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Economic boost coming from development projects at the Santa Barbara Airport

There’s a significant expansion taking place at the Santa Barbara Airport that will be an economic boost for the area in the coming years. “You know that this was like a waste land forever,’ said Peter Rupert a UC Santa Barbara Economics professor. He say the work underway now, “it’s just going to be beautiful.” It’s a part of the airport district that is often overlooked in the 6100 block of Hollister off Frederick Lopez Place. Airport Director Hazel Johns joined other airport and civic leaders with gold hammers to pound some ceremonial nails into wooden beams. Some of work has already begun on what will be a multi building expansion. “This will be the first phase as you know the light industrial development 22-hundred square feet and we also have another project which is going to be a car dealership,” said Johns. The auto facility will be operated by Chrysler, according to airport officials. “Aa the end it’s going to be nine buildings and 40-thousand square feet which is going to be great for this area,” said Rupert who also calculated the economic benefits. “At the end of the day it’s somewhere about a quarter billion dollars that’s generated for our local economy and about 2000 jobs if you look at the direct and indirect effects. These sites full of constructions crews and heavy equipment will be available for light retail, technology, manufacturing, and restaurant businesses that are looking for a place to grow in an area that doesn’t have much room left. The designers said they wanted it to fit into the Goleta Valley overall and be more than an industrial park. Architect Bob Kupiec said, “.we thought a lot about what was happening on Hollister. This is a pretty vehicular corridor and these buildings have a rhythm and shape and somewhat emulate the mountains behind them.”
There are some amenities that will be designed for workers and the public coming to the new buildings.. “We actually create these public paseos that are gardens for people to come. We think it is about quality of life too. People will come to work and if you are happy at work lots of things come from that,” said Kupiec. He also said there will be an environmental design and a water gathering system. All together this is giving the Santa Barbara a change it has not seen in years. “O ne of our staff said the other day we need to stop thinking of ourselves as a small itty bitty airport but, not an LAX never an LAX, but it’s really a significant regional asset, ” said Johns. Also attending, Goleta City Councilman Micheal Bennett who said this development plan would be economically beneficial for both cities and the entire look of the Hollister corridor. In recent years, Goleta has approved industrial projects and several hotels in the same area. Nearby a highly anticipated Target store is opening in 2019.

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