A development proposal for two large-scale projects — a retail shopping center and an assisted living facility — near the Marigold Center in San Luis Obispo will be discussed Wednesday by the city's Planning Commission, its first public hearing.
Plans call for a 49,000 square-foot shopping center with a grocery store, restaurants and retail spaces in six separate buildings, and a 133,655-square-foot senior care facility with 111 assisted living suites and 28 memory-care studio units.
The buildings would sit on land parcels at 3985 Broad Street and 660 Tank Farm, part of a 10-acre area across the street from the Marigold Center and the fitness and wellness service company Mindbody.
San Luis Obispo-based developer Nick Tompkins of NKT Development owns those parcels, which are mostly vacant except for a home on the Tank Farm property.
Tompkins is proposing to build the shopping center component, while Westmont Development LP of La Jolla wants to construct the assisting living center.
Westmont Living, which would operate the senior care component, serves seniors 60 or older. A typical Westmont resident is 84 years old, single and unable to drive, according to the project application.
Westmont operates 11 facilities in California and Oregon, including centers in Goleta, Brentwood and Escondido. Such facilities tend to offer dining, activities and amenities such as movie theaters and fitness centers on site.
On Wednesday, the commission will review whether the project concept fits with the city's General Plan for the site, which calls for "a mix of uses as described under the community commercial and office designations," under the Land Use Element adopted in 2014.
"We're very early in the process of the application," said Brian Leveille, a senior city planner. "The policy isn't definitive as to what's a mixed-use site. We'll be looking to the Planning Commission for guidance."
Leveille said that mixed-use projects in the city generally have a residential component, though this site's zoning designation is less defined under city policy.
Carol Florence of Oasis Associates represents Tompkins' group. She said that the development team has worked closely with the city to keep them informed about the intended proposal, and believes it's an appropriate use of the land.
"We entered into early discussions with them on this site since before 2013 and we participated in the planning of the (Land Use Element)," Florence said. "We feel we’ve been transparent and open on this for quite a number of years. I’m anticipating a robust discussion with the Planning Commission, a really fun discussion with my peers.."
If the commission gives the go-ahead as planned, the city would begin an environmental review before embarking on steps that include additional meetings before the city Architectural Review Commission, Planning Commission and City Council.
A traffic study would also be needed. The city is calling for detailed plans on pedestrian, bike and vehicular circulation, and suggests the project's retail component be located closer to the street with the assisted living center to the interior.
The proposal says Westmont would employ about 80 part-time and full-time workers.
"Typically, very few residents drive or bring their vehicles with them when they move to a Westmont Living facility," the developer's application states. "As such, a private luxury minivan takes residents shopping, to doctor's appointments, and to various activities within the greater community."
Florence said that Tompkins has a proven track record of "finding the right tenants" to fill commercial spaces, but he hasn't yet identified what types of tenants would occupy the proposed Tank Farm and Broad site.
No specific timeline for constructing the proposed project yet has been identified.