New retailer might soon move into former Sports Authority spot in SLO

A long-term lease between the city of San Luis Obispo and Copeland Properties for a prime retail spot downtown has been extended — hinting that a new tenant will soon fill the space at the base of the Marsh Street parking structure.

The 15,000-square-foot retail space has been vacant since 2012 when Sports Authority moved to the Madonna Plaza.

The Copelands requested the extended lease in order to negotiate a long-term lease with a potential retail tenant, according to city staff. That retailer has not been publicly announced, and phone calls to Copeland Properties were not returned.

The new lease, extended from 2018 to 2024, requires that the Copelands pay $11,330 a month to the city for 837 Marsh St. for one year starting in February 2014. The rent will then increase 3 percent annually until January 2024.

In exchange for the extended lease the Copelands agreed to make several repairs, including fixing the elevator entrance thresholds of the parking structure and repairing the etched-glass windows of the retail space.

“This agreement benefits the city as a whole,” said Robert Horch, parking services manager. “It helps us with parking (demand), and no one wants to see vacant tenant spaces downtown.”

The Copelands also plan to make $300,000 in improvements to the retail location, including upgrading the air conditioning, according to the city.

In the late 1980s the city agreed to build the Marsh Street parking structure and the retail space on the ground floor. The original lease was signed with the Charles Ford Co., doing business as Riley’s Department Store. The Copelands, now doing business as Jamestown Premier SLO Retail, later acquired that lease.

The Copelands are currently paying the city $11,000 monthly. That money goes directly into the city’s parking fund to pay for costs associated with the city’s parking structures.