SLO Council approves Pemberton brothers’ project

September 16, 2015
Josh and Jeremy Pemberton, photo by Noozhawk

Josh and Jeremy Pemberton, photo by Noozhawk

Twin brothers Jeremy and Joshua Pemberton have gained permission to open a combination bowling alley, restaurant and concert venue in downtown San Luis Obispo, following a city council ruling Tuesday evening.

The Pembertons are planning to develop a 24,500 square-foot venue at the corner of Chorro and Marsh streets. The location formerly housed Sports Authority.

In July, the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission approved the project on the condition that the business would close at midnight, rather than 2 a.m. Two members of Save Our Downtown then appealed the project, arguing it does not fit the character of downtown and it would create another party place for college students.

On Tuesday, the city council approved the project on a 4-0 vote. Councilman Dan Carpenter recused himself because he owns property in the area.

The council also upheld the planning commission’s ruling that the venue must close at midnight. The Pembertons had appealed the planning commission’s decision in attempt to obtain permission to stay open until 2 a.m.

For much of this year, the Pembertons have been soliciting investors to fund the project, which they say costs $5 million. San Luis Obispo restaurant owners have questioned that amount, saying it is much more than should be needed.

Restaurant owners have also raised questions over the Pemberton brothers’ history in Santa Barbara.

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

Rapp also said the company failed to follow permit requirements and city rules.

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


SLO is changing, in 30 years you will not recognize what you see today. Is it sad? Well perhaps to a degree, but it’s also inevitable. Instead of trying to rope the wind, all you can do is grow the town the best way you know how.


Love that the other restaurants know how much a bowling alley costs. They are trying to compare restaurants to restaurants when saying to much money. Well the racking equipment alone on bowling alleys is VERY EXPENSIVE!! Then the alleys etc. Then you have rest of building.

I suggest the other restaurateurs try building one and then have comment or in meantime stay quite.


We’re looking forward to something fun and new like this in downtown, and happy it’s coming, thank you council and investors. Yes it’s got a bar inside, doesn’t mean you have to be supporting that aspect. Same small group of people complaining about this that we usually hear from. Would you rather another chain brand store opened instead? That’s all that afford that huge space. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said a million times; if you don’t want this-that-and-the-other-thing in downtown, then get and solicit what you DO want to have open, and get them in. Downtown is thriving and better than ever because of the broad array of businesses there now, thanks in part to chain names, and the council being open to all possibilities.