Cantwell Market housing project gets positive reception, but neighbors raise concerns about rise | local news

A three- and four-story rental housing project is moving forward at the Cantwell’s Market & Deli site on the corner of State and Arrellaga streets near downtown Santa Barbara.

The 27-apartment project at 1533 State St. remains open. In the early stages of the planning process. Cantwell is open for business, and a smaller version of the neighborhood market will remain once the complex is completed.

The project includes 15 one-bedroom apartments and 12 two-bedroom apartments, along with 34 parking spaces, 26 of which are in the basement.

The housing and market development went before the Planning Commission on Thursday for concept review. The feedback was mostly positive, despite concerns expressed by some neighbors.

“This is going to be a very exciting project,” Commissioner Leslie Wiscomb said.

Jay Blatter, principal of Hochhauser Blatter Associates Architecture & Planning, designed the project on behalf of property owner Pradeep Shastri. The applicant is McGeever LLC.

Commissioner Devon Wardlaw led the discussion, saying she liked the project but wished it included more affordable housing.

“I think this is an excellent location,” she said.

Wardlaw said she likes the use of the corner lot and outdoor dining, and that the design will enhance the neighborhood.

However, it suggested that the developer create more units at below-market prices.

“I think the project doesn’t fall into that category very much,” Wardlow said.

She said she does not want a larger building, but instead to increase the number of affordable units among the proposed 27.

Blatter said more units would require larger buildings and added that he wanted to be sensitive to neighborhood concerns.

“It would be 10%, sorry,” he said of the percentage of below-market units.

The Cantwell's Market & Deli project calls for 15 one-bedroom apartments and 12 two-bedroom units, along with 34 parking spaces, most of which will be in the new basement.  (View Hochhauser Blatter Associates Architecture and Planning)
The Cantwell’s Market & Deli project calls for 15 one-bedroom apartments and 12 two-bedroom units, along with 34 parking spaces, most of which will be in the new basement. (View Hochhauser Blatter Associates Architecture and Planning)

A few residents spoke at the meeting and expressed concerns about the size of the project.

“It dwarfs the entire neighborhood, and it even dwarfs the hotel across the street,” said Kirston Corson, a property owner on Arrillaga Street, referring to the Courtyard by Marriott at 1601 State St. Louis.

“This is going to last a long time and change the whole tone of this part of State Street.”

Another neighbor, Patti Vicki, said the design was “overwhelming” and “overpowering” without consideration for the neighborhood.

“In the situation it is now, it is not possible for the residents of Plaza Linda Vista to live a good life,” she said. “I don’t want to open my door and see three floors.”

Wardlaw was sympathetic but focused more on affordability.

“Although I understand the neighbors’ concerns and their willingness and desire to keep the neighborhood the way it is, I completely understand that views will be affected and that saddens me,” she said.

“But I find that this development is consistent with our need to create more housing.”

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