FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The reopening of Fulton Street has local developers making big plans. This week the city council will consider turning over property at the south end of the mall at Inyo Street for a major business and residential project, overlooking Chukchansi Park.
The plan is to build a four-story apartment and retail complex here overlooking the baseball stadium. Two small buildings will be torn down, then, across the street, the old Gottschalks store will be turned into a marketplace. They are calling it the South Stadium Project. Developers Mehmet Noyan and Terrance Frazier said the expected return of traffic on Fulton Street is making it all possible. "A great deal of confidence with the opening of the street, it's going to open the whole Fulton Street," said Noyan.
New buildings will house stores-- businesses on the ground floor-- with 50 apartments on top, most with views of the baseball stadium.
It will be up to the city council to approve, basically giving the land to the developers who will invest about $10-million. The city will apply for another $4-million in government housing and transportation grants. "I think my colleagues are very familiar with this development team. These developers are state of the art investors, and, to help them with their investments is something I think we are prepared to do," said Oliver Baines, Fresno City Council member.
The next phase calls for the renovation of the massive old Gottschalks department store across the street. "And then across the street we are hoping to do a public market along the lines of the Ferry Market in San Francisco or the Pikes Market in Seattle," said Noyan.
With a 25,000 square foot main floor, and equally large basement, the old department store has room for lots of possibilities-- and even a little mystery.
A tunnel goes under Inyo Street to connect the store to the former warehouse across the street. Who knows, it could become a downtown attraction. This development is a big deal for Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin who's fought to turn the old pedestrian mall into a street as part of an effort to revive downtown. "It's really exciting to see these projects coming together. It's been eight years in the making. Next week we will be breaking ground on the Fulton Street reconstruction project and we knew we would have private investment that would follow that public investment, and in fact, we do. We are recommending the council approve this development project tomorrow."
Council approval is the first big step. If all goes well, construction will start once the Fulton Mall is torn out and made back into a street.
That process is expected to take about a year.