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Downtown SLO development is one step closer

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After five years of talks, the controversial Garden Street Terraces mixed-use project in downtown San Luis Obispo is headed to the City Council for final approval.

On Sept. 19, the SLO Architectural Review Commission approved the latest project design. If approved, the applicant Garden Street SLO Partners LP would replace an existing parking lot on Marsh Street between Garden and Broad with a multi-story mixed-use development containing retail, residences, and a hotel.

The vote was 5-1, with commissioner Jim Duffy dissenting.

In its current design, the project is significantly different from the original proposal. According to Senior Planner Pam Ricci, the project as outlined in a 2010 Environmental Report “was quite a bit grander in scale and height than the version of the project that has been recently reviewed.”

Commissioners got a look at the new project on Aug. 15. It had been scaled down since it came to them a year earlier. However, they still had a few qualms with the design, mostly the color, which they and the public thought was too dark for the area.

In response, the applicant offered a brick pattern to “lighten up” the color, Ricci said.

Next step for Garden Street Terraces is the SLO City Council, which is tentatively scheduled to weigh in on Oct. 18. Typically, projects like this would be approved or rejected by the Architectural Review Commission, Ricci said, but city councilmembers wanted to see the final design of Garden Street Terraces, given
its prominence.

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