Part of Santa Barbara’s Granada Tower Goes Up For Sale

Part of the tallest building in Santa Barbara is now up for sale, with the owner of the Granada Tower hoping to parcel off four of the eight-story building’s floors and more with an asking price starting at $11,575,000. The floors — three through six — have been dedicated office space for decades.

In the early 2000s, a local investor bought the Granada Tower and separated the tower and the Granada Theatre into two properties, according to Hayes Commercial Group, which is handling the listing.

The offering totaling 17,876 square feet also contains the ground floor retail space leased by the Good Lion, the basement, the tower lobby, rooftop storage and a rooftop AT&T cell tower, according to the listing for 1212-1216 State Street.

Floors seven and eight of the 92-year-old tower building were sold as two separate residential units and are not part of the sale, said Michael Martz and Greg Bartholomew, the Hayes Commercial Group partners in charge of the sale.

The tower owner, whose name was not disclosed, hopes to sell the property to another local investor or an owner-user, who might want to convert the sixth floor office space into another residential unit through proper city planning channels, Bartholomew said.

He said the sixth floor is currently leased by the law firm Oxton Staab Gans, which has been inside the Granada Tower for more than 25 years. The firm’s lease is up at the end of January.

“The views for the fifth and sixth (floors) are phenomenal,” Bartholomew said.

Each of the four floors for sale includes 3,528 square feet of office space, Martz said, and each is occupied by a single tenant, including asset management firms Partnervest Financial Group (third floor), Peritus Asset Management (fourth floor) and Raymond James & Associates (fifth floor).

Those tenants moved into the Granada Tower after it was renovated in 2010 with all new building systems, interiors, common areas and a full seismic retrofit.

Martz said the balance of the building is controlled by the Granada Theatre, which occupies the ground and second floors, and offers year-round performances in music, dance, comedy and more.

The iconic Santa Barbara landmark was built in 1924 to the chagrin of many locals.

Edward A. Johnson, who was president of the California Theater Company, bought the State Street lot — at the time covered with billboards and old wood buildings — in the early 1920s for $800, according to Hayes.

He planned to build a half-million-dollar structure eight stories high, featuring a grand motion picture theater, but locals saw the proposed 119 foot-tall Granada Tower as an unwelcome skyscraper.

Despite pleas from the public, city officials allowed the theater to move forward as a way to attract surrounding businesses. A.B. Rosenthal provided the design, and C.M. Upton completed the building on April 9, 1924.

The Granada Tower has been able to remain the tallest building in the city because Santa Barbara incorporated an ordinance into its charter prohibiting new buildings over 60 feet tall a year after plans to build it were announced.

Martz said Hayes is already receiving a lot of interest in the property listing, which went up last week.

“They’re beautiful floors,” he said. “It is a complicated property, so I think it’s going to take the right sophisticated property owner.”