The music will continue for a few more months on Garden Street.
SLO Brewing Co. will remain open at 1119 Garden St. through mid-December before moving to a new location nearby on Higuera Street, owner Hamish Marshall said. Concerts are currently booked at the existing location through mid-November, according to SLO Brew’s website.
The delay gives Marshall more time to finish interior improvements at the 736 Higuera St. site, where a retrofit of the historic Carissa building is nearly complete.
“It’s a busy time for the Brew between August and December, so this gives us more time to finish things and keep things rolling as normal,” said Marshall, who owns the business along with Rodney Cegelski.
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The current venue is closing to make way for the Garden Street Terraces project, 93,425 square feet of commercial, residential and hotel space.
Marshall, who is involved in both projects, said work on that project will begin in mid- to late-September and will focus first on the current parking lot area at Broad Street and Garden Alley.
In addition, a groundbreaking ceremony is planned for Aug. 21 on a related SLO Brew project called The Rock — a 10,204-square-foot brewery, 1,170-square-foot tasting room and 600 square feet of outdoor seating near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.
Marshall received approval from San Luis Obispo’s Architectural Review Commission in February for the new facility at 855 Aerovista Lane. Marshall said he hopes the manufacturing portion of the project is completed by January, with the tasting room opening in February.
He’s also seeking permission to offer live music there. Doing so could be a lengthy process because it requires amendments to the city’s Airport Area Specific Plan to allow nightclub uses within the business park zone, said Doug Davidson, deputy director of development review.
The proposed change has to go before the county’s Airport Land Use Commission as well as the city’s Planning Commission and City Council, said Davidson, a process that could take six months.
Beer would be brewed both downtown and at the airport location. The new location allows SLO Brew — which now has about 35 tap handles in restaurants and bars in the county — to ramp up production and commercial distribution. Marshall said he has a 35-barrel brewing system in the works and aims to produce up to 2,500 to 3,000 barrels by the end of next year and 5,000 barrels by the end of 2017.
He declined to disclose the cost of the two SLO Brew projects. The building is owned by San Luis Downtown Management LLC (Marshall is the registered agent), according to records filed with the California Secretary of State.
It was assessed at $2.75 million in the 2015-16 tax year, according to the San Luis Obispo County Assessor’s Office.
The new SLO Brew location on Higuera Street includes 6,300 square feet on the first floor with a restaurant, bar and concert stage, plus an outdoor dining patio with fire pits. A mezzanine level is also planned so guests can overlook the concert stage from a VIP area.
Four hotel flats are envisioned for the second floor, where the original windows will be outfitted with new dual-pane glass. When asked why he believed the hotel units was the best use of the space, Marshall said the two- and three-bedroom flats will fill an unmet need downtown for families, bands, weddings and others looking for a unique experience.
Marshall said SLO Brew will close on Garden Street on Dec. 15 and reopen Dec. 18 on Higuera Street. He has about 75 employees now and anticipates increasing to 125 people after the move and the new airport business opens.
In past months, local residents and musicians have worried the move signaled the demise of one of downtown’s most prominent venues for live music.
But Marshall remains adamant that “the quality of the musical performances will continue to be top-shelf” at the new location, according to a news release announcing the move.
“It will be a pretty versatile space downstairs,” Marshall said. “It will absolutely do music in the same format that we have.”