The Creamery in San Luis Obispo has completed most of its renovations and now features a new brick courtyard space with outdoor seating, fresh exterior storefont siding and windows, and new spaces for commercial tenants.
Four tenant spaces remain vacant and are actively being marketed for lease availability, said Damien Mavis of CoVelop, the development company and principle of the property's ownership group.
The plan, since the renovations began in late 2016 at the 26,500 square foot retail center at 570 Higuera St., is to make The Creamery San Luis Obispo’s "next hot pedestrian-centric shopping experience," according to CoVelop's website.
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"We’re focusing on local businesses and unique shops," Mavis said. "We're never going to attract Gap or H&M."
The center has added about 5,000 square feet of new retail space, including the space occupied by La Esquina Taqueria, which opened in August 2017 behind Ciopinot Seafood Grille.
The center also has expanded and improved its existing commercial spaces, offering a fresh look to some familiar establishments.
Those include new multi-stall bathrooms and back room seating at Spike's Pub, as well as a new outdoor patio where patrons can sit, eat and drink, said Spike's owner Andrea Miller.
"The bathrooms we had before were single-stalled, old, and definitely needed an upgrade," Miller said. "Now we have multiple stalls that are brand new, and an outdoor patio. .... It's a nice, great outdoor space."
Mama's Meatball added more seating and a new bathroom. But 15 parking spaces in front of its business were lost to the new courtyard patio. Owner Nicola Allegretta previously said that business was impacted during construction but liked the way CoVelop handled the transformation.
Goshi's Japanese restaurant now is undergoing renovations with a plan to double its tenant space and construct a new kitchen, Mavis said.
The restaurant, which is currently open for business, posted a sign in English and in Japanese. The English sign noted "full shutdown starts approximately Friday, April 27, and we will re-open early to middle of June," the note states. "We apologize for the inconvenience."
One tenant space is temporarily being used for Art After Dark events on the first Friday of the month, and the center is open to hosting other types of events in the future.
The remaining upgrades include some tenant space improvements, which are ongoing or scheduled to take place over the next few months.
Mavis declined to disclose the cost of the new construction, saying "that is not something we'd share," but it's "significant." Mavis also declined to state the amount of lease price increases factored into the upgrades. One business owner confirmed the lease prices have gone up.
The Creamery was established in 1910 to serve the area's thriving dairy industry. The original building was used previously for a machine shop, according to the county History Center. Additional buildings were added up until 1928. The property is listed on the city's Master List of Historic Resources.
The mural on the side of the building occupied by Spike's, featuring a barn scene and cows, has existed for 20 years and needs an upgrade with some faded and peeled paint, Mavis said. The developer is seeking city permission to replace or re-design the mural, Mavis said.
"We have not yet decided what to do there." Mavis said. "We're actively working with the city on a new design."
As the owner of Spike's, Miller said that she would like to keep the mural, perhaps touching up the paint.
"I think it looks good as it is and a few parts of it can be fixed," Miller said.