Paseo Nuevo kicking off renovation project

April 9, 2019 6:08 AM

At nearly every turn, Santa Barbara provides locals and tourists a plethora of photo opportunities.

Soon, you’ll be able to add Paseo Nuevo to the South Coast’s most “Instgrammable” spots, as Pacific Retail Capital Partners hosted an invitation-only reception on Monday evening to celebrate the upcoming revitalization of the open-air shopping mall on State Street in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.

“When I travel, shopping tops the list of things I do,” said Kathy Janega-Dykes, president and CEO of Visit Santa Barbara. “(Paseo Nuevo) has become a staple on the itinerary for our visitors. That’s really a testament to the strength of the product and the compelling nature of the experience Paseo Nuevo has provided over the past three decades.”

The multi-million dollar renovation project comes on the heels of the city of Santa Barbara putting new focus on innovative solutions to help drive economic development throughout downtown, with Paseo Nuevo representing 458,000 square feet of opportunity.

Core to the project’s goals is maint  aining and growing the nearly $1.9 billion in revenue that the city of Santa Barbara sees from more than 7.2 million visitors each year — with shopping ranking third as most common activities for those tourists, according to Ms. Janega-Dykes.

For local business owners, they know that it’s going to take new ideas to thrive once again.

“The topic we’ve had at the table the last year or two is how do we keep downtown vital? How do we keep up with the times?” asked Bob Stout, president of Downtown Santa Barbara and owner of the Wildcat Lounge. “We are so glad that the city has partnered (with the Paseo project).

“The city seems poised and ready to try new things.”

This morning at 8:30, project officials will host the public as it reveals renderings for the first phase of the project, one that will focus on exterior facades, walkways and landscapes.

The vision for the reimagined Paseo Nuevo includes interactive community spaces that will host group games, charging stations and lounge areas, including one with a large fire pit.

Other improvements will include:
• a refreshed logo;
• refreshed Spanish tile steps near the iconic steps of the Arts Terrace;
• drought-tolerant landscaping;
• new LED lighting throughout the mall;
• new Bocce Ball court.

Both PRCP and J.P. Morgan Asset Management are working hand-in-hand with the city, with the City Council unanimously green-lighting the project in February, a few months after the city’s Historic Landmark Commission gave the renovation project support by saying it has “excellent design in both architecture, lighting and

“This has been 15 years in the making. That’s a long time to have it come to fruition,” said Steve Plenge, a managing partner with PRCP. “It’s been really fun to work with the city in a partnership and a rigorous process, and we welcome the process because we ended with a better product because of it.” The redevelopment will be done with sustainability in mind, supporting Paseo Nuevo’s LEED certification.