Plan for Chinatown Project in San Luis Obispo to get a last look

The Copelands’ hotel, retail and residential Chinatown Project planned for the core of downtown San Luis Obispo will come before the City Council on Tuesday for a final design review.

The project — expected to take up three quarters of the block between Chorro, Palm, Morro and Monterey streets near Mission San Luis Obispo — has seen many incarnations since it was first proposed.

It was proposed as a 75-foot-tall project, but then reduced in 2007 to be no taller than 50 feet.

The hotel was originally planned for the corner closest to Mission Plaza, but is now proposed for Morro and Palm streets.

Also, in a reflection of the current economy, the project now includes more hotel rooms and fewer condominiums.

And the two historic buildings at Monterey and Chorro streets, the Blackstone Hotel and the Sauer Bakery buildings, are now slated to see some “adaptive reuse” in the project instead of facing demolition as they once were.

As currently planned, the project will include retail, offices, restaurants, a 78-room hotel, 16 condominiums and a private, 74-space parking garage.

But it will also take 122 parking spaces at ground level now used by the public on the city-owned lots between Monterey and Palm streets.

The city and the Copelands have reached an agreement on the sale of those city lots. At the time of the agreement in June 2008, the land beneath the lots and the city-owned building on Morro Street was appraised at $8.8 million.

The City Council in June approved the sale of the property to the Copelands for $1.1 million and agreed that the Copelands would pay another $2.6 million to the city for the lost public parking.

Staff had suggested selling the land for the discounted amount because of the future tax revenue the project will bring to the city.

Meeting Tuesday

The City Council is expected to hold a 90-minute public hearing on the Chinatown design during its 7 p.m. Tuesday meeting at 990 Palm St.