Building
Santa Barbara’s beleaguered State Street could sure use an Amazon smile. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

It’s remarkable how much better the Los Angeles Dodgers have been playing since I emotionally divorced myself from them in early September. You’re welcome.

Keep it going, Boys in Blue! Nothing short of World Series champions is good enough for me.

While we wait for 30 years of futility to be exorcised, Noozhawk continues to play like a champion, with an audience of 118,191 readers this past week, according to our Google Analytics.

What follows is my color commentary on the lineup of your Top 5 stories of the week. And by commentary, I mean my opinions.

1. Saks Fifth Avenue Building in Santa Barbara Leased to Fortune 100 Company

In an amazing development for a prime downtown Santa Barbara location, a Fortune 100 company has leased the old Saks Fifth Avenue building at 1001 State St. at the Carrillo Street intersection.

According to sources our Josh Molina talked to for the Noozhawk exclusive, you can skip ahead about 99 places because the mystery occupant apparently is none other than the world’s largest — and, by far, most innovative — online retailer: Amazon.com.

Austin Herlihy, executive vice president at Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments, told Josh the 47,000-square-foot building has been fully leased and will be undergoing tenant improvements early next year. Occupancy is expected by the end of 2019.

Saks OFF 5TH, which replaced parent Saks Fifth Avenue at the site, has been living on an extended lease that expires in December.

Like everyone else directly involved in the deal, Herlihy was circumspect in his statements. All parties have signed nondisclosure agreements so Josh was not able to confirm officially that Amazon is the tenant.

Company officials did not return his calls, but multiple sources — very good sources, I would add — told him Amazon is a go, however.

The building is owned by Michael Rosenfeld, CEO of Los Angeles-based Woodridge Capital Partners.

“The ownership is very excited about being able to fill this building,” Herlihy said. “This will definitely be a ray of sunshine on State Street.”

Although Amazon has made a fortune on the Internet, the tech giant has been rapidly expanding its bricks-and-mortar presence across the country. To date, it has around 600 physical retail sites, including its Whole Foods Market stores, Amazon Books, AmazonFresh Pickup, Amazon Go, Amazon Pop-Up shops and its package pickup lockers.

2. 2 Vehicle Crash Near Refugio State Beach Shuts Down Highway 101 Traffic

Crash

A reckless driver caused this Highway 101 wreck, which left two innocent victims badly injured. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

A Lompoc woman allegedly struck a pickup truck with her SUV while being pursued by authorities on southbound Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast.

The collision, just after 5 p.m. Oct. 1, sent both vehicles rolling over in opposite directions. Two men in the pickup were seriously injured in the wreck.

According to California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin McCool, the chase began in Lompoc when the driver of a Toyota RAV4 refused to comply with attempts by police to pull her over.

Trailed by LPD officers and then Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies, the driver headed south on Highway 1 to Highway 101, where the CHP took over chase duties.

McCool said the woman was driving recklessly, including passing vehicles on the right shoulder, and the collision unfolded just north of Refugio State Beach.

The impact caused the SUV to overturn in the center median while the pickup truck rolled off to the right. The mangled vehicle ended up on its roof near the railroad tracks.

County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the two men in the truck — identified as Brett Bronstad, 60, and Michael Garcia, 58, both of Santa Barbara — were taken by American Medical Response ambulances to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of injuries.

McCool said the chase suspect — identified as 24-year-old Dinara Arevalo — was arrested at the scene. Although she appeared to be unhurt, she was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

Arevalo is facing felony charges that include evading a police officer and causing serious injury with an enhancement for causing great bodily injury. She was being held in County Jail on $100,000 bail.

The spectacle shut down part of southbound traffic for several hours, setting off a massive backup on the freeway.

3. Bill Macfadyen: College Student’s Jog in Montecito Ends in Ventura Hospital — But How?

I’ve got nothing new to report on the Westmont College student who was found in Ventura after going missing in Montecito last week.

But we do have an update on the backyard body discovered on Santa Barbara’s Westside two weeks before …

4. Authorities Have Determined Identity of Decomposed Body Found in Santa Barbara

Investigators have identified the human remains found last month along the back fence of a house in the 1500 block of Clearview Road on Santa Barbara’s Westside.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover told our Tom Bolton that the body, which was discovered by new residents working in the backyard on Sept. 14, has been identified as a local transient in his 60s.

She said no further details would be released until next of kin has been notified. That could take a while because no relatives have been located.

The case has been turned over to the county Public Administrator’s Office, Hoover said.

“No foul play is suspected,” she added.

5. Season’s First Storm Brings Welcome Rain, Deluge of Vehicle Accidents

Rain

Seems it never rains in Southern California, until it does. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The first storm of the rainy season arrived in Santa Barbara County on Oct. 3, and was promptly blamed for numerous crashes throughout the area. No flooding and little to no damage was reported.

Rainfall totals included 1.32 inches at the Celite plant near Lompoc, .44 inches in Goleta, .37 inches in Santa Maria, .36 inches in Santa Barbara, .29 inches in Montecito, .19 inches in Solvang and .09 inches in Carpinteria.

Multiple vehicle crashes were reported on Highways 101 and 154, as well as local surface streets around the county.

Although the weather system quickly moved east, there was enough unstable air behind it to produce a pretty good torrential downpour in Santa Barbara the morning of Oct. 4.

For the weekend, the National Weather Service is predicting sunny skies and daytime high temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s. Those conditions are forecast to change beginning on Columbus Day, Oct. 8, with cloudier skies and slightly cooler temperatures.

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Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Santa Barbara Physician, Wife Wounded in Las Vegas Mass Shooting.

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Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

The short circuit: Why Are Bunches of New Teslas Parked in Lots and Garages Across the Country? Am I the only one who thought of Dinesh Chugtai while reading this story?

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Best of Bill’s Instagram

Clouds were the theme of my Instagram feed this past week, and I’m afraid there may be a very dark one on my horizon. For now, things are all looking up so I’ll leave it at that.

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Watch It

Talk about a cowhand. HT to Noozhawk reader Lori Santoro.

(David McNab video)

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk and Instagram: @bill.macfadyen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

A dark-haired man in glasses with a beard and a mustache smiles at the camera

William M. Macfadyen, Noozhawk Publisher

Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com, and follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen. The opinions expressed are his own.