In recent reports on developing the Dalidio Ranch for shopping and residences, comparisons were made to Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo retail complex. To clarify, Paseo Nuevo was constructed in downtown Santa Barbara. The two- and three-story project in the heart of the city is a charming Spanish Mediterranean-style town and has become the “anchor” of State Street.
In addition to the varied sophisticated stores and restaurants, the architecturally stylish Paseo Nuevo plays a key role in the Cultural District, housing a first-rate, forward-looking contemporary art museum and a multi-purpose, innovative theater. Nothing like this exists in downtown San Luis Obispo, which remains provincial in comparison.
Should the Dalidio project choose to emulate Paseo Nuevo, adding housing and offices, it could create a southward “new town” that would challenge downtown San Luis Obispo as an attraction. In response, downtown stakeholders would be forced to “kick up their game.” Such competition could be beneficial in the larger picture.