SANTA BARBARA, CA – The commercial portions of the Granada Tower at 1216 State St, downtown Santa Barbara’s most visible landmark and site of the historic Granada Theatre, were recently purchased by a local investor. The 15,416 square-foot offering, which included four floors of office space along with roof-level storage and cellular pads, was priced at $10.5 million.
The property was owned by a local investor who tasked Greg Bartholomew and Michael Martz of Hayes Commercial Group with marketing the commercial components of the edifice in 2016. In a separate transaction, the 2,460 square-foot ground floor restaurant space occupied by the Good Lion was sold to the operators of that business in August 2016. The remaining commercial space was just purchased by a local investor, also represented by Bartholomew. The sale included the 3rd through 6th floors of offices, the “9th floor” storage area within the roof structure, and the commercial portion of the rooftop.
Anchoring the arts and entertainment district of downtown Santa Barbara, the Granada is an iconic, eight-story landmark dating back to 1924. The entire building underwent a complete renovation and seismic retrofit that was completed in 2010. After that, the building was divided into condominiums, allowing for portions of the tower to be sold individually.
“It’s not often you get the opportunity to market a piece of Santa Barbara history,” Greg Bartholomew said. “This building’s stature and longevity make it unique, and thanks to the recent renovation it’s also one of the highest quality office assets in our market.”
Not surprisingly, the office floors of the 116-foot structure offer impressive views of the city, ocean and mountains. Financial advisory firms dominate the current tenant list, including Raymond James & Associates, Partnervest Advisory Service, and Peritus Asset Management.
“This was an exciting and challenging project,” Martz said. “The Granada’s prominence attracted a lot of interest, but the offering was for part of the building and involved a condo map. So we had our work cut out for us, educating potential buyers and managing the many details of the transaction.”
History of The Granada Tower
In the early 1920’s, Edward A. Johnson, president of California Theater Company, purchased a lot on State Street for $800. At the time, it was covered with billboards and dilapidated wood buildings, above the main downtown area. He planned to build a half-million dollar structure that would be eight floors high and include a grand motion picture theater.
The proposed Granada Tower was decried as a skyscraper by activists and was largely rejected by the community. City officials, however, welcomed the theater and anticipated it would entice other businesses and patrons to the area. In fact, several restaurants opened up on neighboring blocks during the construction of the theater. Designed by A.B. Rosenthal and built by C.M. Urton, construction on the Granada was completed April 9, 1924.
A year after the project plans were announced, an ordinance was incorporated into the City Charter that prohibited new buildings over 60 ft. tall, leaving the Granada Tower as the tallest edifice in Santa Barbara.
The Granada Tower Today
In the early 2000s, an investor purchased the Granada and separated the tower and theater into two properties. The tower was then divided by floor with a condominium map, and the 7th and 8th floors were sold as residential units.
Starting in the early 2000s, the entire building was completely renovated. It was practically stripped down to the bare structure and rebuilt with all new interiors, systems, roof, and retrofitting. The final product is a like-new, modern building with a classic facade. During the renovation, the floors were divided and zoned as condominiums for individual ownership.
The City of Santa Barbara required the owners to bring the 1924 building into compliance with current seismic safety codes as part of the renovation.
Major construction included a concrete slab foundation, concrete sub-flooring, poured concrete structure, a stucco and stone veneer to the exterior, and a flat/mansard roof with a faux tile covering.
The roof structure was rebuilt with new multiple cellular and other communication pads under a radio frequency transparent roof, a new roof deck, and an equipment well.
Heating and air conditioning was added with 16 HVAC units to service the building. The elevator systems were rebuilt and modernized in 2004.
The Granada Theater Restoration
The Granada Theater was renovated and reopened in March 2008, once major construction was complete on the tower. The restoration included acquiring 13,000 SF of space for the facility, restoring original decorations and appearance, as well as improving backstage areas, the orchestra pit, and the sound systems/acoustics. The theater has been a hallmark of the performing arts in Santa Barbara since 1924. Decorated lavishly with wide staircases, Spanish fixtures, and elegant lounges, theatergoers were dazzled by the grand scale and luxurious details of the theater.