On land where the lunar rover once roamed, Sares-Regis Group broke ground Thursday on its 965,000-square-foot Cabrillo Business Park. After 12 years in the planning process, the developers could be forgiven for sometimes thinking their project was a moon shot.
“Four score and seven years ago ...” Sares-Regis president Russ Goodman joked to a crowd of three-score people gathered to commemorate the occasion at what will become the South Coast’s largest business park.
Goodman thanked his partners and the business community for their unflagging commitment and support. Then he outlined the circuitous route the project took to shovel-readiness, recounting its start in the Santa Barbara County planning process and later the new city of Goleta.
“The city got built and grew to maturity during this process,” he said. Actually, it would be in second grade now while the developers themselves were receiving a graduate education in application, environmental impact and public review.
The 92-acre complex at the corner of Hollister Avenue and Los Carneros Road was once home to Delco, which used the site, and its facility there, to develop and test military and aerospace equipment, including the lunar rover. But the defense industry began vacating Goleta in the 1980s, and Sares-Regis Group bought the Delco property in 1997.
Sensing a need for larger commercial spaces required for research and development, the company hatched a plan to resurrect the site as a hub for home-grown high-tech firms that are closely tied to nearby UCSB. The result was Cabrillo Business Park, which Bill Watkins, formerly of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project, has estimated will conservatively generate $56 million in new tax revenue in its first 10 years and stimulate $2.1 billion in new economic activity.
Steve Fedde, Sares-Regis’ vice president, said the project’s first phase, which is being graded now, includes three buildings and 175,000 square feet of commercial and industrial space along Hollister, west of the Santa Barbara Airport. A 17,000-square-foot retail complex at the corner of Hollister and Los Carneros can include a full-scale restaurant to serve the neighborhood of office buildings.
Sidewalks will be constructed along Hollister and full traffic signals will be added to the intersections of Hollister and Coromar Drive and Los Carneros and Discovery Drive. Coromar will be the business park’s grand entrance.
While that construction will be plainly visible to Hollister commuters, just as much action will be going on behind the scene, where a large wetland had been neglected for years. The centerpiece of an intricately planned restoration and expansion, the wetland will be surrounded by a 21-acre community park and will itself be protected by bioswales and a detention basin.
In all, 46 percent of Cabrillo Business Park property will remain in landscaped or natural open space, a figure Fedde said he thought was unprecedented in Southern California.
Sares-Regis has already renovated three principal buildings on the west end of the park, totaling 170,000 square feet. Fedde said plans include a site build-out of roughly 70,000 square feet a year for 10 years. As part of the development agreement, Sares-Regis will contribute more than $7 million in traffic mitigation fees to Goleta.
“This is one of the first projects the new council got involved with,” he told Noozhawk, referring to the council majority that was elected in 2006 and granted final approval the following year.
“With that new election, the planning staff knew it had to move forward with a logical, manageable process, and it did,” he said. “It’s a good project for Goleta, to keep our employees hired and to create new jobs.”
Aceves and his fellow council members have considered moving to the property themselves. After two years of studying a proposal to purchase a new City Hall in one of the new buildings, the council voted last month to stay put at the City Hall leased nearby at 130 Cremona Drive. The city maintains a maintenance and storage facility at the business park.
Mark Mattingly, executive vice president of Pacifica Commercial Real Estate, predicted the complex will become the centerpiece of Goleta’s high-tech entrepreneurship.
“Cabrillo Business Park will provide Class A facilities for the area’s growing high-tech firms,” he said. “The availability of large blocks of Class A space is actually very small on the South Coast. This will enable Goleta to keep companies with larger workforces rather than losing them.”
Mattingly and Greg Barthololmew, Pacifica’s associate vice president, are the listing agents for the complex. Click here for more information.