Is Ar­royo Grande get­ting a hard­ware store at the va­cant Kmart lot?

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY KAYTLYN LESLIE

The re-devel­op­ment of the old Kmart site in Ar­royo Grande just keeps get­ting big­ger and big­ger.

Seven months af­ter the city Plan­ning Com­mis­sion ap­proved plans to ex­pand and ren­o­vate the build­ing at 1570 W. Branch St. to make room for a gro­cery store and 24-hour fit­ness cen­ter, the project came back to the city on April 2 with some ma­jor ad­di­tions.

These in­clude a nearly 21,000-square-foot hard­ware store with a gar­den cen­ter and a new driv­ethrough build­ing in the ex­ist­ing park­ing lot.

The project will also in­crease the size of the pro­posed gro­cery store to about 23,000 square feet, set aside 7,000 square feet for a dance stu­dio in the back of the build­ing, and split up the re­main­ing lot into two re­tail spa­ces of about 6,600 square feet and 10,000 square feet.

Ac­cord­ing to RRM De­sign Group Plan­ner Pam Ricci, who has been in­volved in the var­i­ous stages of the project, Rick Gam­bril of Ar­royo Grande Com­mer­cial LLC is in the process of pur­chas­ing the prop­erty from cur­rent owner Peter Or­radre, who pro­posed the orig­i­nal changes to the prop­erty.

The new ad­di­tions came as a re­sult of ne­go­ti­a­tions with po­ten­tial ten­ants, Ricci said.

Plan­ning Com­mis­sioner Ken Sage he liked the mix of pro­posed busi­nesses at the site on April 2.

“I hap­pen to be a tool junkie, so I like the hard­ware store,” Sage said dur­ing dis­cus­sion. “Also hap­pen to be a gar­dener, so I like the gar­den area. So I think it fills a need since we have lost sev­eral of those ser­vices here in the area re­cently.”

The new hard­ware store could fill a gap left by nearby Or­chard Hard­ware Sup­ply, which closed its Pismo Beach store in Novem­ber. The city has two other hard­ware stores, Miner’s Ace Hard­ware at 186 Sta­tion Way and Brisco’s True Value & Lum­ber Mill at 1005 El Camino Real.

The Plan­ning Com­mis­sion voted 4-0 in fa­vor of the changes, with Com­mis­sioner Glenn Martin ab­stain­ing be­cause he is the com­mer­cial prop­erty man­ager for the project.

WHAT BUSI­NESSES COULD BE GO­ING IN?

Ricci said some ne­go­ti­a­tions for po­ten­tial ten­ants of the site are “fur­ther along than oth­ers,” but that there are spe­cific

ten­ants in mind for the ma­jor­ity of the spa­ces. She said the only two sites with­out po­ten­tial ten­ants at this time are the two ad­di­tional re­tail spa­ces.

None of the ten­ants have been specif­i­cally an­nounced yet though, leav­ing the pub­lic to spec­u­late on what could fill the spots.

Given the size of the divvied-up spa­ces, it’s un­likely the hard­ware store would be a big-box store like Home De­pot or Lowe’s Home Im­prove­ment, since the av­er­age size of those is usu­ally up­wards of 100,000 square feet.

The pro­posed gro­cery store is slightly smaller than the av­er­age square footage of sev­eral other main­stream gro­cery brands such as Whole Foods or Sprouts Farm­ers Mar­ket, which just opened in San Luis Obispo. How­ever, it is larger than the tra­di­tional foot­print of chains such as Trader Joe’s or Aldi’s — both of which pri­or­i­tize smaller store ex­pe­ri­ences.

We do know who will likely fill the dance stu­dio space.

Coastal Dance and Mu­sic Academy owner Kathy Schultz con­firmed her stu­dio is in ne­go­ti­a­tion to fill the space at the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion meet­ing on April 2. Coastal Dance and Mu­sic Academy is cur­rently lo­cated at 1030 Hus­ton St. in Grover Beach.

“We are su­per ex­cited of course about this pos­si­bil­ity for our per­form­ing arts academy,” Schultz said at the meet­ing. “When we moved out my garage, our first build­ing was in Ar­royo Grande. ... We very much want to get back into Ar­royo Grande.”

RRM DE­SIGN GROUP

An artist’s ren­der­ing shows the po­ten­tial re­model of the for­mer Kmart build­ing in Ar­royo Grande.

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