Planning commission approves Pemberton brothers SLO project

July 26, 2015
Josh and Jeremy Pemberton, photo by Noozhawk

Josh and Jeremy Pemberton, photo by Noozhawk

The San Luis Obispo Planning Commission voted 3-1 Wednesday to approve plans to turn the site of the San Luis Obispo Sports Authority into a bowling alley, restaurant and performance site for live music. The goal is to open in late 2015.

Jeremy and Joshua Pemberton, twin brothers, had requested that the 24,500-square-foot space located on the corner of Chorro and Marsh streets stay open to 2 a.m. However, the planning commission denied their request and voted for the proposed facility to close at midnight.

The Planning Commission’s decision is final unless it is appealed to the City Council by Aug. 2.

For the past six months, the brothers have been soliciting investors to fund their project. Nevertheless, owners of restaurants in San Luis Obispo have raised eyebrows over the $5 million cost of the downtown project saying that the amount is much more than should be needed.

The restaurant owners are especially wary considering the Pemberton brothers’ history in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara city staffers reported a number of problems with the Pembertons’ 2009 Music and Arts festival. Twiin Productions failed to pay bills to the city for increased police presence, bounced a check to the city and failed to follow permit requirements and city rules, said Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Director Nancy Rapp.

In 2011, the brothers filed bankruptcy claiming $9,750 in assets and $1,431,201 in liabilities including unpaid wages to employees, clothing expenses, dry-cleaning bills, jewelry store debt and money owed to non-profits.



  1. obispan says:

    It is time for downtown drinking and entertainment business to be specifically taxed for the cost of public safety. They’re living it up like rich South State Street bar owners in S.B. making money hand over drink. Not that long a go frequently only 4 SLO cops would be on duty at night. Kinda the minimum for initial response and back up in an emergency before other agencies arrived. But 12 cops chaperoning the drunken junior-high party in a few blocks of downtown should not be on the residents tab. As to this project; the game is weaseling in a bar in the City’s BS PR “no more bars downtown” charade. And they did it. How much is this politicking worth? $5 million might be on the low side.

    (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
    • mbbizpro says:

      San Luis Obispo is the community that it has become due to Cal Poly. Without Poly, the city, county and business community would be devastated. San Luis Obispo is not facing any challenges that any college town faces. Anyone that believes that the college kids will drink less with fewer bars is sadly mistaken. Limiting the number of bars will only lead to larger bars. Business is not going to miss an opportunity to profit, nor should they. There are plenty of laws on the books to enforce against public drunkenness and to also hold the bar owners accountable for over serving their customers. We don’t need more rules and regulations, just to enforce the current ones. If you don’t think that athe city is benefiting from the sales tax collected, the jobs created and the real estate values (real estate taxes) increased from a thriving downtown you are also mistaken. If the cost of Law Enforcement is your concern, enforce the existing laws. The fines will cover it just fine.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
      • obispan says:

        Fines don’t pay crap towards law enforcement salaries, it’s virtually all general fund revenue. And the argument that SLO owes all to Cal Poly, even if accepted and it is less and less so, was a very different Cal Poly. The argument that cities should forgo quality of life for revenue is fiscally attractive. In which case I argue for a line of highly profitable strip clubs down Higuera happily paying massive city fees and immediately transforming SLO into a world-known destination.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. Casinogal says:

    No wonder they are smiling! They are about to do another Santa Barbara (?).
    I gave up on the City of San Luis long ago. They no longer are the city that should be promoted in Sunset magazine or anywhere else. The great city that was here 10/25 years ago no longer exists. Too much booze and rowdiness going on here now.

    (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
  3. Pelican1 says:

    They sound like a perfect match for SLO. Eventually, they can run for office and represent the the whole community.

    (15) 17 Total Votes - 16 up - 1 down
  4. Mr. Holly says:

    These cities will just about look past anything in order to collect the excessive fees that these projects will generate. How else are they going to justify their pay raises and benefit packages? Remember they all work very hard, are irreplaceable and deserve everything that they get from us the taxpayer.

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  5. fishing village says:

    The planning commission doesn’t have a say when the presenters come with baggage from the past. I guess the City Council will cover all of that?

    (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
    • mbbizpro says:

      Does government have that right? I would think the only thing that the city can do is look at compliance for usage and design. The check and balance is the landlord being willing to give them a lease and being satisfied that they have the ability to perform financially according to the terms of the lease. The investment money will already need to be received (to some extent) to prove the viability to the landlord. An owner of this type of high profile is probably not a neophyte. They will scrutinize this closely before agreeing to a lease. The real risk lies with the investors. If they put money in and this doesn’t go anywhere they risk a lot with the organization expenses, planning, compliance approvals and the living expenses that these guys will take while working through this.

      (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  6. tojofay says:

    I see them claiming bankruptcy again- lets see 2018. ~ 1.5 mil in unpaid bills??? Bet their car payments were made on time.

    (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
  7. hijinks says:

    What’s wrong with this picture: Declare bankruptcy in 2011, raise $5 million for a project that can’t make it in 2015. Surely the world is awash with fool “investors.”

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
    • mbbizpro says:

      We have learned with the local lending scandals that all you have to do is promise a high return and the money floods in from the same people that claim that they didn’t understand the risk when they have had repeatedly invested in similar projects.

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  8. SLOBIRD says:

    As the City cites drinking and bad behavior in its downtown core they turn around and approve more issues and problems involving drinking, mixing underage and overage students, parking problems, etc. The City will lose on this involving parking, drinking, partying, etc. The City gets what it deserves for their party venues!

    You cannot deny the Twiins their permits based in past behavior and losses. Atascadero just went through this with a gym that wants to open, has a terrible reputation and the City said it was against the law to prejudge!

    Unfortunately, you can see what is migrating into this County based on their business reputation. This makes in less than 3 months, 3 businesses, proposing million dollar operations (Developers Ryan Petetit and John Belsher, Pemberton twins, and the Fitness Evolution gym in Atascadero with questionable financial operations. Hold on to your wallets!

    (21) 25 Total Votes - 23 up - 2 down
  9. SamLouis says:

    I think the city council was a little desperate to see that property rented… It’s going to be a bar with a bowling alley on the side…

    (31) 37 Total Votes - 34 up - 3 down
    • hijinks says:

      The Copelands hold the master lease. Chalk it up to those monopolistic thieves of public land that this outfit is coming to town. But, hey, it’s “world class retail space” — just look at the sign in the window that says so!

      (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
      • SamLouis says:

        If it truly was “world class retail space” we would have seen a micro-Nordstrom or something along those lines move in long ago.

        (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
      • obispan says:

        If the Copeland’s desire “world class”, how about a quieter jet? What was”world class” was getting the City of SLO to give them prime downtown property, again!

        (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
    • obispan says:

      Thank you Captain Obvious!

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down

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