Sola Street parking lot squeeze to be first sign of new downtown Santa Barbara rental development project
Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre is about to get a new neighbor — at least 33 of them, in fact.
The owners of the 84-year-old theater at 1317 State St. plan to begin construction on a new rental apartment complex to be built on the parking lot off Sola Street on the north side of the building.
Arlington Village, designed by Peikert Group Architects, which is now part of RRM Design Group, includes a combination of studio and one- and two-bedroom units in three-story buildings.
The project also will have two commercial office spaces on the ground floor and a semi-subterranean parking structure.
At their highest point, the new buildings are 40-foot, 2-inches tall.
The development will force at least 125 people to find parking elsewhere.
Santa Barbara Valet Inc., which manages the private parking lot, recently mailed notices to its customers — most of them employees of nearby businesses, including Noozhawk — informing them that the lot will be closed after Nov. 1.
Some customers lease monthly spaces while local shoppers and restaurant and theater patrons pay hourly rates to park in the lot. Now, they’ll have to use municipal lots, street parking or make other arrangements.
“For some people it’s more emotional than anything,” said John Dewilde, owner of Santa Barbara Valet. “People have been parking there for a long time.”
The project developers plan to pull a building permit in a week, and expect to begin site preparation early next month. Construction crews will follow.
Trent Lyon, project manager for Arlington Village, said construction staging crews won’t need the entire site, adding that some parking spaces will remain available near Chapala Street, even during the buildout.
When completed, the project’s parking structure will contain 42 spaces, with another 49 surface spots. Of the 91 total spaces, 35 will be reserved for residents with 56 available to the public.
“They are going to rebuild a bunch of the parking at some point,” Dewilde said. “People will be able to get back there.”
Lyon said Arlington Village developer Bruce Corwin, whose family owns the Arlington Theatre and Metropolitan Theatres, chose to build rentals instead of selling the property because he has deep attachment to the site. Corwin also believes that the city needs downtown rental units.
The development also will have a full-time site manager.
“The property is very dear to them,” Lyon said of the Corwins. “It’s an iconic piece of property. They never want to sell it. It is going to be a beautiful building.”