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.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


You’d be an idiot to invest in these guys, and this project.

Well, you just qualified most members of the SLO Council! The only guy with any sense had recused himself, so the remaining fools went wild!

Your tax dollars at work. We do indeed get the government we deserve.

Remember when “The Library” opened? The proto “Internet bar”? This is exactly like that — an excuse to peddle more alcohol, albeit on a much larger scale.

Appeal and public comment a waste of time with the current City Council. Everything was worked out by their staff with the applicant before the project became public. There is no quality of life or future of SLO discussion; it has been decided that it will become Santa Barbara, and oddly enough to profit people from Santa Barbara. But current residents will pay for 80% of the cost of water for “reliability”, not development, per Ken Hampion and Bill Stadler, who said exactly that. However our City Council reversed policy and rescinded the voter enacted water reserve. The housing developments at the south end of town are being subsidized $100,000/house so as to “more affordable”. A house in SLO sells for full market value, and there is no building your way to more affordable housing in SLO than in Santa Barbara. The $100,000 goes straight into Gary Grossman’s pocket, and a small part from his pocket to elect City Council of his choosing. There needs to be a door-to-door Jim Hill-style revolution in SLO.

I can only imagine that the bowling alley was an afterthought to get another bar pushed into that little drunk block area. More and more kids will get messed up as our taxes increase due to a need for more of a police presence.

It is just like the Library when it opened it had books and computers for the internet (and PR). All that went away to make room for more drinking and dancing.

I give the bowling alleys 12 months, before it get’s replaced by more seating for more drinking.

It likely will done in at least two steps, since I understand the bowling alleys are on two levels, I’d guess the mezzanine level will be the first section to be close and then quietly be changed over to a bar-like area and if someone complains or there is not enough money to buy the council again, they will possibly claim some sort of mechanical issue with the bowling alley equipment. But if all is quiet a short time later the other level of lanes will transform too, and mechanical issues may be used as an excuse. I wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t start in just 6 months, that is if this project ever actually gets built, and if the investor money for this project doesn’t somehow mysteriously disappear or bankruptcy isn’t filed along the way.

The K-boys nailed it. Black Sheep can serve hard liquor because it serves “food” during those hours. A friend of mine showed up there to meet us and hadn’t the opportunity to take lunch and was starving on arrival. Sauce on pasta, $14 (ten years ago). Cold sauce on overcooked pasta. We found out from someone who knew that they were actually annoyed when people ordered food. The infamous Mustang Tavern got it’s liquor license by putting in a small kitchen, the patrons of the Mustang Tavern known more for not eating than eating if you catch my drift. This place is going to be a straight up bar, they’re not paying the rent with burgers and brew. How did they pull it off? Copeland’s/Jan Marx. Done deal.

I’d have so many contingencies if I was going to invest with these 2 … how much of that $5 million is going to their salaries and lifestyle?

And if you want a decent return for the risk, a 10% return would be a $500,000 profit per year? In a college town?

But you’d still invest with them?

Don’t forget, they need some money for the campaign contributions, just like Grossman, grease the palms of power.

with this history, how could the council approve this project? Were the debts paid off????

Campaign donations will buy you anything in SLO County.

It has been that way since the beginning,welcome to the days of Marx:

“Just days before the Nov. 7 election, it was Marx who was tasked with publishing an apology on behalf of the CCLC following a deceptive mailer that resulted in criticism from the media and the San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorder. The campaign mailed out absentee ballot applications to potential voters, which appeared to show that the County Clerk Recorder was in favor of “No on J.”

The campaign apologized for their “inadvertent error” through a correction that Marx personally published in The Tribune, records show.

The FPPC investigation report says that for four months in 2005 the Copelands donated office space to the committee without disclosures by the campaign as required by law.

When asked about the failure to report the donation of office space from the Copelands, Marx said, “I don’t think we had an office. We met in each others’ homes.

“We were a grassroots group.”

In 2006, while a Copeland-owned building on Monterey Street served as the CCLC campaign headquarters, the local media began writing about the group’s failure to properly report the office space donation.”

I guess donations were made to the “right” campaign funds.

This approval is typical of the current city council == the best council developer money can buy.