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New designs for downtown Santa Barbara on display for the public to see

Downtown designs
John Palminteri
Designs for possible changes in the housing and appearance in downtown Santa Barbara have now gone on display. (Photo: John Palminteri)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Drawings that could become a real-life change for downtown Santa Barbara in the years ahead, are now on display in storefront windows.

You can see them on the corner of State and Canon Perdido. They are the result of a long-term project from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) locally.

The drawings show sweeping changes to the buildings, walkways, outside spaces and transportation corridors.

Housing units have been a priority in the downtown area as part of the revitalization discussions.

With the drawings now in a public place, input and discussions will continue and city officials will work with land owners as partners on various possibilities.

"How to get housing into this area and to have the proper outdoor spaces  that would be necessary support a vibrant downtown," said Architect Cassandra Ensberg.

One idea called for the Marshalls store building to be replaced by 41 housing units.

Ensberg said, "if you were to remove this building and put up a new building what could you get and that is what this is showing."

One of the concepts that came into focus was at the Fiesta Five movie theatre building. The idea was to keep parking down below but utilize the space up above for new housing. In the middle of it the movie theater remains as part of the project.

 The possibilities on each block had some basic height and historical guidelines but the ideas were endless.

"A lot of times when I am walking downtown I look up and say 'oh that would be such a great place to live .' Even in the Paseo Nuevo it was designed to look like there is something up there but there really isn't, "said Ensberg.

In the heart of downtown is De la Guerra Plaza, which has already been on the drawing board for a redesign.  Ensberg said, "one idea was to possibly  remove some fo the buildings along State Street and allow De la Guerra to flow out to State Street which could be  really dynamic." 

"We are really hoping that people will come down and study these  and send their comments, " said Ensberg.

For more information go to: AIA Santa Barbara

Watch for more information, details and photos tonight on KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY NewsChannel 12, and KKFX Fox 11 news.

(More information, details, and photos will be added here later today.)

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and KCOY 12 Central Coast News.

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