Atascadero — The Atascadero Planning Commission took the first steps Tuesday toward bringing a business back to the creekside property in Colony Square, the former location of Atascadero City Hall, which has been vacant since 2013.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a tentative parcel map that would subdivide the parcel into three separate properties. The City would retain two of the parcels — a 9,000 square-foot area on the west side of the property that serves as the landing for the recently constructed pedestrian bridge over Atascadero Creek and a 6,000 square-foot area at the east side of the property that serves as the Atascadero Transit Center. The third parcel, a 1.82-acre area with an office building will be sold. The land and building are currently owned by the successor agency to the City Redevelopment Agency, which was dissolved by state mandate in 2012.
“The City has decided to sell the property, which is what we’re supposed to do with old property owned by the RDA,” said Senior City Planner Callie Taylor. “It is not our desire to have a vacant building downtown, especially one so large. We want to see people in the downtown, so just having people there during the day, using the downtown, eating downtown, will be a benefit to the City.”
City Manager Rachelle Rickard said that the City is very excited to have the building sold and occupied and said that she feels that high-density office space would be a good use for the building, or “at least a majority of the building,” because it will help with the parking situation.
“Obviously, you will have a lot more parking needs for that office use during the day time, weekdays, and the rest of the center is more oriented toward weeknights and weekends,” Rickard said. “Getting those people here, it is felt, will stimulate some of those other things that we do want to see as far as restaurants and retail. As you get more people here in Atascadero during the day and not everybody going over the hill or to Paso every day, the need for those restaurants and others will do it.”
Rickard said that the person who is planning to buy the building is actively looking to lease space to businesses, although she couldn’t reveal exactly what type of businesses.
“There is a potential tenant for that that is not a restaurant space, but we believe they would be a nice tenant for that space that would work well for the city and works well with some of the other economic development type things we’re working for. We’re potentially looking at some co-working space in the building, similar to San Luis Hothouse and others, so we’re pretty excited about that too.”
At one point the property had been red-tagged as uninhabitable due to erosion of the banks of nearby Atascadero Creek, but Rickard said that those issues were resolved during the building’s tenure as Atascadero City Hall.
“The City did substantial creek bank stabilization and restoration, so that has been taken care of,” she said.