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2 new hotels would bring 218 rooms right next to the SLO airport

San Luis Obispo to Dallas-Fort Worth flights will be offered soon

Chuck Davison President & CEO of Visit SLO CAL talks about the economic impacts of expanded airline service to Dallas-Fort Worth from San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport next year.
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Chuck Davison President & CEO of Visit SLO CAL talks about the economic impacts of expanded airline service to Dallas-Fort Worth from San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport next year.

Two new three-story hotels would bring more than 200 rooms to a five-acre site near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport — a proposal that could bring accommodations next to the facility for the first time.

The hotels could potentially serve business professionals on work trips, including technology industry workers, as well as Edna Valley wine country visitors and other local tourists, said Pam Jardini, the planning consultant for the developer, Templeton-based Sunsmit LLC.

The concept, which calls for separate hotels of 100 guest rooms and 118 guest rooms at 950 and 990 Aero Drive, is in the early stages of planning, according to a 53-page staff report published by the city of SLO.

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A rendering of the proposed new hotel project near the airport. Two hotels totaling 218 guest rooms are envisioned. Arris Studio Architects

“There are no hotels really close to the airport, so this gives the opportunity for people doing business locally to stay overnight,” Jardini said. “And the airport has added new flights and it’s really expanding its operations, so it would serve those needs as well.”

The closest hotels to the airport now are off Los Osos Valley Road.

The site is the same property where developer Hamish Marshall’s firm WestPac Investments Inc. proposed a 134-room hotel in 2007. The economy went into recession shortly thereafter, and that project was never completed.

On March 18, San Luis Obispo’s Architectural Review Commission reviewed a preliminary application submitted by Sunsmit LLC, under the name of applicant Sanjay Gampule.

A look at the proposal

Each hotel would be 45 feet in height, with flat-top roofs and architectural features extending to 52 feet. They would be built on a vacant space neighboring Highway 227 and Aero Drive near the airport’s parking lot.

One of the proposed new hotels would be 63,000 square feet, while the other would total 66,000 square feet, according to the staff report.

“Both hotels are anticipated to be branded,” the city’s staff report stated. “However, a brand has not been selected at this time.”

Jardini said that the hotel developer has a brand partner in mind but isn’t yet ready to announce.

Hotel amenities would include outdoor patio and dining areas, meeting space, fitness rooms, breakfast areas and hotel guest bars. The larger hotel would have an outdoor 490-square-foot pool. Amenities would be open to guests only and not the public, the staff report noted.

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A rendering of the proposed new hotel project near the airport. Two hotels totaling 218 guest rooms are envisioned. Arris Studio Architects

Groundbreaking in 2020

At the earliest, the developer hopes to break ground by late spring or mid-summer 2020, Jardini said.

The site borders the airport’s parking lot, and the new hotel buildings would parallel Broad Street, according to the conceptual plan.

The first of the hotel buildings would be built closest to Broad, before a second goes in behind it during a latter project phase, Jardini said.

“We’re looking at doing a new kind of construction where rooms are built offsite and modularized, then brought in to the project site,” Jardini said. “It’s more money up front, but construction time goes down and it’s less of a site disturbance.”

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A rendering of the proposed new hotel project near the airport. Two hotels totaling 218 guest rooms are envisioned. Arris Studio Architects

The applicant still must submit a formal application, which is expected to come in about a month, and then the city’s Architectural Review Commission would review the project again for further consideration of recommendation to the Planning Commission, which would decide whether to approve it.

The City Council would only assess the project at a public meeting if a Planning Commission approval (or denial) is appealed.

Airport on the rise

The SLO airport has been expanding in recent years, opening a new terminal in 2017 and adding service to Seattle in 2016.

On Tuesday, it adds another destination when American Airlines begins year-round service to and from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The first flight from Dallas arrives at 10:39 a.m. It’s the farthest east local fliers can travel on a non-stop flight.

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.
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