SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A downtown project on De La Guerra Street is creating a first for Santa Barbara. City Lift, automated parking, is coming to town.
We first brought you this story more than two years ago and it centered on the historic Louise Ygnacio cottage at De La Guerra Street, just down from Santa Barbara Street.
The Italianate house, constructed in 1875, is being restored as part of a larger project to bring in more workforce housing. Plans include a refurbished duplex behind (the original structure was not historic, according to the City) and a three-story, mixed-use building next door.
All together, the project will create 26 units. Radius Commercial Real Estate will take over the commercial portion.
"The parking in the main building is going to have a City Lift," said Monte Ward, Project Superintendent. "It's a device where they can stack the cars. You index a number or key fob, it brings your car to the surface, the forefront, and then you park the same way. So, it's a nice way of stacking cars so we can get the occupancy that we needed. Obviously, it's going to take care of about 40-something vehicles and it's going to be new to Santa Barbara, but it's gonna have to be the wave of the future because parking is such an issue in this town. No more open parking lots like we have over here at the (school) district."
This project falls under the City's AUD (Average Unit-Size Density Incentive Program), which has received criticism for large-scale projects and the potential for blocking views.
Longtime residents Erik Davis and Christine Neuhauser spoke to reporter Beth Farnsworth in 2017 after plans for 214 De La Guerra Street were approved.
"There's a cute little building right on De La Guerra Street, right in the historic part of Santa Barbara and it's going to be overshadowed by huge, bulky size-and-scale developments," Davis said. "I don't think residents really know the size, bulk, scale and quantity of the developments taking place here in Santa Barbara."
"I think it's totally unfair," said Neuhauser, "I think it's wrong and I think it changes the whole landscape of the city."
Ward said the De La Guerra Street project should be complete by December 2020.