The Isla Vista Façade Improvement Program is a program of the Successor Agency to the former County of Santa Barbara Redevelopment Agency in Isla Vista (website), which is sort of like the Artist Formerly Known as Prince. (California dissolved its redevelopment agency program in 2011.)
As described on the program's former website [no longer a working link]: "The Façade Improvement Program is designed to work in partnership with Isla Vista businesses and commercial property owners to:
- Improve the physical image of Isla Vista;
- Revitalize downtown Isla Vista;
- Stimulate private investment in Isla Vista;
- Make Isla Vista a more attractive place to shop;
- Help improve the bottom line for local businesses.
The Redevelopment Agency will match one to one every dollar privately invested on façade renovation projects in downtown Isla Vista, up to $10,000 per project."
Buildings in IV that have been part of this program
Since being established in 2006, the program has helped fund renovations of the facades for several buildings in IV. This is an incomplete list, and you can add more locations and before-and-after photos!
966 Embarcadero Del Mar
928-938 Embarcadero Del Norte
Current home of Woodstock's, Super Cucas, and Aladdin Cafe. Former home of Little Asia and Javan's. The renovation removed a mural, as described in Lost Murals of Isla Vista. The building at 955 Embarcadero Del Mar had a similar facade change around the same time, although it's not clear if that renovation was also sponsored by the redevelopment project.
948 Embarcadero Del Norte
6530 Pardall Road
Former home of Angry Wings. October 2007 article about renovation (when it was Eclectic I.V., as seen on SantaBarbara.com). See also: photos of it as Chino's Rock & Tacos, which was between Eclectic I.V. and Angry Wings. This is the example on the Facade Improvement Program website.
6558 Pardall Road
Current home of Hana Kitchen. It was renovated when it was Isla Vista Bakery, turned into a new restaurant called Fresh Start that opened in summer 2008 (and closed in early 2010). UCSB students designed and worked on the renovation as part of a class.
The old facade can be seen at SantaBarbara.com, and the renovated facade can be seen on this student website. The renovation is mentioned in this article about UCSB art projects (under "Isla Vista Extreme: Bakery Makeover"). There are more photos on this "Participatory Planning IV website" under "Facade improvement (Downtown IV)" and in this related slideshow about "Participatory research, planning + public art in Isla Vista, CA". There's a short student documentary from 2009 about the project and related issues in IV, including the IV Master Plan.
6575 Seville Road
It's nice for businesses to have decent signage and public art; it helps people feel good about their neighborhood. The quality of these renovations is...uneven, but some of them are great.
The County doesn't have a comprehensive list anywhere online of which businesses have participated in this program (or if it does, I haven't been able to find it yet), and it doesn't have photos online of the renovations other than of Eclectic IV. That makes it harder for residents (and even for business owners) to hear about this program and evaluate whether it's been successful, so hopefully this page can serve as a useful resource.