal, a nonprofit organization that certifies green products and services.
Green Seal officials recognized MarBorg for its use of sustainable cleaning products. The award was presented at a ceremony June 16 at the company’s office at 728 E. Yanonali St. with a number of local civic leaders on hand.
MarBorg is the exclusive trash hauler for Santa Barbara, Goleta and Buellton and South Santa Barbara County.
“MarBorg Industries is the only recycling and waste hauler that we know of using only Green Seal certified institutional cleaning products in its facilities,” said Gary Petersen, the nonprofit group’s board chairman. “Their headquarters was recently LEED Platinum Certified, and all three of their office buildings have been certified through the County of Santa Barbara Green Business Certification process.”

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