Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

State Street/La Cumbre Plaza Update: Apple, Crate and Barrel, Luis Vuitton

Last week, it was announced that an Apple Store will be opening where Pier One is currently located on State Street. There are unconfirmed reports that they will be paying $4.53 a square foot which pencils out to $68,000 per month for the privilege of selling MacBooks and iPods on State Street. Perhaps one of our real estate specialists can comment on how anyone could afford they write it off as a loss leader and essentially have higher profit stores cover the difference?

Yesterday, I heard second-hand that Crate and Barrel is moving into the Pep Boys building. Can anyone confirm?

While the face of State Street continues to become more corporate and chain-based, La Cumbre Plaza looks to be continuing on a path which will bump their traditional demographic elsewhere to shop or in debt. Somehow, I didn't think that our report that the ArtWalk was being canceled (and management's response) was the end of the story.

Pacific Coast Business Times reports that Luis Vuitton may be moving into La Cumbre Plaza where the Body Shoppe is located. Apparently, The Body Shoppe was asked to leave by the end of the month after 16-years at this location. Check out the link to the article for some choice comments from founder Anita Roddick's daughter Justine (whose mother recently passed away). Ritz Camera and Hallmark both have closing signs on their windows as well.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how all these commercial real estate pipedreams survive the coming recession.

If foreign capital pulls out of the US Treasury market, particularly China, our interest rates will skyrocket, to attract money back. That will send real estate on a second downward plunge.

Real estate prices, studied accurately so as to account for the impact of billionairs buying $10 million second homes hear (which bias the median), have fallen 20% so far. They'll fall another 30% at least.

Then this rate cutting by the Fed will drive inflation up, as will the superheating effect of $2 trillion handed over to Halliburton and Blackwater to prance around in Iraq.

Stagflation? the 1970's? Fasten your seatbelts, its gonna be bumpy ride.

How many people will keep buying at a La Cumbre Louis Vuitton then?

1/22/2008 7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting that we think this is the only place where it's expensive to live and work. I just got back from a business trip to Manhattan, where there is currently over 11 million square feet of office space under construction at this time. Down in lower Manhattan, where the World Trade Center area is being rebuilt office space is fetching $50-70 per square foot.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that it's all relative, and $4.50 for retail space doesn't seem too bad when looking at it in that context.

1/22/2008 7:49 AM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

Pep Boys and Pier One out -- Crate & Barrel and Apple in. This is not an example of State Street becoming "more corporate and chain-based...". It is just switching from one chain to another.

1/22/2008 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

The budget in California is $14 Billion underfunded.

I don't think Iraq did it--incredible as that may sound in Santa Barbara.

The City Council is panting to raise sales taxes, the TOT, fees, and the whole panoply available...

How long can we dream of Louis Vuitton and rising house prices?

A change is coming...

1/22/2008 8:23 AM  
Blogger Greg Knowles said...

How can Apple afford to pay $68,000 a month for a retail space? Good question, but the rate of $4.53 seems pretty reasonable from what I know about State St. and Coast Village Rd. space. I don't know about anyone else, but I have never been in an Apple Store. It could be kind of fun. Good Luck Apple!

1/22/2008 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geez, comparing us to Manhattan. Sure, we're a nice place and all, but Manhattan is the financial and artistic center of, well, the world. And the foot traffic there is 100's times greater than anywhere in greater Santa Barbara.


1/22/2008 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummm, 7:49, Manhattan is not Santa Barbara or vice versa, much as the developers & company & tag-alongs (the city council) long for the same tax base accoutrements. I've lived in Manhattan and La Cumbre Plaza (and State Street) doesn't even remind.

Perhaps with Vuitton and all the rest, including the development proposed for upper State Street, they're aiming for Manhattanites and Houstonians. Certainly, it is not for (most) Santa Barbarans. Why don't they move to Coast Village Road?

Roddick said growth is a poor excuse for bad manners. ... " and it would be great if people looked after each other a bit better,” she said. True, imo, but that ain't the Santa Barbara that is developing....

1/22/2008 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Fly on the wall said...

Let's not forget the rumor that Macy's - La Cumbre is rumored to become a Neiman Marcus.

If you think about it La Cumbre is the perfect place for upscale shop clientele. Private property has much more privacy and private security will be much more effective at keeping the paparazzi at bay. Parking is fabulously roomy and abundant.

1/22/2008 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big difference though. Manhattan in an international trade center. Sb just caters to rich vacationers. So I guess the average people will be burning gas going to Santa Maria or Ventura, or will have to shop online to get decent prices.

1/22/2008 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Are we whistling in the graveyard?

"Lenders repossessed 31,676 residences in California in the October-November-December period, according to DataQuick Information Systems, a La Jolla research firm. That was a dramatic 421.2 percent increase from 6,078 in the year-ago quarter."

Good thing our schools are being paid for with home taxes...thanks for proposition 13.

1/22/2008 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Don Jose made a boo boo and messed up on his negative.

I should have said:

"Good thing our schools AREN'T being paid for with home taxes, thanks for passing Proposition 13."

My Apologies...where's my editor anyway!

This whole Neiman Marcus upscale Santa Barbara as Manhattan started with Saks Fifth Ave on State St. which was a bank.
To get SAKS, Dave Davis, the community development czar on city staff worked out a deal that saved them oodles of paying them oodles of money.

I wonder if they are making any money? How are sales tax revenues looking these days? Anybody know?

1/22/2008 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Home taxes pay for only a very small part of our schools. Prop 98 is the big school tax driver; not Prop 13.

1/22/2008 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Greg Knowles and everybody else here in the S.B. area, Apple stores rock!

They want you to stay a L-O-N-G time and play with everything until you're completely satisfied. Apple internal store data has shown that most customers make at least two extended visits prior to an Apple Store purchase.

My son worked at a few of their stores while in college on both coasts and loved the experience, even from an employee standpoint! They are HUGE on the personal experience for all customers, never push, and will answer or find the answer to every question. This place will be packed every hour they're open in Santa Barbara. They even have awesome, free, classes & nightly seminars open to all - no need to be a geek. :-) Have a blast when they open.

1/22/2008 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marin County has an ordinance that does not allow any chain stores. Not even grocery stores.

How about it, Santa Barbara? This would be far better than closing State Street to auto traffic.

1/22/2008 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Travis has this thing about putting in "What do you think of closing State Street?" quizes into all the nooks and crannies of the Newspress about three weeks prior to any discussion of Plaza de la Guerra. Thursday there is a discussion of the Plaza scheduled at the Planning Commission. Look for heated discussions in the NewsSuppress in the next few days. Travis will want to scare us about a closed State Street and the lack of parking...

1/22/2008 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is years too late for SB but not for SYV which hopefully will continue to keep the chains at bay

"Marin County has an ordinance that does not allow any chain stores. Not even grocery stores.
How about it, Santa Barbara? This would be far better than closing State Street to auto traffic."
1/22/2008 7:53 PM

1/22/2008 9:57 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

wineguy -- point well taken. I just look at Bennie, Blow and Smack as a bit more low brow :)

As for Apple -- I'm excited about it as a fan of their computers but there is a bigger picture issue about our city in the larger context.

1/22/2008 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:53 p.m.

What qualifies as a chain? Some successful Santa Barbara businesses have expanded elsewhere, for example, Cajun Kitchen, Presto Pasta and the Natural Cafe.

Should we bar them from their hometown because they're now chains?

And how about Motel 6, which got its start here?

1/22/2008 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep Santa Barbara small:

1. Ban chain stores
2. Ban non-owner occupied SFR/condos
3. Limit height to 2 stories
4. Ban homeless
5. Ban RV parking

Other communities do all these things legally. Why not Santa Barbara?

1/23/2008 7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what really constitutes the demographics of retail customers in 2008 SB?

How many Blogabarans would be steady customers at Tiffany's, Ruth's Chris, Louis Vuitton, or Neiman-Marcus? I'm doubting many others who read or post here are that up-scale, but I could be wrong. And maybe we are completely out of step with the new tastes of the community. After all, a bunch of people actually seem to think that Michelle Giddens is a community spokeswoman.

Me, I'd walk down the mall to Sears now that Eddie Bauer has bitten the dust, but how long can Sears (and the riff-raff Sears customers) last in a Rodeo Drive environment?

1/23/2008 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I belive the chain gang ban is for national chain stores, not mom and pop local multiple location ones like Super Cuca's, which should be on every street corner.

1/23/2008 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drive into Ventura and you see signs banning RVs and now they want two story height limits. Their downtown is full of small locally owned restaurants and businesses.

Is Ventura the new Santa Barbara? What irony.

1/23/2008 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much does a Luis Vuitton salesperson earn?

Why not close off Santa Barbara and charge to enter?
The problem with City Hall is their restrictive thinking.

1/23/2008 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What other communities "ban homeless"? or, for that matter, any of those? As for Marin County banning chain stores: San Rafael in Marin has Whole Foods Market, Trader Joes, Safeway, 7-Elevens, etc., plus a whole slew of chain motels, Holiday Inn, Sheratons.

1/23/2008 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I'd be more likely to shop at the Body Shop over Louis Vuitton, I do have to question the Body Shop's complaint of being ousted in favor of another chain store.
The Body Shop is a chain, a big one, too. One of the defining features of any high street in the UK is a Body Shop, they are everywhere.
Staying loyal to the Plaza when it was a dead zone is also questionable. Perhaps it was the shops there that made it such a dead zone. One step to finding a more profitable solution is by trying something different, not keeping more of the same.

But I do think the Body Shop should gotten longer notice of losing their space. They, and anyone, should be given more professional courtesy. I hope they reopen downtown, I never thought there was a suitable replacement to Garden Botanika after it closed.

1/23/2008 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I err. The smaller communities in Marin County have effectively banned large chain franchises. So can Santa Barbara.

1/23/2008 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are 7 McDonalds in Marin County.

There is a Costco at 300 Vintage Way in Novato in Marin County.

There are 7 Long's Drug Stores in Marin County.

There are at least 8 Safeways in Marin County.

Sorry, there are chain stores in Marin County.

1/23/2008 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the big difference between Ventura and SB is that Ventura does a pretty good job of separating old town from the big box malls. They have encouraged local businesses to stay downtown creating that great, beach town feeling that SB has lost over the years. SB has sold out to the big money interests so now State ST. is simply an extension of Paseo Nuevo, and has lost it's unique character.

How did this happen? For those of us who have watched this town lose it's character over the last 10-15 years, it has been painful to watch. The newbies rant on about their fear of losing SB's character, should there be new affordable housing, but haven't a clue what character is. These folks need to take a short trip and hang out in Ventura for a while, but they probably won't appreciate the funky, beachy atmosphere.

1/23/2008 8:31 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

Um, not for nothing, but wouldn't a ban only be enforceable or able to withstand a legal challenge if such a ban included only NEW chain stores and not existing ones?

It's been a while since I cared, but didn't we here in SB ban topless bars after the 101 Cafe opened up-- except for that one that was already in existence. Same thing, no?

Would be interesting though, to ban an existing store. The Habit (Milpas, Downtown State and Old Town Goleta) would all have to go now that they're corporate. Yes, still retained and managed by the locals, but them things is corporate now.

By the way, every time I've been to Cucas I am far from impressed. Among other things, I don't like ligaments, fat, bones and the rest in my meat. And not much flavor either. I think Cucas is more of a fad among certain folks, like Palazzio (a once great place that is nothing now in terms of food and service). It's not great food to me-- just a 'thing' to people, so they can talk to their friends about how great it is. I haven't been in a few years, so maybe things have changed. Just my opinion.

1/23/2008 9:15 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

Here's something to consider about chain stores.

How many mom-and-pops have anything besides an owner and 20 people making $10 an hour?

Sure that's employment, and employment helps. But only a chain can get you middle management with something more than $20k a year. There's no possibility to move up the ladder, so to speak, with a small owner-operated business. There are the owners making a living (or a killing) and those making peanuts (or chicken feed). That's where the hour-glass economy thing pops up.

Especially when it comes to restaurant and retail, mom-and-pops employ just as many low-wage folks as the chains. This does nothing for our local economy other than to ask for more rental units and more affordable housing-- subsidies for restaurant and retail.

So I'm not sure if mom and pop exclusively are a good thing. They'd never be able to pay much, and they wouldn't have much to offer in the way of managers or higher paid staff. That can have a negative effect on our economy and our community, too.

I'm just bitter. I think the City Council does too much for developers and for housing. But what do they do for local businesses and start-ups in other industries outside of restaurant/retail/tourism/hospitality?

1/23/2008 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Reading Comprehension said...

The "smaller communities in Marin County" means just that, the smaller communities, not anywhere in that whole county.

"Mom and Pop" stores are different in a key way, even though they may have plenty of low wage staff, the money those stores earn stays here and is not sent off to corporate headquarters.

1/23/2008 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well folks, there you have it.

Complaining about State Street getting turned over to the big national chains, and complaining that local mom and pop stores are labor exploitive and pay lousy.

Run with this one, city council. Some people just like to complain. A good issue to let the market have the final decision and not city council social engineering.

1/23/2008 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL!!! I love all the comments praising downtown Ventura! To me it's like driving onto a movie set for some early 1960s retro film of a community frozen in (not so great) time. If you pull over you get strong odors of "old people" smell.

Boy, that's setting the bar high!

No wonder there are people in this town that have elevated NIMBYism to a whole new level. Maybe it will be one of the contests on the "new" American Gladiator before too long.

1/24/2008 1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, Ventura is a close by example. San Luis Obispo has more local flavor as does Carmel. Carmel has always been very upscale, but it is charming and works hard to maintain that charm downtown.

You aren't going to make higher wages at a chain store than a mom and pop store. The help is generally part time and paid minimum wage so no benefits anyway. Whether it is a manager or owner, only the manager of the chain store will make a decent living. 9:29 had it right when they said the big difference is that local ownership keeps the money in town rather than sending it to some coporate headquarters.

I think they also brought up an important point. In the 1970's there were several engineering companies and other light industries that had plants in the SB area. These companies provided good paying jobs. There are very few businesses like that in SB/Goleta anymore. Retail and service businesses do not pay well. That is a fact. Should the recession become serious and tourism lag, what will support this economy? Will State St. and the malls become full of "For Rent" signs once again?

1/24/2008 5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1/22 7:53pm said:

"Marin County has an ordinance that does not allow any chain stores. Not even grocery stores."

In actual fact *MARIN COUNTY* has many chain and grocery stores, as 1/23 7:39pm said:

>There are 7 McDonalds in Marin County.

>There is a Costco at 300 Vintage Way in Novato in Marin County.

>There are 7 Long's Drug Stores in Marin County.

>There are at least 8 Safeways in Marin County.

Sorry, there are chain stores in Marin County.

As for small communities, Mill Valley has a Safeway, Sausalito has an Outback Steak House, but in any case folks in the small communities just drive their global warming machines to the Costco in Novato.

Just like here on the South Coast where all the Santa Barbarans back up the Storke/Glen Annie exit in their zeal to go to Costco.

1/24/2008 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many of these "mom and pop" places provide health coverage and 401Ks for their employees as compared to the chains?

1/24/2008 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What other communities "ban homeless"?

Atlanta did. Right before the Olympics. Got them all out of there with free one-way bus tickets to anywhere in the country. It's kind of funny, because it worked.

1/24/2008 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

San Anselmo has no chains. Nor Ross.

1/25/2008 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fastframe - 805 Sir Francis Drake Blvd (SFDB), #A, San Anselmo

Safeway - 838 SFDB, San Anselmo

Longs Drugs - 880 SFDB, San Anselmo

Great Earth Vitamin - 872 SFDB, San Anselmo

UPS Store - 862 SFDB, San Anselmo

Beauty Store USA - 858 SFDB, San Anselmo

Walgreens - 820 SFDB, San Anselmo

I think San Anselmo has at least 7 chain stores.

Ross is a town with a population of about 2,000, similar to Hope Ranch here. It is a mile or so down the road from San Anselmo.

1/26/2008 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mill Valley - what chains are there? More like Santa Barbara. How about no big box chains.

1/28/2008 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blog a Barbarans are good at noting what kind of stores and experiences are NOT desirable. But, can we define what IS the Santa Barbara experience we want in downtown, shopping, La Cumbre? Is it:
knowing the people who run the store?
making eye contact? Waving hello?
taking your kids to the same places you enjoyed as a kid?
getting a parking spot right in frontof the store you want to go into?
Fresh air?
Seeing the mountains?
What is it?

1/28/2008 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mill Valley has one or two Safeways, a Longs Drug, and some smaller chains. The population of Mill Valley is about 1/7 that of Santa Barbara.

All driving chains out does is cause people to drive to the nearest town with the chains.

Lots of Santa Barbarans and Montecitans drive out to the Goleta Costco.

The best we could do is try to make the environment around the chain store as appealing as possible. One thing is get public transit to/fro the places.

Camino Real promised all sorts of public transit in their EIR, and they reneged on all those promises.

1/28/2008 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any news, as we start to sail into the first part of February, regarding when the Apple Store will be opening? Have they shrouded the old Pier One storefront in black yet, as they always do, while the refurb takes place? Apple is the best when it comes to building excitement & issuing surprises. Any word yet if they'll be handing out the traditional, customized, all black T-shirts celebrating the new store? Thanks for the update!!

1/29/2008 9:52 PM  

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