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Sensario Project in Paso breaks ground 

After 16 years of planning, new ownership, and two name changes, the Sensorio Project finally started construction last month in Paso Robles.

The project formerly known as the Black Ranch Resort and Entrada de Paso Robles is a discovery garden and resort that includes a 200-room hotel, 80 guest casitas units, a conference center, café, and a wine center.

click to enlarge CONNECTING WITH NATURE The Sensario Project was designed with the idea of connecting with nature through the senses. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF PASO ROBLES
  • Photo Courtesy Of The City Of Paso Robles
  • CONNECTING WITH NATURE The Sensario Project was designed with the idea of connecting with nature through the senses.

Paso Robles City Planner Susan DeCarli said the project has taken a while to break ground because specific permits were needed from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Transportation, and other agencies in order to use the some sites on the property.

She said now that the project has obtained the required permits, it's slated to open its doors in about three to four years.

The 386-acre property was originally approved for a project that included plans for a 27-hole golf course. Since its approval in 2002, Ken Hunter—co-owner of Hunter Ranch Golf Course—purchased the property with the intent of creating an interactive garden in place of the golf course.

According to a staff report, eliminating the golf course decreased the project's overall water use by 58 percent, down from the original 570 acre-feet per year to about 240 acre-feet annually.

"It's a really unique beautiful outdoor garden adventure park," DeCarli said. "The whole site is integrated into landscape really creating a sense of being away from society and into natural wonder."

The mission of the gardens is to create a financially self-sustaining, fun, and engaging year-round garden experience that honors the natural topography of the property.

DeCarli said the first phase of the project will include outdoor LED lights that will lend the garden to evening strolls. The second phase of the project will include the conference center and the resort. Δ

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