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Signs of Proposed 3-Story Hotel Emerge Near Lower Milpas Street, Highway 101

Developer puts up story poles at site of 111-room hotel planned in industrial area of Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside

Story poles mark the site of a proposed 111-room hotel at 926 Indio Muerto St. near South Milpas Street on Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside. Click to view larger
Story poles mark the site of a proposed 111-room hotel at 926 Indio Muerto St. near South Milpas Street on Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

A Santa Barbara developer is hopeful of building a hotel near southbound Highway 101’s North Milpas Street exit ramp, and story poles denoting the height of the three-story structure were erected over the holidays.

Those same story poles came down last week after city officials found out they went up a tad too soon and without coordinating with proper departments.

The developer, IWF SB Gateway LP, put in a pre-application to build a 115-120-room hotel at 926 Indio Muerto St. in August 2014, according to city planner Kelly Brodison.

According to the filing, she said, the project would include demolishing an existing 12,000-square-foot commercial building to build the 55,000-square-foot hotel and underground parking for 90 vehicles.

Since the project has gone before the city’s Architectural Board of Review twice already, Brodison said, developers have revised the proposal to 111 rooms.

If the project makes it through the ABR, the Planning Commission would need to approve a development plan, coastal development permit and a transfer of existing development rights before it could move forward.

The ABR requested that the developer put up story poles in December, but the applicant needed to coordinate that process with the city, which was why the poles were removed, Brodison said.

“The applicant got a little ahead of himself,” she told Noozhawk. “In this case, because of the location of the project and the potential for it to be very visible, the ABR said before you go to planning commission, we want you to put up story poles.”

Brodison said ABR members will head out for a site visit at their Jan. 19 meeting to determine if more work is needed. 

The visit should also give the board a better idea of the public improvements the developer would need to make at the site, which is near the raised southbound freeway and surrounded by streets on three sides: Indio Muerto, South Alisos and the North Milpas exit ramp.

Brodison said developers would most likely have to do traffic improvements at the busy intersection, among other things. In addition to the freeway entrance and exit ramps, the property is near the Union Pacific railroad tracks and a block north of Tri-County Produce, 335 S. Milpas, and around the corner from The Habit at 216 S. Milpas.

“What you see now is not what’s going to be here if and when this project goes through,” she said.

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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