SLO bowling alley project stopped after failure to pay bills

June 27, 2018

Josh and Jeremy Pemberton, photo by Noozhawk

Faced with fresh allegations of hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills, a pair of controversial developers dropped their plans to build a bowling alley and entertainment venue in downtown San Luis Obispo. The brothers say, though, they plan to move forward with the project at a different site in the city. [Tribune]

Jeremy and Joshua Pemberton’s previous business dealings have resulted in claims of fraud, a bankruptcy involving $1.4 million in unpaid wages and charity pledges that were never fulfilled. In 2011, the brothers filed bankruptcy, claiming $9,750 in assets and $1,431,201 in liabilities, including unpaid wages to employees, clothing expenses, dry-cleaning bills, jewelry store debt and money owed to nonprofits.

Additionally, Santa Barbara city staffers reported a number of problems with the Pembertons’ 2009 Music and Arts festival. Their company, Twiin Productions, failed to pay bills to the city for increased police presence, bounced a check to the city and failed to follow permit requirements and city rules, a city official said.

In SLO, the Pemberton Brothers planned to build a combination bowling alley, restaurant and music venue inside an approximately 25,000-square-foot building at the corner of Marsh and Chorro streets that formerly housed the Sports Authority. The planned project included 11 bowling lanes; a concert hall; a basement speakeasy with a members-only club; karaoke rooms; billiards; shuffleboard; bocce ball and others gaming; and full-service food and drinks.

San Luis Obispo officials approved the project with a condition that the venue close at midnight.

Discovery SLO, the Pemberton Brothers’ company, had been leasing the downtown SLO building from the real estate firm Jamestown Premier SLO Retail. In April 2017, one of the brothers said construction was due to begin within a month.

But that same month, Jamestown Premier sued Discovery SLO, alleging the Pemberton Brothers’ business failed to pay rent for more than a year and owed the real estate firm at least $750,000. Monthly rent for the building was $51,490, as of Jan. 2017, the lawsuit states.

Court records show the case is scheduled for dismissal on July 30. It is unclear what kind of settlement is in the works.

Jeremy Pemberton cited a variety of factors as reasons the development did not move forward at the downtown location, including conditions and restrictions imposed on the project, such as the closing hours. Pemberton also said unforeseen safety and seismic upgrades were required.

In a statement, Pemberton said his company has ambitious plans to open 30 or more Discovery locations nationally in the next 20 years and that the firm is confident SLO will take part in the development.

With the Pembertons searching for a new location for their San Luis Obispo entertainment venue, Jamestown Premier says it is planning to build a mixed-use project that would include upscale apartments, office space for tech companies and retail shops at the ground level of the downtown SLO property.


God Almighty! Can we please turn back the clock and restore Riley’s (both locations), Michael’s New York Delicatessen, Ken’s Schwinn, Uptown Liquor, Ed’s and Arctic Circle, George’s Market, Williams Bros., and so many more? I’m glad that I grew up in SLO during the 70s and 80s, when it still had soul, and was still a normal American town. Now it’s morphed into something I no longer recognize. Hordes of homeless, most of whom are criminal dirtbags (and I used to deal with them on a daily basis, cleaning up after them, listening to their BS; small group of them really need help, the rest could do with a nightstick counseling session) cookie-cutter businesses selling overpriced crap, a Communist dingbat Mayor leading the Keystone council, and the real locals, as opposed to the carpetbaggers, are wondering what the hell happened. Breaks my heart.


“(and I used to deal with them on a daily basis, cleaning up after them, listening to their BS; small group of them really need help, the rest could do with a nightstick counseling session) ”

I used to be one of them, right there in SLO, and I can tell you with certainty that most have problems that a “nightstick counseling session” would only exacerbate (try that chit with me and that nightstick might become a permanent part of your anatomy, maybe a plug). Haven’t you seen that already, or maybe you just approve of the way that type of thinking got Andrew Holland killed?

What the frick is a “real local”? As apposed to what? A fake local? Is it based on time spent in SLO, a birthright only to those born there, what?! Yes, the 70’s and 80’s were a better period for SLO; it’s was more accepting, more cultural, more artisan, more forgiving and all the while the homeless population was the same percentage wise to the population as it is now. The difference? They were part of the community back then; fed daily at the Mission, no one was bitching about Maxine Lewis’s Shelter, there was real substantive help available, and folks like you with your “nightstick therapy” approach were less abundant and less respected.

And how do you think SLO was supposed to be immune from the crash of ’08? You know? That Conservative driven bullchit that we’re on the brink of again, driven by the same Conservative failed idea of less restrictions on the money mongers will benefit everyone, while starting a war we couldn’t pay for, even if it wasn’t based on lies. And when it happens again, and it will, you’ll have even more homeless to deal with, and with the typical Conservative attitude you have, you’ll just have more to bitch about…

“Nightstick therapy”, chit! You ain’t got a clue! I was raised on it’s counterpart, “Flashlight Therapy”, used law enforcement to “counsel” back in the day…


Both of you, stop trolling each other, stop the ad-hominum attacks, now.

Nothing in this article has anything to do with your life story’s, stop derailing.


So let me get this straight, these two dipwads,that can’t pay their bills are proposing a 75 ft tall building in the place of this one, and the city is looking at the proposal, they should all be run out of town.


Good riddance!


I would bet they did not pay their architect or engineers either.


What about the elected officials? I onder if they got paid?


Just like Joshua’s Republican Party Leader, huh? Must have been on the “Apprentice”, and paid real good attention and took some even better notes, huh?


WOW! These guys have ALL the qualifications and credentials for a seat in the California Legislature! Are they running on the Democrat ticket for the easy “shoe-in”?


Shhhhhwing and a miss, Side_Show_Bob…

Joshua is a registered Republican, and Jeremy is a registered Independent… and here’s the kicker, something the Christian Republican should just revel in, they claim they were raised in a very conservative Christian household in San Jose. Go figure, huh?

Thieves come from every walk of life, including [especially?] all parties in politics. What the problem is we choose to pick-and-choose who we hold accountable, or outright ignore, due to our own party affiliation…


Bingo, agree … when is this site going to end the political labels and get to ideas?


Who really ever thought this project would be completed…..????