Developer Peter Lewis plans to build 80 apartment units in downtown Santa Barbara, on the 400 block of State Street, a project that could set the trend for future development projects downtown.

In this podcast, Lewis talks about his plans for the property behind the old Staples building.

Half the project includes studios that range in size from about 500 to 550 square feet. The others are one- and two-bedrooms, with the biggest about 1,000 square feet.

“It is really designed for your professionals,” Lewis said. “They could be later-in-life, empty nesters that don’t want a lot of space. They are efficient units. That is intentionally done.”

Lewis said it is difficult to make projects work financially if they are large units. Smaller units are more affordable by design, he said. He said the apartments would appeal to people making between $60,000 and $150,000 annually. 

“The depth of the need for that demographic is extreme,” Lewis said. “It’s not being served. It’s frightening, frankly.”

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The project also includes stacked parking and zip cars. Lewis offers his visionary approach to housing, saying that change is inevitable, and that Santa Barbara is experiencing a revolution.

Lewis, who also owns the Cost Plus World market on the 600 block of State Street, shares his views on the state of retail, homelessness, the future of the State Street promenade, and Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo. Lewis also talks about his family and upbringing in Indiana, before coming to Santa Barbara.