Ernie Dalidio has not always been lucky with his San Luis Obispo Marketplace project.
He’s been thumped by bureaucrats, stumped by politicials, delayed, distracted and was forced to spend big bucks on a referendum to get his project passed.
But Dalidio’s luck may be changing and the SLO Marketplace may yet come to fruition as a better designed and more soundly financed project than the one that has been on the drawing boards for so many years.
The news on the Marketplace is that on Aug. 4 a California Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling and reinstated the Measure J vote in favor of the Markeplace, which is located along Highway 101 near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.
Environmentalists had successfully argued to a district court that the measure’s language wasn’t truly applicable to construction near an airport.
A further appeal to the California Supreme Court is possible and Dalidio’s favorable turn of fortune may yet be reversed again.
But if the project does get green-lighted to go forward, the SLO Marketplace will represent one of the biggest private sector stimulus projects to hit the county in years.
Recent difficult times in securing real estate financing will guarantee that the project goes forward on sound footing. Labor and materials costs are substantially lower than in recent years.
And a recovering economy will mean there’s little chance the SLO Marketplace will wind up like the retail project at RiverPark — mothballed perhaps for years, awaiting an end to the Great Recession of the 21st century.
If it clears the final legal hurdles, Dalidio’s SLO Marketplace will be a job-generating machine that sets in motion a bit of a retail revival for the southern part of SLO and adjacent areas in the county.
Its reshuffled mix of retail, office and residential uses looks a bit smarter now that the shop-till-you drop mentality has given way to something a bit more businesslike — at least for now.
Ernie Dalidio’s luck may bring about a bit of a renaissance for SLO as a business and retail hub. And that would be a bit of a lucky break for more than just Dalidio.