Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 3:16 am | Fair 44º


Goleta Business Stakeholders Board Buses to See Development Plans

the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts a tour of proposed economic projects around the city

Attendees of Wednesday’s bus tour hosted by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce got a glimpse of the future site of Pacific Beverage Co. at Cabrillo Business Park in Goleta.
Attendees of Wednesday’s bus tour hosted by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce got a glimpse of the future site of Pacific Beverage Co. at Cabrillo Business Park in Goleta. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

A group of Goleta stakeholders set out in two buses Wednesday morning to take a tour around some of the city’s 37 planned development projects, with an eye on impact to the economy.

The tour and subsequent luncheon, hosted by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, gave officials and business leaders a chance to see future businesses and homes up close — providing visuals for projects so often associated with just an address.

The Goleta chamber, which hosted a similar event last year, extended this year’s tour to more than its board members.

Attendees met outside Deckers Outdoor Corporation to board one of two Santa Barbara Airbus vehicles.

In the first bus, Sares-Regis Group regional president Russ Goodman kicked off the tour by talking about the complex where passengers sat, the one his company built: the Cabrillo Business Park on Hollister Avenue.

Goodman outlined ongoing construction, saying the park was about to enter its third phase. He pointed to barren land that would soon house a new 120,000-square-foot Pacific Beverage Company facility.

Down Coromar Drive, Goodman highlighted open space, plans to restore wetlands and a building bought by UC Santa Barbara.

Research and development space in Goleta boasts a 2-percent vacancy rate, Goodman said, compared to 10 percent for industrial buildings.

“Right there?” a passenger asked, looking at the planned Marriott Residence Inn site in the 6300 block of Hollister Avenue.

Santa Barbara Airbus owner Eric Onnen, who is also a Goleta planning commissioner, led one of the Goleta economic development bus tours Wednesday. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Goleta City Council members Roger Aceves and Michael Bennett provided some context throughout the tour, along with city planning and development director Jennifer Carman.

“Is the drought affecting any of the expansion?” another passenger said.

“Yes and no,” Goodman said, explaining that Marriott already had the water rights but might have to defer landscaping until normal conditions return, according to a Goleta City Council decision this week.

From there, Santa Barbara Airbus owner Eric Onnen — also a chamber member and Goleta planning commissioner — took over as the bus traveled past Santa Barbara Airport’s light industrial property and into Old Town Goleta.

The Hollister Avenue corridor is a high priority, Onnen said.

“The challenge is squeezing everything into this corridor,” he said.

Goleta is still looking to acquire more parking lots to provide free parking, the Hollister Bridge will soon be replaced as part of the larger San Jose Creek bridge project and roundabouts are planned for Hollister Avenue on either side of Highway 217, Onnen said.

The bus sailed by the Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet incubator space on Pine Avenue within Orbital ATK, along with the planned Ekwill/Fowler road extension to divert traffic from Hollister and the proposed mixed-use Old Town Village, formerly called the Page Site, off South Kellogg Avenue.

After heading onto the freeway, Onnen showed attendees the Rincon Palms site, the under-construction Ice in Paradise rink, and housing developments — the Hideaway BungalowsHollister Village, Cortona Apartments and Willow Springs.

When buses unloaded at Deckers Outdoor, company president and CEO Angel Martinez welcomed attendees in for a luncheon.

The tour’s contents — and GEM's startups, in particular — impressed luncheon keynote speaker, Gurbax Sahota, president of the California Association of Local Economic Development.

“You guys ‘get it,’” she said. “Having a vision is so key, and it’s great to hear that consistent message.”

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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