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Chapala One Condo Project in Santa Barbara Sold to L.A. Developer

Residents could start moving into the downtown luxury development as early as next summer

Construction crews are making outer cosmetic repairs to the Chapala One luxury condos in downtown Santa Barbara following the controversial development’s recent sale to a Los Angeles developer.

Michael Rosenfeld of Woodridge Capital Partners LLC purchased the unsold condos last month for an undisclosed amount, according to Austin Herlihy, an agent for Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments.

Chapala One, located at Chapala and Gutierrez streets, and its large buildings have prompted a debate over city planning, which included the 45-foot building height limit voter initiative on November 2010’s ballot.

The condos, which have remained vacant since construction was completed in 2008, could see residents as early as next summer, according to Herlihy, who worked on the sale for some time with Radius co-founder and principal Steve Brown.

A spokeswoman for Woodridge Capital confirmed the sale but would not provide any details.

“The plan is to probably start selling units in the summer,” Herlihy told Noozhawk. “I think it’s really going to help bring some vibrancy down to that area.”

Jaime Limon, a senior planner for the City of Santa Barbara, said crews are tearing off plaster and replacing it to include all the details of the original appearance after some outside stucco work was found defective.

“Part of the agreement between the courts and buyers and developers was to make some repairs,” Limon said.

Former Chapala One LLC owner Don Hughes, who was successfully sued by Melchiori Construction Co. of Santa Barbara for underpaying workers on the project, could not be reached for comment.

Since the verdict, Melchiori has experienced its own internal turmoil, including its president, Mark Melchiori, being accused of not paying subcontractors, not making payroll and of borrowing money from employees without repayment.

The company filed for bankruptcy in October, and Mark Melchiori also has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy personally.

Herlihy said he is hopeful Woodridge will bring new life to the project, which includes 46 luxury residential condos and 7,000 square feet of commercial/retail space.

“It’s a very beautiful project that had some bad timing,” he said. “Fortunately, Woodridge has picked up the baton to finish off.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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