SLO Council approves 75-foot building in downtown

The San Luis Obispo City Council on Tuesday night approved a planned 75-foot tall mixed-use development in Downtown SLO, which if constructed, will be the tallest building in the city.

Jamestown Properties owns the downtown SLO property located at 1144 Chorro Street, where the development is expected to be built. The real estate firm plans to construct a 65,752 square-foot building with 30,000 square feet of commercial and office space and 50 residential units.

Plans call for the first floor to house three retail suites, as well as accommodations for restaurant use, a residential lobby, a commercial office lobby and a small parking facility. The second and third floors will consist of commercial offices, while residential apartments will be on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors.

Thirteen of the residential units, or 25 percent, will be reserved for tenants with moderate incomes. 

San Luis Obispo has a 50-foot limit in the downtown commercial zone, but the planning commission can award permission for a building to be as high as 75 feet if it meets at least three of the city’s policy objectives, which include affordable and workforce housing, historic preservation, pedestrian amenities and energy efficiency. The developers argued their project would meet the workforce housing requirement and several other policy objectives.

On Tuesday night, the city council voted 3-0 in favor of the project with Councilman Aaron Gomez and Councilwoman Andy Pease recusing themselves. 

Previously, embattled developers Jeremy and Joshua Pemberton leased the downtown SLO property from Jamestown and planned to build a bowling alley and bar at the site. The Pemberton brothers have a history of alleged fraud, bankruptcy and unpaid bills and wages. 

Jamestown sued the Pemberton brothers’ San Luis Obispo development firm in 2017, alleging at least $750,000 in unpaid rent. The two sides later reached a settlement. 

Then this June, Jeremy Pemberton was arrested on charges of securities fraud, financial elder abuse and grand theft related to his attempt to attract investors for the entertainment venue project. Prosecutors allege Jeremy Pemberton fraudulently obtained more than $500,000 from one victim and more than $200,000 from another. 

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