The owners of The Sub and Square Deal Recordings & Supplies, two businesses in San Luis Obispo that were destroyed in a 2015 fire, will rebuild on their Higuera Street property, with plans for the Square Deal structure already approved.
A proposal for a building that formerly housed Square Deal at 303 Higuera St. received a city permit on June 5, giving it the go-ahead for an upgrade that will renovate the walls and framing and fix fire damage.
Kjerstin Ferris, a partner in The Sub Corp., who also has an ownership stake in Square Deal, said that The Sub building next door at 295 Higuera St. also is intended for a rebuild and re-opening at a future date, though development plans have not yet been submitted.
Square Deal moved roughly a block away from its old location to 2146 Parker St. within weeks of the fire. The business sells vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes as well as patches, stickers, buttons and pins, among other items.
The Sub was known to carry a large and eclectic collection of items, including rare posters and records, as well as clothes, tapestries, smoking pipes, antiques and tobacco supplies.
"We miss our customers, our fun products and the interactions with our community," Ferris said. "It’s been hard to be patient with reopening, but we’ve really had no choice since we lost two businesses in the same day."
The Sub and Square Deal buildings were burned in a fire that sent a column of black smoke high above the city on Dec. 26, 2015.
The cause of the blaze was listed as undetermined, according to San Luis Obispo fire officials, but The Sub Corp. owners are still investigating how it was started and have been critical of the Fire Department for how the response and subsequent investigation were handled.
"We have a documentary that will be released very soon," Ferris said. "We are planning on having it out by end of July. There is a serious ongoing problem with (the city's Fire Department) leadership that our documentary will expose."
In reference to allegations of any wrongdoing by the city's Fire Department, however, San Luis Obispo City Attorney Christine Dietrick previously told The Tribune that her office “continues to believe that any legal action against the city related to its fire suppression efforts is meritless.”
Ferris said that The Sub has not taken legal action against the city, however, saying the "chance for basic tort actions are long since passed."
Ferris added that all insurance matters have been resolved, but no specific timeline for the rebuilds have been determined. Ferris said multiple plans were submitted to the city with a "lot of back and forth" before the recent construction approval.
The Sub owners considered reopening in a new downtown San Luis Obispo location but believed rents would be too high for them to afford.
"We had a window of time where we thought reopening The Sub would be manageable in between some other tasks, however the rents we were looking at were outrageous," Ferris said. "Considering we have less and less parking downtown, the high rents downtown are crippling."