So many restaurants and local residents are interested in what becomes of Goleta’s former Elephant Bar Restaurant that the Santa Barbara Airport is hiring an outside agency to determine the best fit for the space.
The restaurant, a popular venue for hosting meetings of local organizations, closed on Aug. 21 after 30 years at its former flagship location at 521 Firestone Road.
Elephant Bar CEO Robert Holden in July announced the plan to vacate the airport rental space due to repeated years of financial losses.
Santa Barbara Airport Director Karen Ramsdell told Noozhawk this week that a number of inquiries are coming in regarding the space, which is why staff is seeking outside real estate broker services to find a suitable replacement.
“Normally, we don’t use outside real estate services, but in this case, finding and negotiating with a restaurant is a bit more specialized than our normal commercial/industrial tenant base,” she said.
The airport would not disclose the number or the names of any interested parties.
Ramsdell did indicate that the list of inquiries includes local restaurants, restaurants from outside the area, real estate brokers wanting to represent the airport and local citizens offering restaurant suggestions.
She said officials are working to get a restaurant into the vacant space as quickly as possible, since the Elephant Bar lease officially expires Sept. 30.
“Once we announce our intentions through a broker, I believe that there will be more interest,” Ramsdell said. “We would like to have the space rented as soon as possible, recognizing that it will most likely take at least several months to identify a tenant, negotiate the lease, and for the airport and/or the tenant to make whatever repairs and improvements are necessary."