PacBiz Times: Santa Barbara Public Market sold to local buyer

With goals of bringing new energy and some new investments, two local families have purchased the Santa Barbara Public Market and an adjacent space in downtown Santa Barbara.

The market at 38 W. Victoria St., a collection of food-counter-style restaurants, sold for $7.65 million and the vacant commercial condo at 28 W. Victoria St. sold for $2.25 million. A liquor license was transferred with the sale, so the grand total of the investment was more than $10 million.

The market and vacant property adjacent to the food hall came under new ownership in late December. Francois DeJohn, partner and founder of Hayes Commercial Group, represented the buyer, the Winn and Twining families.

The Santa Barbara Public Market property was not on the market, DeJohn said, but his partners Rob Adams and Michael Martz of Hayes had 28 W. Victoria St., a 4,000-square-foot space between the market and Sotheby’s Realty, available for sale.

DeJohn said he was working with the Winn and Twining families to find a new property for them to purchase.

“One thing led to another and we came across this opportunity,” DeJohn said. “We’re all going to be lucky that they own it because it’s going to get even better.”

The family partnership consists of Ralph Alastair Winn and his wife, Ann Winn, as well as Travis Twining and his wife, Amanda Twining, and their 16-year-old daughter. They have hosted several charity events at the Winn-Twining estate in Montecito, including gatherings for local nonprofits One805 and Gwendolyn Strong Foundation.

Alastair Winn and Travis Twining are partners on most of their real estate transactions, which stretch from Santa Paula to Atascadero.

“A lot of people love to have a beer and go to their favorite restaurants in the public market, but we saw some vacancy that was currently in the market and some opportunity for some fresh new ideas,” Travis Twining, managing partner of the family trust, told the Business Times.

The new owners plan to fill the vacant spots with what the community wants, so it can be “more of a community meeting place rather than your standard market,” Twining said.

The market is a two-story property with food and beverage tenants across 15,000 square feet on the ground level, and includes a 5,000-square-foot basement. It opened in 2014.

The 28 W. Victoria St. property is an empty shell for now, but the new ownership has concept ideas that feature a “fun atmosphere.”

“We’re exploring the idea of making that maybe a private club with an event center,” Twining said.

The market neighbors luxury condo units in a residential complex and local landmarks like The Arlington Theatre and the Granada Theatre. The Victoria Street site was a public market in the 1920s, before becoming a Safeway and then a Vons. Developer Marge Cafarelli, the founder and managing partner of real estate investment and development company Urban Developments, purchased the property in 2008, and the next year, Vons pulled the plug on the store.