BUSINESS OF THE MONTH: CAITLIN MCCAHILL
How long have you been in commercial real estate?
Well I started in 2008, so it’s been almost 10 years. I was actually offered an internship at Hayes Commercial Group through my sorority at UCSB and I took it not really knowing much about the business. When I graduated they hired me as their Office Manager, then I got my real estate license, became the Escrow Coordinator for a little while and started getting more involved in deals. Then a couple years ago I decided to take a chance and do full time brokerage- and it’s definitely a challenge, but I really enjoy it!
You have a lot of great stuff going on right now so can you tell us more about the project you have on 530 Chapala and 25 W Cota? Or about the El Centro Building?
The new construction at the corner of Chapala and Cota are the old “Dal Pozzo Tire” and “Hendry’s Blacksmith” buildings. The owner has re-positioned the two properties into office/retail space and they are some of the coolest properties in town. There’s a 7,000 square foot Spanish Mediterranean building and a 14,000 square foot Contemporary Industrial building with a rooftop deck with amazing views. We’re marketing the property for Sale as a leased investment. It’s a fun property to be involved with and see how it has progressed over the past few months of construction- I’m there a few times a week touring potential buyers and every time there’s something new.
El Centro Building is a historic Santa Barbara style office downtown. It’s located in the Presidio district between Marshalls and the Lobero Theater and was built in 1929 (in 90 days according to an old newspaper ad we found!). Its 18,000 square feet with 24 tenants and has some really unique features -for example, there’s a handball court on the top floor. We’re marketing it for sale targeting the value-add investment buyer. It hasn’t been on the market since 1948 and we are in escrow currently.
So obviously there’s a lot going on downtown, do you have any insight as to what is happening on State Street with all the vacancies?
Retail is obviously changing nationally and locally, but there is some good news - Paseo Nuevo is now fully leased except for Macy’s. Some new tenants are 2bella Boutique, PokeCeviche, Yes Dance, Saje Natural Wellness and SB Souvenirs and Apparel. The Downtown Organization hired a consulting firm to give some insight into how to improve the downtown sector and just released that report, so change is hopefully in the works. The report details different types of uses they’d recommend, adding some more residential on State Street, dealing with the homeless issue, more community events, etc.
Funk zone development, can you tell us anything exciting or new you know about over there?
The Hotel Californian is obviously big news in the Funk Zone area. It has 121 new rooms and will have some commercial components as well. So far, I’ve heard they’ve leased space to a confidential local winery, McConnells Ice Cream, and a restaurant called Finneys Crafthouse out of Westlake which I’m excited about. In other Funk Zone news, Blue Water Grill will be opening at the Lighthouse property soon where Rusty’s Pizza was. Impact Hub just opened another 10,000 square foot co-working space near Figueroa Mountain. The Museum of Contemporary Arts bought a parcel on Anacapa and will build a new museum there. Down the way a little, Cabrillo Bathhouse will be undergoing a major renovation at the end of the year and the restaurant space (East Beach Grill) is now for lease. Lots going on!
What do you enjoy most about commercial real estate?
My clients become friends and my friends become clients in a small town like SB! I’m constantly meeting new people and business owners or investors with really interesting backgrounds. Also, I’m always out and about in beautiful SB and get to tour properties I’ve always been curious about. It can be high stress at times, but it’s also high-energy and there’s always something new to learn.