Tuesday, May 31 , 2016, 1:16 am | Overcast 57º

BizHawk: Panera Bread to Fill Longtime Vacant Space Downtown

In other business news, Fresh & Easy is coming to Goleta while Taco Roco is leaving Santa Maria

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

A Panera Bread will be going into a vacant space at 700 State St. in Santa Barbara across from Macy’s.

Panera Bread, which has another location at 3851 State St., has leased the space that was vacant a number of years following the closure of the Left at Albuquerque restaurant, according to Michael Chenoweth, a senior vice president at Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments.

Chenoweth said he was unsure of a time frame related to opening the new location. Officials with Panera Bread could not be reached for comment.

Fresh & Easy Going into Visible Goleta Location

Fresh & Easy has acquired space at 5955 Calle Real in Goleta to build a new grocery store.

The grocery-store chain bought the two-acre property for $5.7 million in the first quarter after three years of being in escrow, said Brad Frohling, a principal at Radius.

“Fresh & Easy is looking for a prime site in Goleta,” said Frohling, noting its only other area location at 336 N. Milpas St. in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara Motorsports was in that location before moving to a vacant space at 6466 Hollister Ave.

No Fresh & Easy representatives could be reached, but Frohling said the company plans to raze the site and build a new building in an undetermined time frame. Scott Kolwitz, a senior planner for the City of Goleta, said the grocery store has its permits but needs to pay final fees to continue.

Taco Roco Closes in Santa Maria

The Taco Roco restaurant in the Crossroads at Santa Maria closed its doors after not renewing its lease last month.

According to a representative of Westar Associates, which manages the Crossroads shopping center, the fast-food Mexican restaurant did not wish to renew its lease that ended Oct. 31.

The former store’s space at 2206 S. Bradley Road, between GameStop and Sprint, is not filled at this time, according to the official.

Taco Roco officials could not be reached for comment, but the restaurant’s website shows that the Bradley Road location was the only one in Santa Maria. The restaurant has been serving the Central Coast for more than 20 years and started in Lompoc before expanding to Buellton, Solvang and San Luis Obispo, according to the website.

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