L.A.-based ICON general contractors and Chicago-based construction company Campus Acquisitions are developing the empty lot on the corner of Trigo Road and Embarcadero del Norte for a new multi-use student housing project.
The property — previously occupied by Mexican restaurant Super Cuca’s — will feature a 6,000 square-foot facility consisting of 21 residential units and three retail spaces with updated safety and technological features and a rooftop patio and gym. ICON is working on a similar project at the University of Southern California and plans to construct a second unit at UCSB in 2012.
According to ICON Company Principal Billy Ruvelson, the project gives students a more modern alternative for housing options near campus.
“It’s a brand-new facility with all the bells and whistles and finishes and fixtures that students want; it’s built specifically for students,” Ruvelson said. “The individual apartments have beautiful, nice modern finishes. It’s an alternative to the stucco box housing common in Isla Vista.”
Ruvelson said the building will offer apartment spaces for up to 63 student residents in the fall of 2012.
“There’s an extreme need for good-quality student housing,” Ruvelson said. “There will be an assortment of apartment options … we will have some affordable units and the rest will be at fair market value. It’s still too early to know exactly.”
The construction companies hosted a “groundbreaking” ceremony earlier this month to celebrate the various local officials, architects, investors as well as others who played a role in the facility’s development.
The ICON facility reflects the construction possibilities created after the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors passed the Isla Vista Master Plan in 2007, according to Ruvelson.
“We’re the third developers who received entitlements since the I.V. Master Plan was passed,” Ruvelson said. “It just shows you can develop in I.V. It’s good because I.V. is definitely in need of some improvement and upgrades.”
Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency official Errin Briggs said the organization assisted developers through the permit processes and collaborated with property owners on the building’s design features.
“They came in with a conceptual design and we either say that we don’t think it’s what I.V. is going for or that we like it,” Briggs said. “We liked the architecture of ICON — the architecture will be contemporary. It won’t look like any building you see in I.V. today — a very new and very progressive look.”
A similar building with 24 residential units and four-unit retail space is also underway on the corners of Pardall Road and Embarcadero del Mar, according to Briggs.
Tim Werner, owner of the Pardall Road/Embarcadero del Mar facility, said the complex will provide students a living space conducive for schoolwork.
“The look is very high-end with stainless appliances, granite counters, colored concrete flooring, lots of glass windows … stone flooring in the bathrooms [and] very modern fixtures,” Werner said. “We’re for the student looking for a place where they will be able to stay focused on studies instead of craziness of roommates.”