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3-Story Hotel Proposed for Castillo Street Draws Praise from Santa Barbara Planners

The 38-room hotel would replace a one-story Days Inn motel near the Waterfront

An artist’s rendition shows what a three-story hotel proposed for 116 Castillo St. in Santa Barbara. The project drew praise Thursday from the city Planning Commission.
An artist’s rendition shows what a three-story hotel proposed for 116 Castillo St. in Santa Barbara. The project drew praise Thursday from the city Planning Commission. (Contributed)

The Santa Barbara Planning Commission got its first look on Thursday at a proposal for a three-story hotel at 116 Castillo St., near the Santa Barbara Waterfront.

The 14,458-square-foot, 38-room project would require the demolition of the one-story, 24-room Days Inn motel that sits on the site, which is across the street from Pershing Park.

In relatively quick fashion, the commission unanimously approved the project’s environmental review, interior setback modifications, coastal-development permit, and development plans, as well as requested that eventual construction not occur on Saturdays unless it’s defined as “quiet” work.

“I think this really enhances the beauty of this part of our neighborhood,” Commissioner Deborah Schwartz said.

The 33-foot-tall building drew much of its design inspiration from local architectural eras and the surrounding buildings, many of which are also hotels, project architect Joe Andrulaitis told the commission.

Adhering closely to the city’s characteristic Spanish-colonial style, the hotel’s designs show roofs of varying heights, white walls set back at various distances from the property lines, red roof tiles and enhanced landscaping.

The design, Andrulaitis said, would make the potential future addition of solar panels fairly simple.

Each commissioner praised the project for its design and what they said was a dedication to integrating the building smoothly into the neighborhood, with Commissioner Jay Higgins calling the hotel “a fantastically designed project.”

“You presented something that really didn’t look like a hotel at all,” said Commissioner John Campanella. “It looks more like a large, distinguished building.”

The  24-room Days Inn motel would be razed to make room for a new three-story hotel at 116 Castillo St. in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
The 24-room Days Inn motel would be razed to make room for a new three-story hotel at 116 Castillo St. in Santa Barbara. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

The project first arrived on the city’s radar in August 2014 for preliminary review.

Two primary concerns the project presented, city planner Allison DeBusk told the commission, were the anticipated increase in traffic during non-peak hours due to the extra 14 rooms, and the slightly more obstructed views of the mountains due to the extra two stories.

Neither issue, she said, posed a significant departure from the current circumstances.

The expanded square footage of non-residential floor area comes from the city’s “transfer of existing development rights” process, which the commission also approved.

The development rights come from 3714–3744 State St., the site of the recently demolished Sandman Inn.

According to Andrulaitis, construction should take 12 to 15 months.

“This is not a big corporate entity putting together a project in town,” Commissioner Mike Jordan said of the Kazali family, which owns the property and several others in Santa Barbara.

“This is, in fact, a tired, old ’60s motel building that’s going to be a great addition to that part close to the Waterfront.”

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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