Major Progress on Hotel Fresno

May 8, 2008 7:46:19 PM PDT
Hotel Fresno has been crumbling for more than a decade in Downtown Fresno, but new owners have taken over, gutted the historic building. Now they plan to invest millions to restore it to its old glory. Jake Kojikian dreams big. He and many investors are the new owners. Kojikian looks at the hotels torn up walls, empty rooms and sees a beautiful future. Kojikian said, "We are restoring this whole lobby to its original glory."

Kojikian calls a barren lobby the crowning feature. Pictures from long ago show luxurious accommodations- a gather spot where people basked on pristine furniture. Kojikian used old photos to guide the historic hotel's restoration. He plans to preserve unique features like a grape vine tile mosaic in the lobby. He said, "We want to keep this floor actually. This is a grape design from what I understand. It's got the same grape design on the fire place also."

Four years ago, Action News got a tour of Hotel Fresno. We found ceilings collapsing. Debris and graffiti were scattered everywhere. Now flash forward beyond 2008, Hotel Fresno will no longer be a hotel. Kojikian plans to renovate the structure and make it a mix of retail, office space and apartments. He has confidence the project will succeed because he says Downtown Fresno is ready to come alive again. He said, "You have a beautiful downtown. The infrastructure is there. I've seen other cities revitalize their downtowns?I think this town has that potential. I don't know maybe my vision is not the same as the vision that the locals have."

The city backed off its efforts to tear down the building, because the owners are working to renovate it. One deputy city attorney said they are still watching the project. Right now, construction plans for the building are being reviewed. The new owners hope to begin renovations in a few months.


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