With a recent recession seemingly in the rearview mirror, those traveling around Goleta have begun to see several construction projects that no longer lie in wait on the horizon.
Developers are making way for young families, 20-something singles and seniors on fixed incomes to live within the city limits by building affordable residential complexes, especially along or near the Hollister Avenue corridor.
From the Hideaway Bungalows to Hollister Village to Willow Springs, city officials say it’s an exciting time to be looking for more modern housing designed with a contemporary population in mind — whether you aim to buy or rent.
“The housing that’s being approved and built today is not only consistent with the vision of our General Plan, but works to round out the community’s housing stock,” interim City Manager Michelle Greene said. “The recession prevented a lot of approved projects from being built and with the uptick in the economy developers are now able to move forward in building these projects.”
There are several other projects identified in the General Plan that are working their way through the approval process now, she added.
One housing project finally coming to fruition is the Hideaway Bungalows, a development of 101 condos for sale at 7900 Hollister Ave. that the Goleta City Council approved back in 2009.
Right around that time, Goleta home sales leveled off at 256 — 100 fewer homes sold than the 356 bought in 2004 before the economic downturn, according to Gary Woods, a statistician for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors.
Fast-forward to today, when home buying has once again returned to pre-recession levels, with 364 homes sold in Goleta in 2013, Woods said.
More residential buyers means lower inventory, however. As of early 2014, 26 single-family homes were available for purchase in the Goleta area, with a median list price of $936,500 and average sticker price of $1,692,098, according to Woods.
Enter the Hideaway Bungalows, a Chadmar Group development that had nearly 60 percent of its luxury home units sold out in February 2013 — when just five homes were completely constructed, sales director Lorie Bartron said.
The bungalows include duplex, triplex and single-family homes being built over 15 phases of construction. Bartron said five homes would be rolled out in each phase, and all were expected to be complete and occupied by late 2015 or early 2016.
Although project approval was given in 2009, Bartron said the project had been in the pipeline a total of 14 years and wasn’t quelled by economics but, rather, by government. Plans stalled after the City of Goleta was incorporated in 2002.
“It’s shaping up to be a great community,” she said. “People are just really happy to see the quality and the amount of home that you get for the price. We had so much activity, and people really wanting to choose their home and their home site.
“Santa Barbara is realizing (Goleta is) not that far out from the city. I think that people are very, very excited to see new construction.”
Development is well under way at Hollister Village, a 23-acre parcel at 7000 Hollister Ave. slated to house a mixed-use project containing 266 apartments for rent and a neighborhood shopping center called the Hollister Village Plaza.
Formerly known as the Westar project for the name of the property owner and management company, the development expects to complete its retail phase by late 2014 and all housing by 2015, according to Ally Ellison, a Westar spokeswoman.
Right in the heart of Goleta, the affordable, multifamily residential project is close to jobs, Camino Real Marketplace and within walking distance of Girsh Park, the Bluffs Overlook Trail and Santa Barbara Shores County Park. It’s the first mixed-use development coming to Goleta, and will incorporate a host of amenities and sustainable design components.
Just off Hollister, the Willow Springs community at 60 Willow Springs Lane plans to add 100 more one- to three-bedroom apartments to its 10-year-old complex, which typically has 1 percent vacancy, said Craig Zimmerman, president of The Towbes Group, the developer.
The new apartments will release in phases as well, with the first available in February.
“We’re really passionate about workforce housing,” Zimmerman said. “We think it’s a critical need, and it’s critically undersupplied. It’s really solving the community’s needs. Their employees have trouble finding places to live.”
More workforce housing would also be provided at Village of Los Carneros, a 465-unit development proposed for a 40-plus acre site north and west of Los Carneros Road, just south of Highway 101. The proposed project would require some city-approved zoning changes, and would include a mix of single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes, town homes, condominium flats and apartments.
Another mixed-use development could be in the works for Old Town Goleta once the developer finalizes and submits design plans. The proposed Page Site is a 12.36-acre property off South Kellogg Avenue that would include 106 residential town homes, 35 mixed-use shopkeeper units and 34 live-work town homes. A community center and central pocket park were also in initial plans.
Developers insist that although the projects are constructed simultaneously, the units won’t necessarily be in competition with each other. More housing simply broadens options to mirror needs of a segment that, before now, didn’t have a lot of choices.