Paseo Nuevo undergoing renovations
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The Paseo Nuevo shopping center in downtown Santa Barbara will be undergoing a $20 million remodel this year. To officially kick it off, on April 9 roughly 150 “community members, downtown visionaries, and local officials” were present for a groundbreaking at the Paseo Nuevo mall, as reported by Noozhawk. The mall will remain open during renovations, and construction is slated to conclude by early 2020.
The Tribune reports that of the $20 million being invested in improvements for the mall, $14 million will be going toward capital improvements, while $6 million will be put toward tenant improvements. These capital improvements will essentially be an “exterior refresh” for the shopping center, according to a Paseo Nuevo press release, targeting exterior facades, walkways, and landscapes. The Chair of the Historic Landmark Commission, William La Voi, voiced his approval of the renovation plans, calling them “excellent design in both architecture, lighting, and landscape.” Edhat Magazine details phase one of the development, stating that it will include updates such as new entertainment spaces, community gathering places, a bocce ball court, a giant chess board, charging stations, new art installations, enhanced lighting, an interactive fountain, and drought-tolerant landscaping. Additionally, open-air dining options around the shopping center will be increased, and the Spanish tile steps near the Arts Terrace will be refreshed in line with the City’s desire to maintain to the “unique authenticity of the city’s culture, lifestyle, and Spanish heritage,” as reported by the Paseo Nuevo press release. Some of these updates have already been installed—for example, the giant chess board is now an integrated aspect of the mall—while others are still in the works (latter phases of renovation will include improvements to structures such as the Ortega Building, previously home to Macy’s).
In addition to making physical changes to the mall’s appearance, Paseo Nuevo management (Pacific Retail Capital Partners and J.P. Morgan Asset Management) will work closely with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture to organize a dynamic art program that will commission local artists, giving them opportunities to create art for permanent installations within the mall. $200,000 is being put toward this proposal and the Paseo Nuevo press release reports an additional $200,000 will be committed to identifying “supportive solutions for Santa Barbara’s homeless population.” The Tribune reports that the mall has also agreed to take over paying the annual $60,000 fee for trash and recycling services that the city pays at present, demonstrating the Paseo Nuevo management’s commitment to both the improvement of physical and intangible elements of the shopping center.
According to the Paseo Nuevo press release, the mall management is “excited to spearhead the creation of a new, flourishing economic center in the heart of State Street,” a center that is apt to draw families of all ages to the area to experience Santa Barbara.