May 21, 2024
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720-unit mixed development near SLO Airport clears hurdle


Alex Kacik

Alex Kacik

The San Luis Obispo Architectural Review Commission gave the nod to a proposed 720-unit mixed-use development near the SLO Airport.

The 150-acre Avila Ranch project north of Buckley Road would include a variety of housing types, 15,000 square feet of commercial development, infrastructure improvements, 16 acres of parkland and 55 acres of open space and ag land.

San Luis Obispo and the entire tri-county region has had difficulty retaining and attracting employees and businesses because of a lack of workforce housing, which is for those who make 120 to 160 percent of the region’s median income. Projects like Avila Ranch could help satisfy the demand, but the region’s slow-growth politics mean the housing/jobs balance will get more out of whack in the near-term.

“The city has always had more of an urgent need of additional housing than business park uses, which is what the space is used for now,” the project’s developer, Stephen Peck of Peck Planning and Development, told the Business Times. “We need better and more housing choices than we have now.”

The majority of the housing would be medium-to-high density, ranging from 12 to 24 units per acre. The project also includes an extension of Buckley Road to South Higuera Street, bike path improvements and refurbishing of Tank Farm Creek, Peck said.

“There are about 26,000 workers who commute into SLO every day,” he said. “Taking a small chunk out of that would be important.”

The units will feature recycled water systems and the project will likely use less than 1 percent of the 9,900 acre feet of water available to San Luis Obispo County annually, Peck said.

The 2015 update to the county’s General Plan Land Use and Circulation Element and the city’s General Plan Housing Element identified the need to build more housing. They paved the way for the Avila Ranch as well as the 131-acre San Luis Ranch planned for the Dalidio property on Madonna Road and the estimated $500 million Froom Ranch project along Los Osos Valley Road.

The planning commission will review the Avila Ranch proposal Feb. 24 and March 9.

CVS replacing Fresh & Easy

A CVS Pharmacy will be moving into the former Fresh & Easy location at 336 N. Milpas St.

CVS signed the lease and is preparing for tenant improvements, said Steve Leider of Lee & Associates.

Fresh & Easy was the most recent casualty in the tri-county supermarket shakedown. The El Segundo-based grocery chain announced in October that it would close all of its nearly 100 stores throughout California, Arizona and Nevada, including seven tri-county locations. The announcement was preceded by Haggen declaring it would close 23 stores in the Tri-Counties, 127 total throughout California, Arizona and Nevada.

Ventura County deals

Simi Valley Town Center received a $66 million investment to renovate the strip mall and a Walgreens in Newbury Park was sold for $16 million.
Boston-based real estate investment firm Tremont Realty Capital ponied up $65.6 million to fund building renovations, ongoing soft costs and tenant improvements associated with the ongoing leasing of the 348,000-square-foot mall.

A private investor purchased a 13,400-square-foot Newbury Park Walgreens at 550 N. Ventu Park Road for
$15.7 million.

The retailer’s rent is planned to go up 10 percent every 10 years with an option for a lease extension, according to the brokerage firm Colliers International. The seller was the Woodland Hills real estate management company NewMark Merrill Cos.

• Contact Alex Kacik at