News Column

Paso Robles developers want to build city's first downtown parking garage

June 21, 2014

By Tonya Strickland, The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)

June 21--Paso Robles city leaders made a small but significant step last week considering a large-scale development proposed for downtown.

At its June 17 meeting, the City Council agreed to allow the applicants of a hotel and performing arts center development called Pine Street Promenade to continue their plans to build a parking structure on city property near the transit center.

The purpose of the item was to ask the council for permission to make such plans involving city land, said Ed Gallagher, the city's community development director.

"Permission (did) not grant a right, but rather an acknowledgment that the City Council is aware that the applicants would like to pursue a future agreement for use of the property," he said.

The rest of the project would be built on the former site of the Hayward Lumber Yard at 944 Pine St., a 2.4-acre lot that developers Brett Van Steenwyk and Debbie Lorenz purchased for about $4.25 million last year.

The entire project is set to go before the city's Planning Commission on Aug. 12. Plans include two phases of construction: bringing a hotel and public market to town first, followed by a performing arts center and parking structure.

The 107-room hotel would have restaurant and office space, as well as a central plaza/gathering area and basement parking structure with 240 spaces. The hotel will also feature a public market where vendors can rent booths to sell their wares, similar to the Oxbow Public Market in Napa.

The parking -- which would be Paso Robles' first parking structure -- would serve the performing arts center as well as provide general public parking downtown.

The City Council has long struggled with how to address its parking issues downtown. Business owners have said parking is a problem for shops since downtown employees tend to park and occupy spots all day long, leaving shoppers circling the area in their cars.

Others have said that adding paid or timed parking downtown could hurt the city's small-town character.

Since the developers have put the parking structure in the project's second phase, they would need to come back to the council when they actually want to build it to work out a deal with the city, such as a lease, Gallagher said.

"Those kinds of details will be worked out in the future," he said, adding that such a deal could still be several years away. If approved, the first phase of Pine Street Promenade could take between a year and a year and a half to complete, developers previously said.


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Source: Tribune (San Luis Obispo, CA)

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