This Friday there will be a Santa Barbara County public hearing for a new building proposal in Isla Vista that plans to establish a mixed-use, commercial hotel and residential structure at the current location of Dublin’s bar and Precious Slut tattoo shop.
The meeting will discuss the conceptual review of the mixed use project by The Nest Isla Vista LLC, which would prospectively build 12,513 square feet of commercial space, 8,400 square feet of hotel space and 11,632 square feet of residential space at 910 Embarcadero del Norte. During the hearing, The Nest Isla Vista LLC architect Jeff Shelton will present the building floor plan and hand out booklets outlining the building’s form and function.
According to Associated Students External Vice President for Local Affairs Alex Moore, some students feel as though the The Nest Isla Vista’s latest project proposal is reminiscent of large corporate establishments such as The Loop and ICON, which he said students feel do not fit “the character of Isla Vista.”
“Generally, those properties are incredibly expensive and … I don’t feel like they feel like it fits the price character of Isla Vista,” Moore said. “It’s essentially very, very out of place and not really a part of the Isla Vista students think of when they are talking about their home.” But according to Shelton, a Santa Barbara native and architect for the project, he does not intend to mar the I.V. landscape and instead hopes to model the building with the spirit of I.V. in mind.
“I grew up in this town, so I understand. I was out in I.V. during the bank burning [in 1970] … and I love the I.V. culture,” Shelton said. “Is it going to change ultimately? If it’s well-planned, then yes. If it’s just a commercial job that’s not paying attention to kids, then I am concerned about culture and about IV.”
Shelton also said that while he values the distinct culture inherent in I.V., progress is inevitable.
“In truth, it’s a laid-back kind of little place right now,” Shelton said. “Is it forever going to freeze and stay like that? Nothing usually does freeze. But if it does grow up, hopefully we can keep it fun. I just want the corner to be a great lively corner and not congested.”
Despite what he alleges are widespread student concerns about the massive developmental changes in I.V., Moore said he looks forward to assessing the situation during Friday’s meeting and is staying skeptical to the The Nest Isla Vista’s plans.
“If he says he’s open to collaboration and hearing about students’ needs and student desires for that space, then hopefully we can work with him,” Moore said.
A version of this story appeared on page 3 of Thursday, February 6, 2014′s print edition of the Daily Nexus.