SLO developer proposes outdoor dining venue in shipping containers

February 1, 2022


Paul Tompkins of NKT Commercial has submitted plans to build an outdoor dining venue in downtown San Luis Obispo where food vendors will operate out of repurposed shipping containers.

The plans require approval of an onsite parking reduction from 40 required spaces to 16 spaces. The SLO Planning Commission will need to approve the requested parking reduction based on issues such as bike parking, employee carpooling and public transportation.

The project includes the development of an approximately 21,600-square-foot lot at the corner of Higuera and Toro streets.

Before work can start, Tompkins plans to demolish the existing two-story structure
on the site and repurpose the existing 4,208 square foot single-story structure toward the rear of the lot into a new restaurant suite.

Next, Tompkins wants to add 12 shipping containers consisting of a total of 2,720 square feet to provide for seven tenant suites, three storage rooms, one long term bike storage locker and one for restrooms.

The project will require multiple approvals before Tompkins can start construction.

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That location has been underused for decades. Container parks can be very successful and good additions to city’s though San Luis residents aren’t used to seeing them. Here’s a great example of how they can work:

More essential businesses for the low income.

Didn’t the city shoot down the tiny house concept for the homeless, because of safety and environmental concerns? Yet, THIS “project” is being considered? Power supply, parking, sewage, garbage, water supply, gas supply, EIR, safety, pest/vector control? Will the width of Higuera be sacrificed to the inevitable “parklet”, as has been done throughout the downtown, and right next door (which allowed at least triple the tables after their parking lot was converted to outdoor use)? How much publicly funded roadway and parking spots will be denied road tax paying citizens?

BTW, there is no simple way to conceal the industrial ugliness of containers.