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."

The Redevelopment Agency's reports from 20072007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 include financial details about the facade program.

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

Current home of Naan Stop. This building did facade improvements in 2010. You can see the older facade in these photos at

Before: March 2003, by Ryosuke Yagi (CC BY)Before: Undated photo by SantaBarbara.comAfter: November 2014, by Jay Freeman (CC BY-SA)

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 VistaThe 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.

Before: February 2009, by Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA)After: During renovation, September 2011, by Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA)After: November 2014, by Jay Freeman (CC BY-SA)

948 Embarcadero Del Norte

Current home of CajeBefore: photo from 2005, when it was a laundromat.

Before: April 2005, by Dos (twoinstincts)After: March 2010, by Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA)

6530 Pardall Road

Former home of Angry WingsOctober 2007 article about renovation (when it was Eclectic I.V., as seen on 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.

Before: Undated photo by SantaBarbara.comAfter (including some subsequent improvements): April 2013, by markbrocher (CC BY-NC)

6558 Pardall Road

Current home of Hana KitchenIt 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, and the renovated facade can be seen on this student websiteThe 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.

Before: Undated photo from SantaBarbara.comAfter (including some subsequent improvements): November 2014, by Jay Freeman (CC BY-SA)

6575 Seville Road

Current home of Isla Vista Food CoopOctober 2010 Independent article and Nexus article about renovation.

Before: May 2006, by Rockero (public domain)After: February 2015, by Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA)


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.