Starbucks eyeing former Los Osos bank building
August 13, 2015
By John Lindt, publisher of Sierra2theSea
Los Osos largest shopping center changed hands in July and the new owners hope to “livin up” the center according to Clayton Gambril of family-owned Gambril Development Inc.
The Gambrils purchased the center from a partnership associated with the Williams Brothers. The 94,000 square foot retail center has a number of shop-size vacancies to fill – the largest being the former Bank of America building.
“We hope to encourage the community to see this center as their own” making it ” more bike and pedestrian friendly and having more outdoor seating,” Clayton Gambril said
The SLO-based family is toying with a new name for the shopping center, to emphasize it as a gathering place – Los Osos Central is one option, says Clayton.
The multi-generation Gambril group also own Pismo Coast Plaza shopping center anchored by California Fresh Market.
Already the Gambrils are working on sprucing up the LOVR center improving the outdoor lighting and with plans to reduce the center’s water footprint. In addition, the family also purchased the large lot next to Haggen grocery store for future development.
The new owners won’t have to wait long to interface with Los Osos residents with plans by Starbucks to lease the long-vacant former Bank of America building that includes the drive-thru, to relocate to.
County planner Kerry Brown says a staff analysis of an application from the shopping center would allow Starbucks to use the approvals that McDonalds secured from the county in 2014 before they decided not to move forward in 2015.
“We found the application in substantial conformity with the McDonalds application,” Brown said. So that Starbucks would need only a building permit to get started. The county did turn down a request by the big coffee retailer to offer sandwiches at this location. Starbucks move would gain a more visible location with improved access, a drive-thru and more space than they have currently down the block.
But that county staff decision has been appealed by Julie Tacker, a Los Osos activist, and the matter will go the SLO County Planning Commission August 27, Brown said. If that decision is appealed, it would go the SLO County Board of Supervisors like McDonalds did.
Tacker’s appeal asserts that there is inadequate water in Los Osos to supply the restaurant and that water calculations by the applicant “supplied inaccurate information” to the county.
A number of concerns are likely to surface as they did in the McDonalds controversy including parking, use of a drive-thru, water and whether the community should welcome chain-type eateries – although the coffee giant is already there.
Gambril says they plan to offer more outdoor seating not just at a new Starbucks but in front of Carlock’s Bakery as well and new bike racks in front of the gym.
Today, the Los Osos center is anchored by Haggens, Rite Aid and Miners. The market was a former Vons which in turn had bought out 19 Williams Bros stores in 1992 although the Williams Bros retained the property in this case, until sold last month.
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