People drinking at Institution Ale.
Craft brewery Institution Ale has opened at 516 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

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Institution Ale has opened on State Street at the site of the old Pierre LaFond building.

“The thing I love about our brewery is the diversity of our customer base from a beer perspective,” said Shaun Smith, co-owner. “Like most breweries, we get our share of beer fanatics and beer enthusiasts, but we always get tons of people checking us out who have never been to a brewery before and are unfamiliar with craft beer.”

The high profile spot, 516 State St., is the second brewery for the company; the original Institution Ale is in Camarillo. 

“We chose Santa Barbara as a satellite location for our brewery because we love the Central Coast,” Smith said. “I grew up in Ventura County and went to college in San Luis Obispo. I always knew that if we opened up a second location, we’d go north up the coast.”

The brewery has 19 beers on tap, from the Mosaic Pale Ale and the White Walls White IPA to the Institution IPA and the State Street Pale Ale. Some of the beers include 4-packs of 16-oz. cans.

The brewery also serves food, shows sports on big screen TVs, and has large areas for big groups.

Interior of Institution Ale in Santa Barbara.

Institution Ale is occupying the space formerly held by Pierre LaFond in downtown Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

“We end up turning a lot of people on to craft beer who were just here because it’s a fun place to hang out,” Smith said. “It’s cool to know that we’re constantly converting people into craft beer drinkers and putting the focus on quality, full-flavored beer.”

Institution Ale opened a week ago and its hours are from 11 a.m. to midnight for now.

Los Arroyos Marks 20 Years

One of Santa Barbara’s favorite Mexican restaurants is celebrating another milestone: 20 years in business.

The staff of Los Arroyos Restaurant in Santa Barbara is celebration 20 years in business.

The staff of Los Arroyos Restaurant in Santa Barbara is celebration 20 years in business. (Contributed photo)

Los Arroyos opened its first location in a 590-square-foot space in downtown Santa Barbara on West Figueroa Street, and two years later expanded next door into to its current location at 14 W. Figueroa St.

“Los Arroyos stands for family, and I am grateful to all the employees who have become family, and the community that has made Los Arroyos a part of theirs,” said co-owner Tony Arroyo.

Los Arroyos serves the original Arroyo family recipes.

Arroyo has had a passion for food since he was a young boy. Inspired by the culinary magic his mom performed in the kitchen and the delicious, authentic recipes she taught and passed down to him, Arroyo always had the dream of one day opening a restaurant, according to a news release. 

Since 1999, Los Arroyos has opened restaurants in Montecito (2004), Camarillo (2009), Indiana (2016), Goleta (2017), and most recently in Solvang (2018).

Invoca Leases State Street Offices

Software company Invoca recently leased the 27,773-square-foot building at 419 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara.

The company moved from a 14,746-square-foot office at 1025 Chapala St.

Francois DeJohn, Steve Hayes, and Kristopher Roth of Hayes Commercial Group represented Invoca in the transaction.

The space had previously been occupied by Sonos, which recently shifted its employees to other offices downtown.

Invoca will sublease the building from Sonos for about a year and then commence a five-year direct lease with the property owner.

Greg Bartholomew, also of Hayes Commercial, represented the property owner along with DeJohn and Hayes. Bartholomew also represented Sonos in the sublease deal.

“We are excited about this move for two reasons,” said Dave Coburn, senior vice president of finance and operations for Invoca. “First, with our employees working, shopping, and eating on State Street, Invoca hopes to contribute to the ‘revival’ of this area. Also, our Santa Barbara team looks forward to being able to walk to everything, including the beach and the Funk Zone.”

Invoca provides artificial intelligence-powered call tracking and analytics for marketers. The tech company has received $60.8 million in funding from various investors, including Santa Barbara-based Rincon Venture Partners.

“We have been working with Invoca since the early days, and it’s been exciting to see their growth and success,” DeJohn said. “This is a remarkable company and a great tenant for State Street.”

In another shift, Well Health Inc. has moved into Invoca’s former space at 1025 Chapala St. It will be moving from 5,708 square feet at 12 E Carrillo St.

Hayes Commercial’s Caitlin McCahill Hensel and Kristopher Roth represented Well Health Inc, while Dejohn and Hayes represented the landlord at 1025 Chapala St.

Well Health Inc., headquartered in Santa Barbara since its founding in 2015,  provides a platform for patients to communicate with health-care organizations.

“Well Health has already outgrown two office spaces since moving their headquarters here in late 2017,” Hensel said. “1025 Chapala St. gives them ample space to grow in place for a while. This shuffle of downtown office tenants proves that there is demand to be downtown and walkable to the amenities of State Street.”

In addition to other tech companies such as Sonos, LogicMonitor, RightScale, and Invoca that have set up shop near downtown, Amazon, as originally reported by Noozhawk, will move into 46,813 square feet at 1001 State St. later this year. 

CenCal Health Acquires Building

CenCal Health has purchased the 60,225-square-foot office building at 4050 Calle Real in Santa Barbara. CenCal Health had been leasing space in the building since 2009.

Francois DeJohn and Steve Hayes of Hayes Commercial Group represented both parties in the transaction.

“CenCal Health had been interested in buying the building for several years,” DeJohn said. “The timing finally came together as the ownership decided to sell.”

CenCal Health provides comprehensive health coverage to Medi-Cal beneficiaries. It is a publicly-funded, community-accountable health plan that serves more than 175,000 Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County residents.

CenCal Health administers the Medi-Cal program in both counties, creating access to high-quality health care for its members through contracts with local physicians and providers. 

DeJohn and Hayes also represented both parties in CenCal Health’s lease of an additional 22,392 square feet of office space at 5540 Ekwill St. in Goleta in December 2018. The space is located in the Santa Barbara Technology Center, just off of Hollister Avenue and near Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.

“This is a growing organization serving a large area on the Central Coast,” DeJohn said. “By leasing space in Santa Barbara Technology Center, CenCal Health added necessary capacity for expansion.”

CenCal Health is one of the South Coast’s largest employers with more than 230 full-time workers in Santa Barbara and Goleta.

“CenCal Health takes pride in effectively managing the resources entrusted to us,” said Bob Freeman, CenCal Health CEO. “Purchasing the building that we’ve been leasing for a decade makes sound financial sense. It also translates into a permanence of commitment to the communities we serve and to our employees.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.