Developers have acquired a neglected building in Goleta with the hope of replacing the weeds and graffiti with new tenants by the end of summer.
On Tuesday, the City of Goleta Design Review Board gave preliminary approval to Sares-Regis Group, an Irvine-based developer, for its plan to refurbish the former Applied Magnetics building. The newly purchased property, located on Hollister Avenue near the Santa Barbara Airport control tower, has been essentially vacant since late 2000, when Applied Magnetics Corp., once a leading magnetic manufacturer, went into bankruptcy. Sares-Regis now awaits the board’s final approval, a decision that could come as early as mid-April. Once approved, it can begin refurbishing the building.
“We are taking the existing building that has been around since the 1960s and making seismic upgrades,” said Steve Fedde, vice president of Sares-Regis. “Our plans include new entrances, window replacements, tree plantings and parking lot renovation.”
DesignARC, the architecture firm that designed Manzanita Village, is working with the developer on the renovations to the Applied Magnetics building. Sares-Regis and DesignARC aim to create a building that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also friendly to the environment.
“We want to refurbish in a manner that is environmentally sensitive, trying to reduce the need for utilities,” Fedde said. “We are planning to put a to put a new roof on the building with skylights that will eliminate the need for artificial light during the day. Our plans also call for the use of re-irrigated rainwater and recycled materials.”
The developer’s entire operation is based on the renewal of old commodities.
“[Sares-Regis] tries to recycle old buildings and give them a competitive edge,” Fedde said.
The Applied Magnetic building was built in 1961, and underwent additional construction in 1973. A number of technological firms have occupied it, including Defense Research Corp., Controlled Data Corp., General Research Corp. and Burroughs Corp. Applied Magnetics began occupying the building in 1982.
The cost of the project has yet to be determined, but Fedde said it will be a multimillion dollar operation.
The Applied Magnetics building is not the only Sares-Regis rehabilitation project in Goleta. In March of 1998, the developer purchased the property formerly known as the Delco-Litton buildings. The property, now called the Cabrillo Business Park, is also undergoing construction and recently received final approval of a new lobby at 6767 Hollister Ave. Among the tenants who will occupy Cabrillo Business Park is DuPont Displays, a company that includes UCSB Professor Alan J. Heeger, a 2000 Nobel laureate in chemistry.
While the current focus remains strictly on construction, Sares-Regis is confident that tenants will be interested once the buildings are refurbished, despite a weak market and the fact that the property has been empty for years.
“The company has several prospects at this point,” Fedde said. “We specialize in this.”