SLO proposed 75-foot-high project scrapped

May 4, 2016
Courtesy of RRM Design

Courtesy of RRM Design



Developers Nick Tompkins, Andrew Firestone and Jess Parker have withdrawn their plans to build a 75-foot high development in San Luis Obispo that would have included an 80-room hotel, residential units, offices, retail space and a public plaza.

Tompkins had approval for two 5,000 square foot commercial buildings at the corner of Monterey and Santa Rosa streets, the location of a former Shell service station. But the three developers proposed a change, and multiple residents voiced their concerns regarding height and water usage.

“Several concerned residents and I are absolutely overjoyed that Andrew Firestone and Jess Parker have terminated their participation on this project,” Mila Vujovich-LaBarre said. “The previous design was inconsistent with the neighborhood character, blocked views of our precious foothills, and would have set a dangerous precedent for future development from Santa Rosa Street north to the Apple Farm Restaurant.

“Many people are also aware of our dangerous water shortage in the city of San Luis Obispo, and since hotel guests use twice the amount of water per day than your average resident, it was very prudent to stop the project,” Vujovich-LaBarre added.

Tompkins, Firestone and Parker were also planning to build a 600-space public parking garage and a new transit center on adjacent properties on Higuera Street. The transit center would have replaced the government center bus stop at Osos and Palm streets.

On Monday, Community Development Director Michael Codron confirmed that Firestone, Thompkins and Parker were scrapping their proposal.

“The property owner confirmed that project will not move forward to an actual development application,” Codron wrote in an email.


Guess you forgot to pay tribute (i.e. a bribe) to the right public official. With the change in Community Development Director and Building Official in SLOTown you need to fork over money to these miscreants now. You paid the last criminals a little tribute and simply you paid the outgoing crooks. Time to pony up and fork over a little more money to the criminals in SLOTown to get approval


Their project received conceptual approval from the Council. For whatever reason, developer is choosing not to pursue it any further.


Anyone on here knowledgeable enough to compare this project to the goals of Agenda 21, now renamed Agenda 2010?


To be honest I would like to see a first class 6-8-10-12 story office building and parking structure built on this property. A truly first class, beautiful, granite faced edifice of traditional design with retail/food on the first floor.

This might stop the migration of offices into residential neighborhoods, it might mitigate the ugly county building across Santa Rosa and it might drive those concerned about the “views of our precious foothills” to move to Carmel or Atascadero.

We’ll never see a first class office building in SLO. We’ll continue to see two and three story POSs being built where they don’t belong.


If what you’re saying is “build up, not out” then I totally agree. Being concerned about the views of the foothills, especially from downtown, is like jumping over dollars to save dimes. In the end it will push development outward and there will be much less open and undeveloped space (literal open space, not Open Space (TM)) people can enjoy just a few minutes from their home


I’d would really like to see an 8-12 story HIGH QUALITY structure on that site. Rather than build their next wet dreams in outlying areas, the feds, state, county and city could rent right next door. Add some retail and some private enterprise and it would free-up a lot of outlying real estate for other uses.

The problem is that if anyone could actually get permission to build such a structure on that lot, it would no doubt he a taller version of a low quality POS building like the DMV and IRS are located on on South Higuera. At best it would look like the county POS across the street on Monterey.


“Add some retail and some private enterprise and it would free-up a lot of outlying real estate for other uses.” Weird nonfactual argument. We used to have car repair on that site. So now with “some private enterprise” on it, we have to drive our cars out to the airport area to get them fixed. How does that free up any real estate? Just forces us to drive miles out of our way and look at beautiful rural land converted to ugly uses. This is one reason why there’s so much traffic in SLO today — you have to drive everyplace. And oh puhleeze, don’t “bike” me.


Stop with the hyperbole — you can still get your car repaired downtown if you were happy with the level of service one received at the old Shell station.

The real estate a 10 story building on that site free-up would be the offices that are creeping out in just about every direction from downtown — often in former residential neighborhoods.

Again though, if a 10 story building were ever approved for that lot (it would take a HUGE amount to grease to Ashbaugh and Christianson — less to Marx) it would no doubt be a cheap POS which would be terrible.

I suspect those who reacted negatively to my posting have never seen a truly nice commercial/residential high-rise in their native Fresno or Bakersfield, hence their confusion.


“build up, not out” is nonsense. What you end up with is BOTH, more traffic, more congestion, more crime, unhappy people, and no views. I thought you loved SLO! Hah! Not.


How would you know? No city in SLO County has ever truly “built-up.” You’re simply talking smack.


You have it backwards. The offices aren’t moving to residential neighborhoods. Residential housing is moving to commercial areas. There is no market for office space and small commercial right now. Instead, all the development in commercial zoning is now “mixed use”, with some token small office or commercial storefronts down below, and residential housing on top. Many of these locations are really not suited for residential housing, but the Planning Commission and City Council don’t seem to care. Zoning is so old school.


No. Many neighborhoods have been ruined in part by offices. Mixed use is fine — if it’s in a traditionally commercial area of town. Makes a lot of sense to add a floor or two of residential space to new commercial buildings that would otherwise be single level or two story structures.

Zoning is not “old school” — it’s an effective tool if actually employed with some smarts and wisdom.


I think the writer was being sarcastic in calling zoning old school. Your “mixed use” everyplace makes the writer’s point. Mixed use is junk zoning.


Regarding SamLouis’ suggestion that we all move to Carmel or Atascadero: I’m sorry to inform you that there are no hills of any significance located in either town. Instead, I would suggest that Sam Louis relocate to the many, many cities that are blessed with “first class 6-12 story office buildings”. Our very prosperous and beautiful little town can do very well without them.


It would do even better without whiners like yourself.


Should we read anything into the Adam Hill sign on Mr. Tompkin’s proposed hotel site in the village of AG ?


Best idea yet, scrap Tompkins, Grossman and the like.

Money-grubbing mongrels, that’s all they are.

How much longer are we willing to tolerate them? That’s the question.


As long as people keep supporting Adam Hill and his buds, and his buds keep giving contributes to Adam Hill and Dee Torres-Hill this cycle will not stop… Got rid of Tony and cleaned up that mess now we have to take on Adam Hill and all his developer friends.

Build baby build, Adam Hill’s mantra for 2016!


We are still working on the mess in Arroyo Grande, Tony was only the start, next Guthrie and Barneich, then hopefully, McClish, Tompson, and finally Harmon.

Jorge Estrada

The Transit Center needs to be moved to this location and should be expanded to include the B of A location. This is a County wide benefit and certainly not a NIMBY opportunity. A multi level, mix use for this large foot print is needed to centralize the full spectrum of people for efficient policing. I sorry that some pedestrians will have to walk to the corner to see the hills. The library and City Hall does not serve safe circulation and often does not afford healthy public needs. This is much more than a city scope.


This is a horrible location for the transit center. A transit center should be centrally located, like the existing one is. The existing one works just fine. This new one would be just more bureaucratic edifice complex, expensive to build, expensive to maintain, mislocated, unnecessary.

Jorge Estrada

Your kidding me, I’m only talking a one diagonal block. New restrooms could facilitate the public rather than the bushes around City Hall. I talk to the gardeners who have to clean the grass after other than dogs have been there. A new design on a larger footprint could better facilitate transit, parking and other social needs. Oh yes, five stories to facilitate private and public needs. This will bring more of the public offices to the downtown and better accommodate the Social Security office for example. Just think about the taxpayer funded offices that are scattered all over. The APCD and RWQCB should be front and center too instead of hiding in the hinter lands and will be easily accessible by public transit.


One diagonal block? Who is kidding who? What does garden (or other) poop removal have to do with relocating the transit center? It seems to work out fine enough where it is now, and we don’t need to clog Higuera and Monterey streets in the same fashion that Palm Street and Osos are currently affected. If you want to relocate the transit center, move it away from the downtown core,not smack dab in the middle again. The other government services are perfectly located on South Higuera…. a good (and sadly rare) example of efficient municipal planning……. it works, they have plenty of parking, easy access and don’t create traffic jams. Keep APCD and RWQCB where they are, if it’s not broken, there’s no need for a fix. Downtown doesn’t need more government offices or five story office buildings. If anything, and in light of the surrounding area, it would be better to create a new neighborhood in that space, not a nuisance. But then again…I don’t work at City Hall or the County Building.

Jorge Estrada

I don’t own this corner so my heals are not dug in. As for public transit, the best opinion would come from the customers and the bus drivers.


It would be my hope that educated civil planners, based upon a defined future city development concept, would be able to provide realistic alternative choices as to the potential relocation, or improvement, of the existing transit center location. I don’t really believe that the opinions of customers and bus drivers would be the best way of deciding that matter. Look how well elections seem to work out.

Jorge Estrada

I’m interested is what TruthfulUniverse has to say?


The question looms. Did they scrap it t be a 100 foot building? Our bulldog city leader Katie Lichtig needs to have these huge products fly through the permit and fee process so she can give herself fat raises every year. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will only make a million dollars this year. His suspension will lower him close to the salary and benefit package of Lichtig. Who will spearhead an effort to get rid of her?


Now we may have figured out why Jan Marx needed to buy the city manger and attorney’s support with another raise, (easy to do when it’s using someone else’s money), perhaps NKT has already approached Marx with his”new” plan and it is going to take the support of the city attorney and manager and Jan has bought it with their raises.