In November 2011, before mural repainting and facade changes. By Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA).

The building at 955 Embarcadero Del Mar, which includes Sweet AlleySushiya ExpressDomino's, and Isla Vista Laundromat, was constructed in 1961 and is one of the oldest commercial buildings in IV.

Historic value

The Isla Vista Master Plan discusses this building (page 22):

"Although no structures 50 years or older were identified within the Downtown area during the field inventory conducted as part of this analysis, the commercial building at 955 Embarcadero Del Mar and several other structures built in the 1960s will likely reach this age at commencement of construction of downtown catalyst sites.

A visual assessment of the commercial building and other structures dating from this period and later indicates that although it does not appear to be architecturally significant based on design, style, construction materials or techniques, it is associated with the first commercial development, businesses, and other services established on the downtown loop that had been designated to cater to resident needs.

Structures built in the 1950s and 1960s could be associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary Isla Vista, or be associated with a particular person important during that time. Therefore, these structures could meet Public Resources Code §5024.1 historic resources criteria A or B, respectively, which would make them eligible for listing as a historical resource."

"Profile of Downtown Isla Vista" by Michel Nellis (1990) says "In 1961, local pharmacist, Phil Quaglino, built the first major commercial development next door to the General Store. This new strip center housed a laundromat, a dry cleaners, a barber shop, and a beauty salon, all separately owned and operated" (page 7). The University General Store was the original name of IV Market.

Early businesses

Isla Vista Pharmacy, 955 F, UCSB 1962 yearbookSweet Alley in April 2015, by Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA). It appears that the spiky plants on the left are still the same plants, or very similar ones.

Ambassador Laundry and Dry Cleaners, 955 B, UCSB 1961 yearbookAmbassador Laundry and Dry Cleaners, 955 B, UCSB 1962 yearbook

Isla Vista Barber Shop, UCSB 1961 yearbook. This business was still around in 1971 according to this Goleta Valley directory.

Facade and mural changes in early 2012

In early 2012, the facade was renovated to add a grey and black surface to the signage area. It previously had a plain white surface behind the signs. This is similar to a renovation of Woodstock's that happened around the same time, done by Acme Architecture (which has done other facade improvements in IV as well, including the IV Food Coop and Chino's). It's unclear if Acme Architecture did this one, but it seems likely. This may have been partly sponsored by the Isla Vista Facade Improvement Program, a county program.

The side of the building, facing Seville, previously had a lovely whale mural painted by artist Joyce Ortner, which she called "Humpback Whale and Baby". It was replaced with a sunflower-faces beach scene when the facade was renovated.

Whale in November 2011, by Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA)Repainted with a beach scene in January or February 2012, along with grey and black facade change. By Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA).Modified to have sunflowers instead of faces, in February 2012. By Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA).

The IV Recreation & Park District has the current mural listed as a wall they would like an artist to repaint, as part of their Mural Project.

See Lost Murals of Isla Vista for other lost murals.