What’s the latest on the Santa Barbara gym build?
SB, Goleta, Carpinteria, Montecito - we can't wait to meet you!
Hello SB friends – we are here with an update! We’ve spent over fifteen years trying to find our way to you, Santa Barbara. We’re excited to finally have this long journey down the 101 see an end . . .
But unfortunately, it’s going to be longer than we anticipated.
Santa Barbara, as you may know, has a lot of challenges when it comes to bringing a business like ours there: limited real estate, landlords with conflicting interests to ours, and permitting and planning challenges that can also make landlords shy of projects like this.
We are grateful to have found a committed partner in this in the Magnolia Center. You’ll be pleased to know that this organization runs a tight ship, is incredibly supportive, and has a lot of amazing green and community-friendly policies you wouldn’t ordinarily know about from visits to the complex.
You may have noticed we have two location signs up. As it turns out, we were not able to secure a deal to keep all amenities in one location, so the next best thing was to provide a 24/7 training area where weights and boards will be, across the parking lot from the main experience.
If you’ve gone by the location, you’ll note that its height is less than ideal, but our landlord has approved our investment in raising the roof as high as we can with Santa Barbara’s restrictions in place. Our minimum height at any location we go into is 35 feet (the SLO location is this high) and our ideal height for turnover and enjoyment is 42.
Unfortunately, the planning department has decided that our particular use of this space will trigger a major conditional use permit that will take at the very least, 6 months to go through, but could take a lot longer (and we expect it to). The only silver lining to this is that we’ll be able to propose the max height of 38.5 feet to them versus an “easier” permit that would limit it to 35 feet.
We’ve reached out to area legislators about the fact that a number of businesses in our complex and similar situations have been flagged for these permits, and that the planning commission has expressed surprise about the need for them, but the issue has not received much traction.
If you are interested in helping businesses like ours move faster, putting pressure on the legislators who set policy for the planning department is the way to go. It is they who approve and direct policy followed by staff. Reach out to those elected officials!
As it is, our estimated timeline for opening looks like this:
- Conditional Use Permit secured – 6-9 months
- Building permits – 6 months
- Construction and roof-raising – 6 months
We are doing everything we can to shorten this timeline and we’ve got a great, experienced team, where, if anyone can do it, they can. But as of this writing, we’re looking at a best-case scenario opening date is late 2024. We know this is disappointing to you (it’s to us, as well) and that leaves a long runway for problems to pop up as they have all along this journey – but please know we are doing our best!