Developer: Dalidio Ranch plan won't include high-end retail stores

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJuly 29, 2013 

In a view from the hill adjacent to Laguna Lake Park, Ernie Dalidio’s property reaches from the edge of the SLO Promenade to Highway 101.

LAURA DICKINSON — ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

The large development planned for the Dalidio Ranch in San Luis Obispo won’t include a high-end department store such as Macy’s or Nordstrom Rack as portrayed by developers last week – instead affordable shopping is envisioned.

Clint Pearce of Madonna Enterprises said Monday that co-developer Gary Grossman misspoke when he said future commercial tenants would be high-end retail stores.

Pearce and Grossman are in escrow for the $19.7 million property and will submit plans in August for development.

Instead, retailers like HomeGoods, T.J. Maxx or Bed, Bath & Beyond will be sought to fill anchor spots in the roughly 200,000 square feet of commercial space planned for the project, Pearce said. A grocery store is also a possibility.

In the past, steep opposition from the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association and prominent downtown business owners Jim and Tom Copeland curtailed attempts by Ernie Dalidio to turn the 131-acre ranch into a commercial hub of big retailers.

The Copelands and banker David Booker, who managed a limited liability corporation formed to fight the development, were later fined $80,000 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for concealing more than $220,000 in contributions toward the campaign against Dalidio's efforts.

Tom Copeland could not be reached for comment Monday.

“Neither Gary or myself want to fight anybody on this,” Pearce said. “We want a great project for the community with minimal controversy.”

Pearce said that the downtown is focused on offering a shopping experience where people peruse stores, eat out and make an event of it.

The commercial enclave being considered for the Dalidio Ranch will be more about serving a need, he said.

Those stores will range in size from 15,000 to 40,000 square feet and offer retail that would benefit budget-minded families, Pearce said.

“We want to make sure that the retail we put in isn’t directly competitive with the downtown,” he said. “That is very important to us.”

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

What Dalidio Ranch could look like

Here's a rendering of the proposed Dalidio Ranch development.

Planned Dalidio Ranch development by The Tribune

Tribune graphic by Joe Tarica; rendering courtesy of RRM Design

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