Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 8:29 pm | Fair 66º

 
 
 
 

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Towbes Group Starting Construction of Senior Apartments in Santa Maria

Groundbreaking ceremony celebrates beginning of Villa del Sol project off Blosser Road

The Towbes Group President Craig Zimmerman stands by while Mayor Alice Patino speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for Villa del Sol, a 193-unit senior rental housing complex in Santa Maria. Click to view larger
The Towbes Group President Craig Zimmerman stands by while Mayor Alice Patino speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for Villa del Sol, a 193-unit senior rental housing complex in Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

With heavy equipment as the backdrop, a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning marked the start of construction for The Towbes Group’s newest Santa Maria project — the company’s first senior rental apartments in the city.

Villa del Sol will be built off South Blosser Road between La Brea Avenue and Battles Road. The 193-unit complex will be sandwiched between single-family houses to the west and a small shopping center to the east.

“This our first senior rental community in Santa Maria and that’s what makes this, I think, really special, is that senior rental housing has not been built in Santa Maria in decades,” said Craig Zimmerman, president of The Towbes Group. “We think not only is there a need, but we’re also excited to bring our programming, the way The Towbes Group does senior housing.”

“That’s no buy-in, no long-term commitment, lots of amenities, lots of activities. You know, 55-plus these days -- that’s a very active group of seniors,” Zimmerman added. “While you may call it a senior community, it’s a very active lifestyle.”

Thursday’s ceremony marked the first since Towbes Group founder Michael Towbes died April 13 at the age of 87.. 

“Michael Towbes means a lot to us in Santa Maria,” Mayor Alice Patino said.

“You always knew when he did a project it was going to be the best. He always did what he said he was going to do,” she said during the groundbreaking ceremony. 

Calling Towbes “a great businessman,” Patino said she knew he would try to negotiate lower fees as he developed quality projects.

“He knew what the market was out there. He knew what he could pencil out and be successful,” she said. “He also delivered such a wonderful product.” 

The Towbes Group staff and Santa Maria city representatives pose for a picture during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Villa del Sol apartments on Thursday morning. Click to view larger
The Towbes Group staff and Santa Maria city representatives pose for a picture during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Villa del Sol apartments on Thursday morning. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Maria meant a lot to Towbes since his company started in the city 61 years ago, Zimmerman said after the ceremony.

“It was always close to his heart. He always knew what a great community it was,” Zimmerman said.

A couple of weeks before Towbes died, he and Zimmerman drove by the Villa del Sol site where preliminary work was underway. 

“He was very happy to see that it was going to happen. We miss him very much but he taught us to look forward, and to move forward. He was such a visionary that we want to fulfill his vision, particularly here at Villa del Sol,” Zimmerman said.

Construction on Villa del Sol is expected to take approximately a year, with the first rental units available in March 2018.

Villa del Sol is the latest rental project by The Towbes Group, which also built workplace housing with the nearby Siena apartments and Hancock Terrace project on East Boone Street.

Later this year, Towbes Group leaders expect to break ground on another workforce rental housing project — 318 units as part of the Enos Ranchos property. The Easton apartments will sit on 14 acres near Battles Road and College Drive.

“There’s so much demand for rental housing in Santa Maria that we feel that investing more, growing our footprint in Santa Maria is a great business model for us,” Zimmerman said. 

Mayor Alice Patino speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the 193-unit Villa del Sol senior rental housing complex. Click to view larger
Mayor Alice Patino speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the 193-unit Villa del Sol senior rental housing complex. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The company focuses on providing a wide array of housing choices —ranging from single-family and apartments. 

“We think it’s very important we continue Mike’s legacy to offer those housing choices to the local community,” Zimmerman said. 

Lynn Hernandez, manager Shepard Place apartments in Carpinteria, and several residents attended the Santa Maria ceremony. The senior apartment complex was named top large business by the Carpinteria Chamber of Commerce in 2014, Hernandez said.

“It is because of what we do for our residents and the community,” Hernandez said.

Zimmerman said they transported the Shepard Place residents to Santa Maria for the ceremony due to a belief senior housing is underserved. 

“We hope to build a coalition. We hope to build a senior voice throughout Santa Barbara County so there’s more support for projects like this in the future,” Zimmerman said

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.

The artist’s concept for the 193-unit Villa del Sol, a Towbes Group project for senior citizens in Santa Maria.
The artist’s concept for the 193-unit Villa del Sol, a Towbes Group project for senior citizens in Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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