A six-story building proposed for a narrow strip of land between a Santa Maria Town Center mall parking structure and Cook Street would bring 104 apartments and a business in another addition aimed at transforming downtown Santa Maria.
The Santa Maria Planning Commission on Wednesday voted 3-0 to approve the Cook Street Apartments. Commissioner Yasameen Mohajer abstained, while Commissioner Robert Dickerson was absent.
Santa Maria Valley father-son developers Burt and Mark Fugate applied to construct a 54,590-square-foot, six-story building with 104 apartment units and 2,100 square feet of ground-floor commercial space on a 0.44-acre site on the 200 block of East Cook Street.
“The design and everything, I think, looks great. I think it’s going to be a huge asset to the downtown development and this area in general,” Commissioner Esau Blanco said.
“This is a wonderful use of the property we have here downtown, and it’s a great infill project. The builders are local guys, and they build an excellent product,” chairman Tim Seifert said. “It’s a great use for the property. I think it’s going to be helpful for downtown. It’s going to help our numbers as far as housing. I think it hits all the things we’re looking at for this area, and I’m excited to see it.”
The project, designed by architect Murray Duncan of Santa Barbara, would employ Spanish/Mission/Revival style and include a decorative tower.
Pedestrian bridges would link the apartment building to the existing parking structure.
Apartments would involve a mix — mostly one-bedroom units but also studio lofts and two-bedroom units. The building also would include two elevators, trash chutes, a community room, an exercise room and a terrace plus a laundry facility on each level.
The restaurant space, about 2,100 square feet, would be created on the ground floor at the west end of the building, near the corner of McClelland and Cook streets. The entrance would include a porte-cochère, or area for vehicles to pass through near the front of the eatery.
The project would use some city-owned land previously deemed surplus. The developers still need to formally obtain a 0.25-acre from the city.
Additionally, the project would rely on the city-owned parking structure to satisfy the majority of the parking requirements.
In addition to serving the mall and offices along Miller Street, the parking structure also serves the Santa Maria Court Complex on the south side of Cook Street.
A Disposition and Development Agreement between the city and the applicants still needs to be negotiated and eventually approved by the council.
The Cook Street project is the third multistory mixed-use building amid efforts to revive downtown Santa Maria by bringing more people to the area.
“This is a just a great location,” Brian Schwartz of Urban Planning Concepts said.
The Gateway mixed-use project is under construction at the northwest corner of Main Street and Broadway. The three-story building will have 18 apartments on the upper levels and retail space on the ground level.
The six-story Alvin Newton Apartments with businesses on the ground level and apartments on the upper levels has been approved for the southeast corner of Main Street and Broadway. The 75,340-square-foot building will have 82 apartment units and feature a relocated and expanded memorial to fallen firefighter Alvin Newton.
Additionally, the former Mervyn’s department store building (and later Fallas) will be converted into 104 loft apartments in a project built by The Vernon Group.