Proposed project on Marsh St. in downtown SLO clears major hurdle

Garden Street Terraces: corner of Garden and Marsh streets


Garden Street Terraces: corner of Garden and Marsh streets PHOTOSIMULATION 2-2010

A 212,000-square-foot San Luis Obispo redevelopment project cleared a key hurdle this week, putting it on track for a City Council review in June.

The San Luis Obispo Planning Commission on Wednesday recommended a version of the Garden Street Terraces project that includes a 15-foot setback for the third and fourth stories of the development on Marsh and Broad streets and eliminates space that was previously dedicated to public parking.

The commission also calls for the preservation of several historic buildings included as part of the project.

Garden Street Terraces is proposed for the stretch of Marsh Street from Broad to Garden streets and is being developed by WestPac Investments.

It includes a hotel, residences, retail and a commercial market on about 1.1 acres. The project’s height will reach 74 feet in several places to accommodate two elevators and one stairwell.

Concern about the historical preservation of several buildings also led the commission to require that several historic buildings on Garden Street and one on Marsh Street be rehabilitated and meet federal guidelines for treatment of historic properties.

Two buildings at Broad and Marsh streets will be demolished to make way for the project. All other affected buildings will be rehabilitated or partially torn-down and rebuilt.

Those buildings include the Downtown Brewing Company, the Smith Building and the Laird Building on Garden Street and San Luis Traditions on Marsh Street.

However, impact to potential prehistoric archeological resources will continue to be significant.

Sixty-two public parking spaces will be lost when the project is constructed.

The original project proposal called for providing some underground parking for public use. The project approved by the Planning Commission does not.

City staff said that those parking spaces would eventually be replaced by the proposed Nipomo Street parking structure.

Several advisory bodies must still review the project before it reaches the council. The Cultural Heritage Committee will discuss the project March 22, and the Architectural Review Commission will do so April 19.

Those recommendations will be forwarded to the city council on June 1.