Retail, offices, restaurant approved for downtown SLO site

A proposal to build a three-story, 45-foot mixed-use building at the corner of Monterey and Santa Rosa streets in San Luis Obispo has been approved.

Developer Nick Tompkins submitted the scaled-down proposal after withdrawing a conceptual plan for the site last year that called for a 75-foot tall mixed-use development, including a hotel and residential housing. The new plan was approved by the city’s Architectural Review Commission on Monday, according to associate planner Rachel Cohen.

The project includes 21,198 square feet of office space, 2,985 square feet of retail space, and 2,195 square feet of restaurant space — but no housing. Unless it’s appealed by a deadline on Aug. 17, the project may proceed without Planning Commission or City Council review.

Tompkins submitted the initial proposal in partnership with Andrew Firestone and Jess Parker of the Santa Barbara hospitality-based firm StonePark Capital.

Firestone and Parker have backed out and Tompkins, who owns the property at 1101 Monterey St. and 1144 Higuera St., is proceeding on his own under the development company Pedp Inc. Tompkins didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.

The property, which used to house a Shell service station and is a block from the landmark Fremont Theatre, is considered a key gateway to the city.

The first floor of the new building will feature retail and restaurant space, while the second and third floors will house offices.

Tompkins received a parking reduction that’s half what the city usually requires because he’s adding bicycle parking and implementing a Transportation Demand Management Plan, which encourages alternative modes of transportation to the site, including the use of onsite showers and lockers for those who bike to work at the offices.

The project includes a parking lot with 21 spaces and two shared parking lots with the nearby Mortgage House that have 42 spaces — for a total of 63 spaces. The plan includes 79 bicycle parking spaces.

Some residents objected to the proposed 75-foot height of the last proposal.

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