Efforts to revive downtown Santa Maria took a giant step forward Monday with the demolition of a building at a key intersection.
Heavy equipment quickly knocked down the old structure — a former gas station that most recently was used to house a stereo shop — on the northwest corner of Main Street and Broadway, city spokesman Mark van de Kamp said.
A developer has received permission to create a four-story, mixed-used building at the site, with retail space on the first story and residences on the top three stories.
The project’s plans were still under review by city staff so construction likely won’t start for weeks or months.
The City Council approved the project in January 2018, with the four-story building encompassing 30,660 square feet.
Initial concerns that the site lacked adequate on-site parking led to revisions to increase the number of spaces, a step achieved by reducing the retail area from 4,100 to 3,300 square feet.
The top three floors would include a mixture of 27 one- and two-bedroom apartments, reduced from the 31 units in the original plan.
If the demand exists downtown, the second floor could be converted into office spaces.
Employing a Spanish Mission-style architecture, some apartments would have usable balconies, while others would feature decorative, or Juliet, balconies.
“This project is going to stand out as something everybody is going to be proud of,” developer Ben Nikfarjam told the City Council last year.
Santa Maria continues to work to revitalize its downtown core, including boosting the number of people in the area through a weekly street fair, called Downtown Fridays, in a parking lot from late March through September.