An ambitious proposal in San Luis Obispo could turn a 150,000-square-foot warehouse on Laurel Lane into a 606-unit high-density housing project designed for young professionals, families and people on fixed incomes.
The Architectural Review Commission will hold a conceptual review hearing on Feb. 12 to consider the proposal at 1150 and 1160 Laurel Lane, which would include 29,000 square feet of commercial space.
The concept calls for developing a 17-acre site near Sinsheimer Park that’s now used as a warehouse, office and retail space into new two- to four-story buildings; a parking structure; and amenities including swimming pools, a restaurant, tennis courts, gardens, a 1-mile trail loop and maker space.
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The proposal would also remodel the Crux Climbing Center, an existing indoor climbing gym located on the property, as an amenity to the site.
“This is 17 acres near the bike path, on the city’s bus route and near downtown,” said Chuck Braff, a project partner with the group Blue Sky Development. “This would provide legitimate workforce housing near multimodal transportation with a solid number of units and amenities. This would help serve the community’s No. 1 need — workforce housing.”
The plan envisions 280 studios, 108 one-bedroom, 192 two-bedroom and 26 three-bedroom units, ranging from 385 and to 1,155 square feet in size.
The project would include rental apartments and units for sale, but the breakdown of how many of each isn’t being announced yet.
The project also would provide more than the city’s required number of affordable housing units, according to Braff, serving those who qualify for city housing at a restricted price based on their income. Braff wouldn’t specify an exact number, saying that it’s too preliminary and the number could change.
Michael Codron, the city’s community development director, told The Tribune that the conceptual review represents the “very early stages” and a planning application hasn’t yet been submitted.
A formal planning application could require a General Plan amendment and rezoning of the property, an environmental impact report, and several steps of advisory body review, as well as final City Council approval, Codron said.
The city has notified neighbors within 300 feet of the property of the application for the project.
Braff envisions serving young professionals, such as employees of nearby MindBody, along with seniors on fixed incomes who would be able to eat, exercise and gather socially on the property without having to leave it.
“We’re meeting with the neighbors, interested parties, and we’re taking this very seriously,” Braff said. “We’re aware of our responsibility and want to do a great job.”
The property owner, Atoll Holdings LLC, and Cannon Corp. Engineering Consultants are coordinating the conceptual review.
“This project checks all the right boxes,” said Todd Smith, a planning consultant with Cannon. “It’s efficient, it provides infill housing and doesn’t build on the outskirts of the city. It’s multimodal and sustainable.”
The concept also envisions solar panels, bike storage lockers and a fleet of bikes for site use, as well as connections to area walking and community bike paths.
Braff declined to name the members of the team behind the proposal.
“It would seem that there are multiple partnerships with the proposed development of the project, none of which has been disclosed at this time, since the project is conceptual,” San Luis Obispo associate planner Kyle Bell told The Tribune in an email.
The proposal would mark another significant housing project in the city after two large housing projects were approved by the City Council last year, San Luis Ranch (580 homes) and Avila Ranch (720 homes). Another proposed project on the city’s west end, Froom Ranch, envisions 534 homes.