Rendering of a proposed State Street hotel with a rooftop pool,
A new hotel, complete with a rooftop swimming pool, is proposed for the former Forever 21 building at 901 State St. in Santa Barbara. (DMHA rendering)

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It seems like it’s been forever vacant, but soon the former Forever 21 building on State Street in Santa Barbara could forever be a hotel.

Developer Ray Mahboob, who grew up Goleta, has submitted plans for a 22-room hotel at the site of the old Forever 21 building, 901 State St.

It’s an adaptive reuse project, and Mahboob has proposed a rooftop swimming pool. He is working with architectural firm DMHA.

“We are excited for the opportunity to revitalize into a destination for travelers as well as locals who will be drawn to enjoy food and drink in the lobby restaurant, where the light from the glass-bottom rooftop pool will shimmer through the building for a dynamic experience,” said Ed DiVicente, an architect with the firm.

The company is also working with longtime Santa Barbara architect Henry Lenny.

The project includes a “basement speakeasy,” which “transport patrons to days of old,” DeVicente said.

Rendering of proposed State Street hotel.
The hotel proposed for the Forever 21 building on State Street would include 22 rooms, a rooftop swimming pool and a “basement speakeasy.” (Courtesy rendering)

In addition, the hotel will include a rooftop bar open to the public with views of the Riviera and ocean.

Forever 21 left in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The building was erected in 1912 and was a bank until 1998. After Forever 21’s closure, the building served as home to a seasonal Halloween costume store.

The project has appeared before the city’s Historic Landmarks Commission and is still in the pre-application concept review phase. No parking is proposed as part of the project, but the property is near a city parking lot.

Lost Its Punch

Vintage clothing store Punch, 1223 State St. in Santa Barbara, is closing.

The store offers “swanky home decor, funky fashion, sunnies, jewelry, vintage clothing, barware and kitschy gifts,” according to its Instagram page.

In a statement to Noozhawk, Punch said it’s closing “because after many fun-filled years on State, ‘it’s time.'”

Punch will stay open through October to liquidate.

“While I will miss interacting with all the amazing people I’ve met over the years in Punch, I do have a few spaces in Antique Alley so not completely out of the vintage business,” according to the statement.

Pensionmark Hires Chief Investment Officer

Pensionmark in Santa Barbara has hired Nate Garrison as the firm’s new chief investment officer.

He will lead all investment strategy, research and communication activities for all Pensionmark financial services companies. The firm is located at 24 E. Cota St., Suite 200.

“We were seeking someone qualified to combine their expertise with the firm’s foundation developed over the past 30 years to catapult the Pensionmark brand, and Nate can do exactly that,” Troy Hammond, CEO of Pensionmark, said in a statement. “We are excited to have him join the team and look forward to his strategic leadership as we drive growth in both the retirement and individual wealth businesses.”

Garrison holds a master’s degree in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from the University of Virginia. He is finishing a master’s degree in analytics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“Joining Pensionmark is extremely exciting at this point in my career, given where the firm is headed in terms of growth,” Garrison said in a statement. “Building out the analyst team and innovating new service offerings for our clients will no doubt prove to be a rewarding challenge.”

New Hardware Store

Channel City Hardware & Gifts has opened at 3888 State St. in Santa Barbara.

Store hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Channel City Lumber’s original Goleta location is 35 Aero Camino.