Santa Barbara, CA – Once a retail anchor housing Macy’s in Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center, 701 State Street—now named the Ortega Building—is being repositioned by owner Pacific Retail Capital Partners as office space.
The three-story, 132,500 square-foot building will provide the largest office floor plates in downtown Santa Barbara, with more than 40,000 SF on each level, and half-floor suites in the 20,000 SF range will be possible. This presents a unique opportunity for large tenants to locate in the very heart of the central business district.
Prominently overlooking the corner of State and Ortega Streets, the building is ideally situated for companies seeking a coastal city lifestyle to attract talent and shape their company culture. The structure is part of the 450,000 square-foot Paseo Nuevo shopping center, which has just completed a $20+ million renovation. Nearby food and drink options abound, in addition to arts, shopping, and of course the beach just seven blocks away. Tenants will also be able to rent parking spaces on site in the Paseo Nuevo garage.
Greg Bartholomew, Francois DeJohn and Steve Hayes of Hayes Commercial Group will market the office space on behalf of Pacific Retail. The ground floor is simultaneously being marketed to retail, restaurant, and grocery tenants, and the building is expected to accommodate a mix of commercial uses.
“Downtown Santa Barbara has become a focal point for tech tenants during the past ten years,” Bartholomew said, “with companies like Amazon, Honey, Sonos, and Invoca leasing large office spaces along the State Street corridor.”
“Frankly, there aren’t a lot of tenants in our area looking for 20,000 or 40,000 square feet of office,” DeJohn said, “so we are marketing to companies in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and beyond to consider adding an office location in Santa Barbara.”
Macy’s occupied 701 State Street from the time Paseo Nuevo was built in the early 1990s until 2017. Pacific Retail, which already owned most of the center, acquired the vacant building in 2018. There has been a growing interest in developing residential units in the CBD, but Pacific Retail’s architects determined the Ortega Building is not suitable for conversion to apartments or condos.
“Office is the ‘highest and best use’ for the building, especially the upper two floors,” Bartholomew said. “State Street has more than enough retail space already, and bringing potentially hundreds of office workers to this location every day would really help vitalize the area.”
The Ortega Building, along with the majority of Paseo Nuevo, is owned and operated by Pacific Retail, headquartered in El Segundo, California, with more than $3 billion in assets currently under management nationwide.
“This is an exciting project to work on because there is nothing like it on the South Coast,” Hayes said. “It has the potential to infuse significant business energy and a bunch of high-quality jobs into the center of downtown, which will benefit the community.”