Last summer, the City of Santa Maria announced plans to convert the former Fallas store off Broadway into a new apartment complex. But a recent sign saying “Black Friday, opening soon” now hangs in front of the vacant building, resulting in some confusion from the community.
If the sign has left you wondering whether the plans to transform the building into apartments have been axed, officials with the City of Santa Maria say the Black Friday business that will soon occupy the space, will not be there to stay.
“It will be a commercial retail use, but it is intended to be there temporarily,” said Chuen Ng, City of Santa Maria Community Development Director.
According to the company’s latest Facebook post, the incoming Black Friday store will offer a variety of discount products, but their opening date is still to be determined.
Ng says the temporary business is no different than when a seasonal Halloween store comes into town, adding that Black Friday will operate in the former Fallas building until construction on the apartments begins.
“It will be a Spanish mission-style building; it won’t quite be the square box it is today,” Ng added.
He says the plans for the former Fallas store are a mere component of Santa Maria’s ongoing efforts to give the downtown more of a destination feel.
“When people are working downtown, they play downtown, they eat downtown, people will actually come in from other cities to visit downtown Santa Maria,” said Anthony Burns, general manager of Roscoe’s Kitchen.
“Anything that grows this city and helps the community and lets people see what we have going here. This is a lovely town,” said Karen Lewis, owner of Riverside Ranch Lavender and Pistachios.
Approval of the Fallas conversion project would also call for a relocation of Downtown Fridays and the weekly farmer’s market, but the future sites of those Santa Maria staples remain under consideration.
“People are concerned about getting stuck in some little corner where no one comes. We are excited to stay where people can see us and find us easily and get the advertising up so people can see the wonderful food we have here,” Lewis said.
If the proposal for the 104-unit Heritage Loft apartments passes Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting, Ng says he expects the City Council to vote on the plans this spring. Other additions to downtown Santa Maria are expected in the next five to eight years.
“Change does happen over time, and we want to guide that change so that the revitalization of downtown is something that we want, the community wants, and becomes a destination,” Ng said.
KSBY News reached out to Black Friday for comment on their incoming store but did not hear back.
Along with the plans for the Fallas apartment conversion project, proposals are also in place for several other nearby residential developments.
One of those developments already under construction is a mixed-use 18-unit apartment complex on the northwest corner of Main and Broadway.