Two Fresno Projects Seen as Momentum

FRESNO, California One project, the Fultonia, is located south of the Tower District, an area developers refer to as "Sotow." Both projects are seen as momentum builders in an overlooked area.

The Fultonia's ten-month transformation has been dramatic - from eyesore to community asset. 39 refurbished units will help ease the need for affordable housing. All of the apartments here have granite counters.

Project architect Richard Deaver said, "It was really a squalid environment and now's its completely transformed. It's open. We've got bright colors in here."

Outside, we go from blight to a beautiful grassy area with lights. The Fultonia units will be available by summer.

Deaver added, "It's pretty safe and secure because of all the fences and gates around it."

Closer to downtown is an area developer Reza Assemi has dubbed the "mural district." Local artist FranCisco Vargas was busy painting a mural outside the Broadway Studios at Broadway and Calaveras.

Assemi explained, "This little sign will also be lit up at night and really sort of tie everything together."

Assemi's latest project is also expected to be ready this summer. The L-shaped brick building which once housed a tire shop will feature 23 apartments.

The front of each two-story unit will be made of glass. Assemi explained, "Really just open the building up and almost make picture windows."

Assemi says he's just trying to build a neighborhood. His Iron Bird Lofts are 50-percent filled and the cafe is doing brisk business.

Not far away at Fulton and Amador, Granville Homes plans to bring more living space downtown.

Assemi said, "This is the first time that I can say there are a handful of projects at the same time going on where in the last years it's literally been one to one to one."

Both Assemi and Deaver see their projects as pieces of a complicated puzzle that is downtown revitalization.

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