Property acquisition is starting in the downtown area because it will be the most complicated portion of the first phase of the project.
It's been a long wait for Brett Jayne. His muffler shop on Belmont has been on and off the High-Speed Rail Authorities' acquisition list. Now, it's definitely on.
"We didn't know if we were going to move or not, we never really heard," said Jayne. "Finally they contacted us and said you are going to move. We're going to take the property."
The High-Speed Rail Authority will buy the property to make way for a new overpass at Belmont and Weber. It will replace the more than 80 year old Belmont Subway that goes under the Union Pacific tracks. Additional properties along Belmont, all the way up to Palm will also be among the first to be purchased.
Diana Gomez said, "We hope to get out there and make some written offers for the right of way that's required for our project so we are moving ahead with that."
Gomez, the Central Valley Regional Director of the High-Speed Rail Authority says the first offers being sent out will be just the start of the process.
"Then negotiation starts, so we will come out share the appraisal with you give you the written offer, and then you will have some time to think about it, digest it, and then that's when the negotiation starts," explained Gomez.
Jayne hasn't received the offer for his place yet. "I'm hoping they will at least be fair with us."
Depending on how much he gets, he hopes to relocate to North Fresno, where most of his customers come from. Still, the shop has been in the family for more than forty years and he will miss being downtown.
Jayne explained, "I've been coming down here all my life, my grandfather and my father so it's kind of sad to see it go."
Construction on the first phase of the high-speed rail project is set to begin in July. A total of more than 200 properties will be affected by the first phase of construction from Madera to Bakersfield, through Downtown Fresno. Construction in the Fresno city limits is expected to take 3 to 5 years.