Construction under way as businesses plan to move near SLO airport

Rosetta's new building is under construction at 4840 Morabito Place, across from the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.
Rosetta's new building is under construction at 4840 Morabito Place, across from the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

A flurry of commercial building activity is happening near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

Several businesses and organizations are under construction or planning to build or begin tenant improvements soon in the airport area, and that means well-paying construction and tech jobs that can boost the local economy.

“That area has become really attractive to people,” said Supervisor Adam Hill, who is pushing for ways to make it easier for businesses providing head-of-household jobs to remain in San Luis Obispo County.

“There have been a lot of inquiries, interest from local companies and out-of-the-area companies who want to be there,” Hill added. “It’s interesting how that works. As soon as a good company provides an anchor in a commerce park, others say that’s a place I want to be.”

The East Airport Commerce Park, a subdivision with 26 buildable lots approved in 2003, will be home to Rosetta (formerly Level Studios), which is under construction now at 4840 Morabito Place. The software development company is building out 46,000 square feet and should be ready to move in early next year.

Other companies set to be located at Morabito Place include:

  • Cloud Inc., a small manufacturing company that makes tank scrubbers and small metal parts.
  • Family Care Network, a foster family agency planning to build 26,500 square feet at the northeastern corner of Kendall Road and Morabito Place. The agency, currently located on South Higuera Street, has been given the go-ahead to begin grading and is awaiting a building permit. The agency expects to have that permit by the end of the year and to begin site work before year's end, said Bobbie Boyer, chief financial officer.
  • Ewing Irrigation, which is now located off Tank Farm Road, also plans to move to the commerce park. That project is headed to the planning department Jan. 4 for a hearing on the proposed 10,500-square-foot warehouse and wholesale facility with an outdoor storage yard. The project also includes grading for a future building pad, Stephanie Fuhs said.

Other projects near the airport are Waste Connections, an integrated solid waste services company, with plans to move to Old Santa Fe Road from McMillan Avenue. No permits have been issued for that tenant improvement project yet.

In addition, Really Right Stuff, a San Luis Obispo company that makes camera support equipment, already has moved its headquarters from Higuera Street to 1146 Farmhouse Lane. Several years ago, OSHA constructed a building on Allene Way in the airport area.

Carol Florence, planner with San Luis Obispo-based Oasis Associates, charged with doing entitlement work for the East Airport Commerce Park, said the airport area is “poised to do some really great things.”

The park, she said, “is a really good example of the private sector getting together with the public sector, and realizing there’s an opportunity here and making it happen.”

While Supervisor Hill isn’t sure how many jobs commercial development near the airport is likely to bring, he said it makes good economic sense to do whatever it takes to assist businesses who want to expand their operations in San Luis Obispo County.

“It builds momentum, and I think we’ll start to see that that whole corridor will grow,” he said.