A proposal by developer Hamish Marshall to move SLO Brew to Higuera Street was recently unanimously passed by the Planning Commission and has been appealed by Save Our Downtown, a concerned volunteer citizens’ group that has paid to have this issue brought forward to the attention of SLO citizens and possible action by the City Council. If the council approves Marshall’s request to move SLO Brew to the Carrisa Building, this 600-person auditorium and nightclub will exceed the scale of the Graduate.
Most concerning is that Marshall is planning three floors of bars: one opening onto Higuera Street, one with a 600-seat auditorium/nightclub on the second floor, and an open-air bar on the third floor that will overlook and likely overwhelm the fine, outdoor dining of Novo Restaurant. The Carrisa building has the largest façade on Higuera, and it backs onto our beloved creek walk and Mission Plaza, the heart of our downtown.
SLO Brew intends to hire famous musical groups who arrive in large buses along with busloads of concert attendees, parking them near the Mission, lining people up in Mission Plaza. No car parking is planned. The queuing is then to proceed from Mission Plaza across two creek bridges to the rear entrance of the nightclub, and the exiting is in reverse at 1 a.m. It would certainly increase the need for more policing in that area.
Up until now, the creek and Mission Plaza have been a quiet refuge from the hustle and bustle of life, a place for family-friendly gatherings and cultural events. If this commercial undertaking is allowed to happen, these will soon be a thing of the past if our appeal is not upheld by the City Council on Sept. 25.
Mission Plaza, the forecourt for the Catholic Church, is a religious plaza, and due to SLO not having a public plaza, it has become the town’s public square. It should, however, be used selectively and not for blatant commercial enterprises.
If you are concerned about the future of our downtown, for ourselves, our children, and our visitors, make plans to attend this meeting and bring your like-minded friends to City Hall at 6 p.m.