High-density development planned in place of bowling alley project

June 29, 2018

In the aftermath of an aborted entertainment venue project involving a pair of controversial developers, a prominent local development firm and an international real estate company have a new proposal for the downtown San Luis Obispo site: a mixed-use high density housing development. [Cal Coast Times]

The new project proposal calls for a 75-foot high building at the corner of Marsh and Chorro streets that would include a total of 55 apartment units. The proposal has emerged as city officials are okaying large developments downtown and around San Luis Obispo, causing many residents to grumble about blocked views and overdevelopment.

San Luis Obispo oficials had approved a combination bowling alley, restaurant and music venue project on the corner of Marsh and Chorro. The project was recently scrapped after Jeremy and Joshua Pemberton allegedly failed to pay rent to Jamestown SLO Premier Retail LP, a subsidiary of the international real estate firm Jamestown.

Jamestown Premier owns the downtown SLO property on which the Pemberton brothers were planning on building their entertainment venue. The Pemberton brothers have a history of alleged fraud, bankruptcy and unpaid bills and wages. Jamestown Premier sued the Pemberton brothers’ San Luis Obispo development firm last year alleging at least $750,000 in unpaid rent, and the two sides are now in the process of reaching a settlement.

On Tuesday, Jamestown Premier, in conjunction with Copeland Properties, submitted an application to build a 75-foot high mixed-used development at the downtown SLO site. The proposal calls for retail space on the ground floor, office space on the second and third floors and apartment units on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors.

The city has a 50-foot limit in the downtown commercial zone, but the planning commission can award permission for a building to be as high as 75 feet if it meets at least two of the city’s policy objectives, which include affordable and workforce housing, historic preservation, pedestrian amenities and energy efficiency. The developers say their project would meet the requirements of workforce housing and historic preservation.

Community Development Director Michael Codron said the project would qualify for the workforce housing requirement if 5 percent of its units were designated for low-income housing or 10 percent for moderate income housing under deed restrictions that base affordability on income levels. In order to meet the historic preservation requirement, the developer would have to fund the conservation of a significant historic structure in the city.

The project applicants are likewise requesting to build at a rate of density that is 30 percent higher than what the city typically allows. Codron said city officials will have to review the application to determine if they can offer an exemption from the density rule.

Russ J

Affordable housing is in Santa Maria, Bakersfield, Las Vegas. Get real; S.L.O. is for the elitist progressives and the monied developers who know the game. If you can’t afford to pay, you can’t play.


5% of 55? 2.25? 10% of 55? 5 1/2? So you either get 2 1/4 apartments that are “affordable” or 5 1/2 apartments that are “mostly affordable”? Oh yea, that’ll put a dent in the affordable housing blight in SLO. Will they have lease commitments to all that retail and office space before building? ’cause from my view the downtown area can’t fill the vacant ones they have now, right?

Who qualifies for one of the 1/2 apartments? Or better yet? The 1/4 size apartments? I can only imagine…

There’s one thing that CCN isn’t mentioning; 45 of the units would be studios and 10 would be one-bedrooms. So in other words? They ain’t meant for families and appear to be trying to attract Poly’ students instead. So much for affordable when you can get the real money from students that already have the capitol to afford Poly’. Cha-Ching!

Is there anyone out there that can actually tell me what SLO considers “affordable housing” and based on what income level? It’s gotta be skewed as hell…


Math was wrong, ooops! That would be 2 1/2 apartments considered “affordable” and none at 1/4 size… It’s pretty embarrassing when you have a 13 year old pointin’ that out to a 62 year old man! Just sayin…


Yes! Its been said that affordable housing is housing that no one can afford. Everyone talks about and how they think that the issue can be dealt with. But there is only one entity that really refuses to get involved with the issue. That entity is the government. They have not contributed anything financially towards the cause. The delays, conditions for approval, fees, bonds and taxes that they have applied to these projects are a major cause for affordable housing not being affordable.


“But there is only one entity that really refuses to get involved with the issue. That entity is the government. They have not contributed anything financially towards the cause.”

SLO’s view on affordable housing is as skewed as its inflated property values, meant to keep working folks and the poor from even touching down in SLO let alone living there. Don’t blame your city government at they do have incentives, regulations, fees and other measures that require and reward developers to help address this issue in SLO (“Affordable Housing Incentives”, City Municipal Code (Ch. 17.90))

Rental property owners are to blame as much as anyone; either not accepting any type of subsidized renters or overpricing their rental as not to qualify for those subsidies. The average rent for a 1BR dwelling. in SLO is $1,345 a month while the feds’ will only subsidize up to $1,107 a month for that same 1BR (the tenant pays 1/3 of his or her income while the feds’ pick up the rest), and the more bedrooms there are, the more skewed it gets. Beside, if your property is considered an “income property” the more income it generates the more valuable it becomes, right?

I’ve looked around a bit and have found that SLO isn’t unique to this; it seems that most “college towns” are in the same boat, and mostly do to the same reason(s), as they would much rather have the high paying short term student renter than a long term lower rent payer.


How about a Tower of Babylon?


Propose 40′ get 30′. Propose 50, get 40. Now 75, get 65.

Mixed use, gee what a unique idea.

Again, if SLO doesn’t bother to even loosely follow a general plan, why bother having one?


Am I the only one who cringes at the term “High Density”?