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City of Goleta Makes Play for Direct Relief Warehouse

City officials are looking at buying the property when the nonprofit organizations leaves for its new building in a few years

Goleta is interested in purchasing the Direct Relief warehouse property next to the Amtrak station on La Patera Lane.
Goleta is interested in purchasing the Direct Relief warehouse property next to the Amtrak station on La Patera Lane. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

The city of Goleta is in initial discussions with Direct Relief to buy the nonprofit’s warehouse when it eventually vacates the property near Goleta’s La Patera Amtrak Station — a move that likely won’t happen for a couple years.

Goleta City Council met in closed session Tuesday to discuss possible terms and a price, with nothing reported out in open session.

“The city is in discussions with DRI about the purchase of the property,” city spokeswoman Valerie Kushnerov said.

“Because negotiations are confidential, we cannot comment on the status or a timeframe.” 

City Manager Michelle Greene hinted at the possible purchase last week during a Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce policy roundtable luncheon.

The warehouse at 27 S. Patera Lane is adjacent to the Amtrak station, which could become more relevant once a commuter rail program kicks off in fall 2016.

The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments is working with Union Pacific Railroad, who owns the tracks, and Amtrak to iron out details to better time a passenger train into Santa Barbara and Goleta from Ventura County.

That could double the number of folks using the Goleta Amtrak station each day, which is 100, and help alleviate freeway congestion for the 15,000 people driving up from Ventura County — hence the city’s interest in acquiring nearby property.

Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization founded locally in 1948, plans to move from its current overflowing facility to a new storage and distribution warehouse it builds at 6100 Hollister Ave.

The nonprofit purchased that 6-plus acre Santa Barbara Airport property from the city of Santa Barbara this year, with construction plans still going through the review process.

Direct Relief spokesman Tony Morain confirmed the nonprofit and the city are in “very preliminary” ongoing talks, also contingent on its project approval and funding.

At best-case scenario, the new buildings would be complete in 2017, he said.

In addition to possibly buying the Direct Relief property, Goleta expects to spend $1.3 million to upgrade Amtrak station sidewalks and to add bike lanes, more bathrooms and lighting, according to public works director Rosemarie Gaglione.

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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