Friday, July 20 , 2018, 6:40 am | Overcast 66º



Construction Under Way on Hancock Terrace Apartments in Santa Maria

The Towbes Group's $50 million downtown project will include 268 rental units and is expected to be completed in 16 months

Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino speaks during Tuesday’s preview event for the Hancock Terrace Apartments as Michael Towbes of The Towbes Group listens.
Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino speaks during Tuesday’s preview event for the Hancock Terrace Apartments as Michael Towbes of The Towbes Group listens. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

With construction well under way behind him, Michael Towbes on Tuesday heralded the start of work on the Hancock Terrace Apartments, a $50 million project with 268 rental units in downtown Santa Maria. 

The celebration was touted as a groundbreaking ceremony, but work was well under way at the site at 534 E. Boone St.

“We thought we would have a groundbreaking, but you’ll see when you get behind the fence here it’s not a groundbreaking because we have already broken a lot of ground,” Towbes, chairman of The Towbes Group, said at what he called a preview event.

The project is expected to be completed in 16 months, Towbes added.

Behind him, heavy equipment moved dirt on the southern side of the property while workers were busy on other sections working with wooden forms.

“I believe this is one of the largest single residential projects the city has ever seen,” Towbes said.

The Hancock Terrace Apartments will sit on 9.53 acres and will have four three-story buildings, all served by elevators.

“I think it’s very clear that there’s a need for quality workforce housing and a great deal of it should be rental housing,” Towbes said. “Other than what we’re building, there’s very little new rental housing being built. It’s not a short-term investment. It’s a long-term investment. We build for the long-term.”

Community amenities will include pedestrian/bicycle paths, ample parking, a heated swimming pool and community center with a gym and coffee bar in addition to outdoor play and seating areas. 

Hancock terrace
The Hancock Terrace Apartments will sit on 9.53 acres and will have four three-story buildings. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“We’re very excited to have this kind of development and project so close to the city because it’s going to impact positively the downtown of Santa Maria,” Mayor Alice Patino said. “We see this as a great project.”

She noted the proximity of the adjacent Santa Maria Transit Center in addition to the Santa Maria Town Center a few blocks of away and within walking distance of Allan Hancock College.

Prior to the opening of another Towbes project, the Siena Apartments in Santa Maria, it had been years since new apartments were built in the city, “and we need them desperately here,” she added. “Thank you, Mr. Towbes, for bringing us another quality project.”

Towbes expressed appreciation to city staff for working to make the project reality. The Hancock Terrace Apartments is especially important since it’s part of Santa Maria’s efforts to revitalize its downtown area.

“We hope it will lead to more high quality development in the city core,” Towbes said.

The new development’s name stems from the fact the land was owned by the family of Capt. G. Allan Hancock, who started a flying school at the site where the college sits today. Hancock Terrace is the home of an ice house, purchased by Hancock along with the Santa Maria Valley Railroad in 1925. 

Hanock’s great-granddaughter, Jane Brennan of San Luis Obispo, spoke during the ceremony about the site once owned by her “Papa.”

Years after Hancock acquired the ice house, he brought electricity to the facility, Brennan said.

“Papa always insisted on using advanced technology in all of his endeavors,” Brennan said. “He knew it was important for the freshest produce to get out of the valley to get all over the country. It was great for Santa Maria. It was great for commerce. … It was just great for the community as a whole.”

Her great-grandfather’s philosophy is why the family chose to partner with Towbes, Brennan said. 

“It truly takes a village to move innovative projects through to completion,” Brennan 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.

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