Commercial real estate broker Austin Herlihy breaks down the future of State Street, downtown housing, and offers his take on the La Cumbre Plaza mall controversy, as well as the rising status of the Camino Real Marketplace, in the latest episode of Santa Barbara Talks with Josh Molina.
Herlihy, the executive vice president of Radius, said State Street won’t ever see a major decrease in vacant storefronts until the city figures out a reasonable plan for Paseo Nuevo, the downtown mall that has lost Nordstrom and Macy’s as anchor tenants the past few years.
“Nothing is getting better,” Herlihy said. “Nothing is going to get better until there is some sort of resolution with the mall.”
He said that a month ago he heard that the mall’s owners entertained a couple of bids for the property, but he had not heard the outcome.
“I don’t see State Street, at least the 700 block, 800 block, 900 block, changing until there’s some cohesive ownership of that mall, and a plan,” Herlihy said.
Herlihy said the city of Santa Barbara should also get involved.
“If there were just a plan, and the city and some developer got together and said, ‘This is what we are going to do,’ I think you’d see a huge change right away,” Herlihy said. “I think you’d see a lot of cool local businesses wanting to get in there.
As for La Cumbre Plaza, Herlihy said legacy retail outlets such as Macy’s are dying, so that it makes sense to redevelop the shopping center into housing.
Herlihy talks about state pressures to build housing and explains the pros and cons of a specific plan for the area, as well as the 585-unit Taylor family housing project.
He also explains some of the challenges facing Old Town Goleta and why the Camino Real Marketplace has emerged as Goleta’s downtown.
Consider a donation to this podcast by clicking here. Subscribe to this podcast by clicking here. Josh Molina has been a journalist in Santa Barbara for 20 years. He also covered City Hall for the San Jose Mercury News. In addition to working as a reporter at Noozhawk, he teaches journalism at Cal State University, Northridge and Santa Barbara City College. Please subscribe to his You Tube channel for more content.