Noozhawk Santa Barbara: https://www.noozhawk.com/article/school_board_supports_332_apartment_senior_housing_project

By Joshua Molina

The Santa Barbara Unified School School District is looking to lease land near Goleta to a private developer to build a senior housing complex.

The district hopes to take in more than $400 million over the 99-year-lease of the project, which received general support this week from the school board.

FPA Multifamily and Red Tail Acquisitions are proposing to build 332 senior apartments, which would include a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units.

The development would be spread across 3.8 acres on what’s known as “Tatum Property,” a swath of undeveloped land next to El Camino Elementary School.

The project would have a swimming pool, putting green, walking paths, community gardens, and clubhouse and community center. RRM Design Group will design the project.

“I am excited about the fact that this will be senior housing,” said board member Laura Capps. “The more low-income, and the more affordable, the better.”

The school board talked about entering a 99-year-lease, with payments from the developer of $250,000 annually and 7 percent of the gross income of the property, beginning in year three.

The developer has guaranteed a minimum base payment of $700,000 per year, with a 2 percent annual escalation.

Under the current plan, Red Tail Acquisitions will own the buildings and will hire another company to lease the land and provide property management.

The Tatum property was originally purchased by the district in 1965 for “a minimal amount,” and has remained vacant and unused ever since, according to the district’s attorney, Craig Price.

This is the district’s second effort to develop the property; it originally attempted to partner with the Towbes Group, but negotiations were not successful.

A common element in the previous development negotiations to date has been the inclusion of local architect Detty Peikert, with RRM Design Group.

The school board did not take a formal vote, but the project is expected to return to the board later this for formal contract negotiations.

Board member Jacqueline Reid said she supports the direction the district is headed.

“I think it is exciting that we are doing something,” Reid said. “This is the pathway. It sounds like a real positive opportunity for our community. I look forward to moving in that direction.

Board member Kate Ford said she hopes the development can help former district employees.

“It would be great if we could make some kind of commitment that a retired teacher could live there,” Ford said. “I think the need is great.”