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New Times / News

The following article was posted on September 27th, 2012, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 9 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 9

SLO Brew relocation decision delayed

BY MATT FOUNTAIN

It was a long night in the city of San Luis Obispo, and the tone was something like this:

Most people appear to think that the popular SLO Brew’s proposed relocation to one block away from its current location will be a good move, considering the impending renovation of downtown.

Other people—specifically, about 10 of them—don’t agree, and their argument seems to be centered on safety and noise issues.

SLO Brew, which has been a major presence in the community for more than 25 years, is slated to relocate from its current spot at 1119 Garden St. to an adjacent location at 736-738 Higuera St.

Following the move’s unanimous approval by the city’s planning commission, an organization called Save Our Downtown immediately appealed.

The new location would allow SLO Brew to continue operating in light of the incoming Garden Street Terrace project. The business, which is owned by WestPac Investments, Inc., would be able to expand by roughly 63 percent, according to city staff. The new building would also include a rooftop patio.

The relocation has the endorsement of the San Luis Obispo Police Department; members say the new location might contribute to better safety in Mission Plaza, given the increased public presence.

Interestingly, it wasn’t the circulation element that irked the Save Our Downtown folks, but the thought of “another bar” opening, catering to “kids loaded for fun.”

City staff has made some 36 conditions for approval of the project.

The project applicant, WestPac’s Hamish Marshall, argued that keeping SLO Brew a viable music destination would continue to bring much needed dollars to the city.

“You should take that and run with it,” he said.

Even the owners of competing businesses testified that SLO Brew has been a valuable part of the community, and that Marshall was one of the first members of the Safe Nightlife Committee, a coalition of business owners whose purpose is to promote safe late-night business practices.

“It would be a sad mistake not to support the project,” said Bill Hales, co-owner of ASH Management, which runs roughly seven competing bars and restaurants.

City staff is expected to continue the discussion in the coming weeks.