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Big Apartment Complex Behind the Towers?

By David Handler, Daily Nexus, April 27, 1972

How would you like to see a jumbo apartment complex right behind Francisco Torres? Or maybe a nice, big, juicy shopping center?

An enormous 58 acre parcel of vacant land on Storke Road has been put up for sale.

The land, owned by the heirs of the late Thomas Storke, is across the street from married student housing and University Village. Its rear boundary runs up to the back of the new married student housing complex fronting on Los Carneros. A chunk of it was sold off a few years ago for the creation of Francisco Torres.

Isla Vista faces a broad and possibly strong, impact from the variety of developments the land may conceivably house.

Ken McKenzie of Coldwell-Banker, who is handling the sale from the real estate company’s Sherman Oaks office, said the land is selling at $30,000 per acre (the entire parcel is assessed by the county at $350,000 — a total market value of roughly $1,400,000).

But the owners, he explained, want to sell the land in 20 acre parcels. Developers can buy 20 acres, 40 or the entire chunk of land.

In addition, the land is zoned for both commercial and residential development.

So, for example, you could easily visualize the land housing a supermarket, a bank, a motel and some apartments. Or it might be bought by developers interested in plotting out a strictly commercial or exclusively residential development.

A shopping center surrounded by married students and within bicycling distance for Isla Vista residents could provide a big set-back to Isla Vista’s businessmen. The high turnover rate of I.V. businesses already is a major point of discussion by planners interested in making I.V. a self-sustaining community.

However, Andy Simpson of the Isla Vista Planning Commission noted that should Isla Vista attempt to incorporate, the proposed boundary includes Francisco Torres. He said that boundary could conceivably be extended to include the future development on the land in question, which would help to provide the tax base needed for incorporation.

Should a large number of student-oriented apartments appear on the property, it could affect the vacancy rate in Isla Vista. If a substantial number of students begin rooting themselves on Storke Road, I.V. property owners would be forced to heighten the attractiveness of their apartments — mainly by lowering rents.

He also is looking over his shoulder to the corner of Storke and Hollister, where Exchange Building Corporation has had a sign advertising their planned shopping center for over two years.

In conferring with Exchange Building, McKenzie learned that their present thinking is for a 10 acre shopping center and about 70 acres of houses.

“That intersection is a better spot for a shopping center,” he contends, which lends strength to the possibility that a low-rise apartment development will appear on at least part of the land.

McKenzie said he would like to come up here and get a feel for what residents in the area would like.

The NEXUS suggested he contact the Isla Vista Planning Commission. Should a public meeting be arranged between McKenzie and those who are planning Isla Vista’s future outlook, it would be [a] very positive step. The hottest political issue in the county is growth by wildcat development.

Developers come to this area from all over the state and build without any knowledge, and often concern, of the wants and needs of the residents.

Public discussion and citizen input on this development before the sale is made and plans are drawn is the best method of having local opinions heard.

What will it be — an apartment complex? A shopping center? Or nothing at all?

Goleta Voice
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