SLO Council approves Pemberton brothers’ project
September 16, 2015
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.