A proposed three-story hotel sandwiched between Highway 101 and South Milpas Street was met with some resistance at last week’s Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review.
The ABR said the project at 926 Indio Muerto St. was moving in the right direction, but it decided not to award preliminary design approval. The board continued the item indefinitely.
Board chairman Kirk Gradin objected to the size of a vehicle driveway, and the function and size of the towers.
“This is a hugely massive archway for the cars,” said Gradin, calling it “an enormous gaping wound.”
He also called on the architect, David Thiel, to improve the design of the stone arch tower.
“Check out the detailing of the stone arch at the (Santa Barbara County) courthouse, it’s not like this,” Gradin said.
The project is proposed by John Cuykendall on a 38,122-square-foot parcel a block east of Milpas, adjacent to the second Milpas exit ramp from the southbound freeway and just north of the Union Pacific railroad tracks.
The plans call for the demolition of a 12,000-square-foot commercial building and construction of an approximately 55,000-square-foot, 45-foot-tall hotel in its place. The 111-room hotel would include a 115-space, semi-underground parking lot with supportive amenities. The hotel also would provide valet parking.
The Planning Commission approved the project last May, along with a coastal development permit and a transfer of existing development rights.
“This is a gateway project,” Gradin said. “It is a building that will be seen when people come to Santa Barbara.”
ABR member Howard Wittausch said the project had come along way from its original design.
“It is a very impressive building,” he noted. “It definitely reflects Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara’s architecture.”
— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.