Villas at Olive Mill
Nearly 15 years after first submitting an application to build, developer John Price, along with his wife, Janna, and business partners Audrey and Tod Berlinger, are getting ready to welcome over one hundred members of the community to a grand opening celebration at their brand new mixed-use building on the corner of Coast Village Road and Olive Mill Road. “To say I’m excited about completing this building is an understatement,” Price said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
The Villas at Olive Mill is located on the corner property once home to a 76 gas station, which closed and was later demolished in 2016. The project consists of a three-story, mixed-use building with 4,800 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 13,795 square feet of residential space on the second and third floors.
The residential component includes two three-bedroom units, and three two-bedroom units, one of which has already sold and one which is in escrow. All the residential units have private garages within the subterranean parking structure, which also includes over 20 spaces for the commercial tenants. The luxurious units were interiorly designed by Chris Moore, who “brought them to life,” Price said. With high-end finishes, unique floor plans, state-of-the art fixtures and appliances, and thoughtful outdoor spaces boasting mountain views, Price says the condos are unlike anything in the area.
During a private tour of the almost-finished building earlier this week, new commercial tenants Folded Hills wine tasting room, Village Properties real estate, and Heather James Fine Art were busy putting the finishing touches on their respective spaces; one commercial space remains available for lease. “I want to find a fourth tenant who is a good fit for the building as well as the street as a whole,” Price said.
The Spanish-colonial style building was designed by Jeff Gorrell of Lenvik & Minor Architects, and underwent numerous iterations in the last 15 years after much scrutiny from the community. The plans were originally approved by the Santa Barbara City Planning Commission in March 2008; they were then appealed to the City Council, which approved the project, with conditions, in July 2008. In addition to a Local Coastal Plan Amendment, Coastal Development Permit, and plan approvals, the project required a zone change and zoning modifications. Following the City Council approval, over five years was spent in litigation brought by a group of neighbors and opponents, who felt the building created a sort of “canyonization” on the east end of Coast Village Road. The group opposed the size, bulk, and scale of the project, as well as the building’s impact on mountain views, and unsuccessfully brought suit against the City and the California Coastal Commission, and then appealed both of those decisions. During that time, the project’s approval, which would normally expire in five years, was put on hold while the lawsuits were sorted out. Following that, design work continued, and the apparent bulk of the building was decreased and further revised with the help of the City’s Architectural Board of Review. The original plans called for eight residential units, which was cut down to six, and then to five.
The private grand opening for the building takes place this Thursday, and Heather James Fine Art, the latest in a network of galleries located throughout the country, will also hold an opening celebration. The gallery announced the appointment of Tom Venditti as Director for its new gallery; he will oversee operations, exhibitions, and programming for the 2,000 square-foot gallery.
Tom, along with staff and Heather James Fine Art co-owners James Carona and Heather Sacre, will be on hand to mark the opening of the gallery, which will feature works of art by pre-eminent artists such as Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Salvador Dalí, Joan Mitchell, Richard Diebenkorn, and David Hockney, among others. The gallery will also collaborate closely with local museums, and other cultural and non-profit institutions.