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Architectural Board Scrutinizes Proposed Hollister Avenue Car Dealerships

The Santa Barbara ABR checked out the concept for plans to build dealerships for Chrysler, Infiniti, and a third brand along the 6200 block of Hollister Avenue

Three more car dealerships are hoping to call Hollister Avenue home, as plans for a new commercial development came before the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review on Monday.

The ABR reviewed the concept for two new buildings at 6210–6290 Hollister Ave. between La Patera Lane and David Love Place that are intended to house dealerships for Chrysler, Infiniti, and a third, yet-to-be-determined brand.

Hollister Avenue and its side streets are already home to several other dealerships, including Toyota, Nissan and Honda, in the Old Town area of Goleta.

Although the property is in Goleta, the city of Santa Barbara owns the land, which is currently a vacant field across Hollister from the Santa Barbara Airport and down the street from the Goleta Amtrak station.

Chrysler’s two-story building would be 22,000 square feet, with 91 parking spaces and 48 “inventory spaces” for the cars on display, while Infiniti and the third brand’s one-story building would be 21,000 square feet, with 89 spaces and 57 inventory slots.

The dealerships would have three business sections, said Robert Plant, the project architect from FLEX Designs: new car sales, service and a new parts department.

The new vehicles would be on display along the front of the property, facing Hollister, he said.

In addition to the three brands, Plant told the board, the plans aim to also include a sales lot for luxury trailer company Airstream, although no contracts have been written up yet.

Trish Allen of Suzanne Elledge Planning and Permitting Services, which is the applicant, told the board that another car dealership there had been taken down in 2011 because it was in the airport’s runway protection zone.

Because of the protection zone, the plants, trees and vegetation of the site will remain relatively low to the ground, Plant said.

“It’s a difficult project to be building, to work with,” said board member Kevin Moore.

In its feedback to Plant, Allen, and landscape architect Charles McClure, the board concluded that it wasn’t necessary to retain a “Hispanic theme” in the architecture; a common concern of the board with projects in Santa Barbara-proper is the retention of Spanish colonial-style architecture and similar themes that evince a “Santa Barbara” style.

The modern-style buildings currently feature tall, broad windows that reach down to the ground. The roofs of the two structures are designed to just come together in the middle, giving the appearance of one long building along Hollister.

The board commented that the project would be stronger if the three brands developed more “separate identities.”

The project is slated to return to the board in two weeks. Before the plans can shift into high gear, however, the project must also pass an environmental assessment and receive approval from the Santa Barbara Planning Commission.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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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