SLO will likely give Chinatown extra time



SLO City staff are recommending that the city extend an expiring deal with the developers of the proposed Chinatown Project by at least 60 extra days, and likely more.

Under a previous agreement, the Copeland family has until May 4 to have the project ready for building or lose an agreement to buy city-owned land for a price of just more than $3 million, which was based on a year 2000 appraisal.

The project isn't ready to go and developers have sought an extension, but city officials are seeking a new price for the land based on current values. The 60 days would allow for an appraisal, and finalization of a longer extension.

At issue is roughly 1.5 acres of city land on Palm, Morro, and Monterey streets that now holds 143 surface public parking spots, as well a city-owned public works building.

The city's property makes up about 75 percent of the land planned for the project. If the deal is completed, it would be the third phase of a negotiation that allowed the city to build its new parking complex and offices on Palm Street and allowed the Copelands to build the Court Street Project.

A staff report said negotiations have stalled because there's no information about the current value of the land. The developer has offered $18,000 toward two appraisals: one on the market rate of the land, and one that takes into account "development costs and regulatory constraints."

A vote on the 60-day extension is scheduled for the April 1 council meeting.

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