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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 6:25 am | Fog/Mist 43º


Plaza, Parking Lot Behind Granada Theatre Getting a Redesign

Santa Barbara Planning Commission approves lot merger for Towbes Group plans to improve the area and make it safer for pedestrians

rendering Click to view larger
A rendering shows plans for the Granada Plaza, the parking area and pedestrian walkway between State Street, the Granada Garage and Granada Theatre.  (Cearnal Collective photo)

The parking area next to the Granada Theatre and Granada Garage is getting a major redesign to make it safer for pedestrians. 

The Towbes Group wants to add two residential garages with two-level hydraulic car lifts for residents who live on the upper floors of the theater building. Plans also call for improvements to the public paseo that leads from the parking lot to State Street, creating a Granada Plaza and adding lighting.  

The goal is to improve the area and create a more inviting pedestrian experience. The current area features a mish-mash of cars that are tandem-parked in multiple directions, which people walk through on their way from State Street to the parking garage — often en masse after performances at the Granada Theatre. 

The Planning Commission voted 7-0 to approve the lot merger and plans this week. 

“I think it's going to be a great improvement once it's finished,” said commissioner and former mayor Sheila Lodge. “It will be quieter and much better than it is now.”

The new Paseo De Las Granadas would include landscaping, lighting, repaving, and extending an 8-foot-tall wall along the walkway. The paseo leading to State Street would feature an art component and be dedicated to the city.

Project architect Brian Cearnal said the redesign will bring a sense order to the area.

“I believe there will be less activity because there are lots of cars there now and who knows who they belong to,” Cearnal said. 

Planning Commissioner Addison Thompson agreed that the funky area is tough to design, but the lot merger is better than what is there now.

area near theater and parking garage Click to view larger
The Planning Commission approved a lot merger for improvement plans in the Granada Plaza area. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk file photo)

“You have changed one jigsaw puzzle to another jigsaw puzzle, but a new and better jigsaw puzzle,” Thompson said. “The area could use some cleaning up.”

Commissioner Deborah Schwartz said the the entire community will benefit from the new area.

“Both residents and visitors alike are going to find this drastically improves the experience in the arts and entertainment district,” she said. 

Commissioner Michael Jordan raised concerns about the planned 8-foot-tall wall, which will extend the current paseo connecting to State Street.

“There's a lot I like about this project, but I'm not really convinced that the city is getting as much as it should, but we're getting more than we have now,” Jordan said.

“I continue to be concerned aboutvthe corridor created by an 8-foot-wall. It's already a sketchy walk at night.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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