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Local Builders Focus on Efficiency



Isla Vista property owners St. George and Associates contracted architectural firm Shubin + Donaldson to construct a 52,700-square-foot development on 870 Camino Del Sur.

The project features five buildings arranged around a communal outdoor courtyard. The 56 separate energy-efficient units will range from 550-square-foot one-bedroom apartments to 1,050-square-foot three-bedroom spaces.

Robin Donaldson, a UCSB alum and co-owner of Shubin + Donaldson, said construction is expected to be completed and available to lease by Fall Quarter this year.

“We have just started work on it recently; the development is not university affiliated and should be done in time for Fall 2012,” Donaldson said. “I believe they are hoping to lease them in time for the school year.”

The development is the newest of several modern housing projects under construction in I.V.

Fourth-year biopsychology major John Koopman said the project could face competition from similar housing options under development in the area.

“That car sharing program sounds like a pretty intelligent thing to do, but I feel like some of the other things, like the perforated metal skin covering the building, do not serve much of a purpose and seems like just a flashy thing to add on,” Koopman said. “With the number of perks they seem to be offering it sounds like it is going to be pretty expensive. What Isla Vista needs is not more expensive housing, it is more affordable housing.”

St. George and Associates aims to encourage responsible energy practices with rental discounts to hybrid vehicle owners, utility bill reduction programs and a car sharing service featuring four cars provided to residents.

Computer science graduate student Saeed Mahani said some of its features are important to help preserve the environment.

“I like that they thought to put in covered bike racks, though; that is definitely something that there is not enough of in I.V.,” Mahani said. “And the utility bill elimination program certainly sounds very interesting. I think that could have a lot of potential.”

However, Mahani said the contemporary architecture could wash away the locale’s laidback atmosphere.

“With the new ICON housing popping up at the end of the loop and on Seville, and now this one too, it feels like there are a lot of big complexes being built. I hope there are not going to be too many of them in the future,” Mahani said. “Isla Vista has a very special beach town vibe, with all the beachy houses and bungalows, and none of these new places seem to fit into that. I would hate to see that disappear.”

Concept designs are available at www.shubinanddonaldson.com/iv-university-housing/.

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