H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Jul 31, 2013 12:16 AM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

New developers envision mixed-use project on Dalidio Ranch

The Dalidio Ranch in San Luis Obispo is a property that you can clearly see off Highway 101, and it's been one of the most controversial pieces of land in San Luis Obispo County for years.

On Tuesday, KSBY spoke to the new developers, Clint Pearce of Madonna Enterprises and Gary Grossman, the president of Coastal Community Builders. The two, who said they plan on building a mixed-use project on the Dalidio Ranch, shared details of their vision.

Grossman said, "I think we're looking at this more as like a legacy. Something that we can do for the community, and in 20 years from now, look back and say, 'wow', this was really spectacular."

Grossman and his co-developer, Pearce, have a blank canvas that spans 131 acres. Rancher Ernie Dalidio put the property up for $19.75 million dollars, and it is currently in escrow.

Grossman and Pearce said their priority for the project is to serve the community's needs, which they believe are more housing opportunities. They also said one of the highlights of the project would be an organic farm.

"What we try to do is envision what this property could mean for San Luis Obispo. It's one of the last great properties that could actually do something that would be indicative and demonstrative of what San Luis Obispo is about," said Grossman.

The new developers said they are local and have been living in the area for over 20 years. They said they've been friends for nearly a decade, and when they learned that the Dalidio Ranch was up for sale, they didn't want non-local developers to purchase the property.

Grossman and Pearce also said that open land in San Luis Obispo, like the Dalidio Ranch, is much more than just future commercial space. That is why, they said, only a part of their mixed-use project plans include retail stores.

Grossman added, "The retail is really the least of the components. We brought that down from nearly a million square feet, down to probably 200,000. It might be less than that, and it's more of a neighborhood, nothing that would compete with Downtown."

"It's a mixed use project, so there'll be some retail that fits with the community. They'll be good affordable homes for school teachers and nurses, they'll be a nice business park where folks can start their small businesses, and we're looking a a possible hotel and conference center also," said Pearce.

Ernie Dalidio tried to develop his property for two decades, but after numerous city and countywide elections, and legal battles, he eventually moved on.

Pearce and Grossman still have to submit an application to the city, which they said they plan to do in the next month or so.

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