Renoviction Battle in Isla Vista: CBC & The Sweeps Remains a Ghost Town Amidst Legal Twist


Houston Sasselli

News Editor

CBC & The Sweeps, an apartment complex in Isla Vista (I.V.), has continued to face a housing crisis since the property was bought for $91 million by Core Spaces, a Chicago-based developer. The company’s plan involved massive renovations, triggering a mass eviction back in March 2023.

The tenants, a mix of students, families, and Section 8 residents, were caught off guard by the 60-day eviction notices. The move, deemed a “code red” housing emergency, sparked immediate protests and action from the Core Spaces Tenant Association (CSTA). The saga reached a perplexing stalemate in December, when the Santa Barbara Superior Court deemed eviction notices insufficient, prompting a temporary victory that now appears to have been too costly as landlords issue corrected termination notices.

Attorney Lacy Taylor of Thyne Taylor Fox Howard revealed that about six unlawful detainer cases were dismissed, leading the new owners to opt for a restart rather than an appeal. Taylor explained that the appeal process would be more time-consuming than issuing new notices, emphasizing the practicality of this decision. Interestingly, no rent has been collected since eviction proceedings began, as accepting rent could imply tenants’ right to remain. Instead, landlords are enticing remaining tenants to vacate by offering a substantial sum of money, including rent waivers and other incentives.

As the legal battles unfold, Stanley Tzankov, a member of the Santa Barbara Tenants Union, paints a vivid picture of the aftermath. What was once a thriving community on El Colegio, the main road to UC Santa Barbara, now stands eerily empty as self-evicted tenants make way for contractors. Tzankov’s visit to the four buildings in January revealed a stark reality — out of 166 units, approximately 146 were uninhabited or undergoing construction, while 20 appeared occupied or were ready for occupancy. The Sweeps was being transformed by the new owners. 

The heart of the issue lies in Core Spaces. Specializing in converting existing buildings into upscale college apartments, Core Spaces faced resistance from tenants who fought to retain their apartments. With prices around $2,000 for a one-bedroom, this has been considered reasonably priced for I.V. housing. The battle took a legal turn when Core Spaces applied for permits, signaling an intent to transform the property into expensive, by-the-bed student-only housing. Santa Barbara County is reviewing permits to replace windows and renovate various elements for the conversion of around 10 apartments into study, fitness, and club rooms.

A critical point of contention arose in the interpretation of laws governing eviction for substantial renovation. The county’s urgency law, passed this summer, mandated that eviction notices must describe renovations, provide permit copies, and allow tenants to return after completion. However, the court, guided by California’s no-fault eviction laws, focused on the absence of specific work details in the original notices. Taylor expressed disagreement with the court’s decision, deeming it a stretch and inconsistent with prior rulings.

The legal intricacies continued, with the confidentiality of eviction cases complicating matters. Taylor noted the impracticality of appealing without a record, necessitating an Ex Parte application for access to the court’s ruling. The Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, who represented tenants, remained tight-lipped on the ruling, underscoring the confidential nature of eviction proceedings.

As the saga unfolds, CBC & The Sweeps remains a symbol of the broader challenges communities face when corporate interests clash with tenant rights. It isn’t the first time that tenants have been evicted by the choice of the property owner, and it isn’t the first time that rent has been so high it is nearly unaffordable to pay. The Bottom Line newspaper began covering this issue in 2006 by following a series of tenant evictions in I.V., and those concerns of a housing crisis continue on today. What the residents of I.V. are still searching for is hope that one day it might just get better. The future of I.V.’s housing crisis remains uncertain as the renovation saga continues to unfold, leaving its indelible mark on the town’s history.


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