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Local News

Target Takes Step Back in Long Quest to Buy Goleta Property for Much-Anticipated Store

Retailer asks property owner to resolve outstanding issues on 11-acre site at Hollister Avenue and Los Carneros Way

Target is no longer under contract to buy property to build a store in Goleta, taking a step back so the local property owner can resolve some issues.

The move, which came last month, pauses what so far has been a three-year process to build on 11 acres at 6466 Hollister Ave. The land is currently home to Goleta Valley Athletic Club, Santa Barbara Motor Sports and landscaper Enviroscaping. A portion of what is now Los Carneros Way also would be utilized in the project.

The national retailer is still very much interested in the parcel, however, said Greg Bartholomew, a Hayes Commercial Group partner who is handling the deal.

“They are hopeful we are able to get back into contract,” Bartholomew told Noozhawk. “It’s a complicated property. A lot of nuisances, and a few things need to be resolved under contract before we can proceed.”

HCR LLC, a local family-operated entity, has owned and maintained the property in question for 40 years, he said.

He couldn’t offer a timeframe or exact information about outstanding property issues.

“Dealing with tenancies is just one of many issues,” Bartholomew said. “Target decided to take a step back while we resolve some of the issues in order to move forward. Target hopes the property owner can help.”

Target has not withdrawn its application with the City of Goleta, he said, and he hasn’t heard any indication of that happening.

The Goleta City Council gave an initial go-ahead to Target’s plans and application a year ago, making way for the start of an environmental review process that has yet to commence.

So far, Target has not put a deposit down to start that process.

“As far as the city is concerned, Target still has an active application,” Goleta municipal spokeswoman Valerie Kushnerov said. “We are waiting for them to make their deposits so the environmental work can begin.”

No timetable is associated with when Target must start the process, since official project approval was never given, she said.

The company offered no information about a change in plans last week.

“Goleta is a great market for Target, and we continue to consider new opportunities to serve guests there,” Target spokeswoman Kristen Emmons said. “However, I have nothing to share at this time around plans for a new store.”

Locals have been waiting for a Target since November 2011, when the Goleta council unanimously voted to authorize a public planning process and to change the city’s General Plan for the company’s purchase.

The store’s initial site plan, submitted in 2012, was sent back for further clarifications. In April 2013, revised plans were presented for the 160,000-square-foot store — reducing square footage and increasing parking, among them — and planners signed off on the project.

If Target pulls its application, the retailer would have to start from scratch — an outcome Bartholomew said was unlikely considering Target has been hunting for an ideal Goleta location for more than a decade.

“When first went under contact they envisioned the issues were going to be resolved by now,” Bartholomew said. “Target is patiently sitting by.”

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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