Uproar over proposed Fresno mega shopping complex

FRESNO, California

The "Marketplace at El Paseo" would be built south of Herndon along Golden State. Once finished, the retail center could generate thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue.

Well think of River Park -- and now think of something similar River Park on the west side of town. The city council will have to make a decision on a project expected to bring in millions of dollars to Fresno but residents who live there say the location is just too close for comfort.

More than 60 people packed a conference room in northwest Fresno Monday night.

Most are unhappy about plans for a 238 acre retail and commercial mega center called the "Market Place at El Paseo" that would be built on this empty piece of land on Herndon and Bryan.

"It will bring jobs, it'll alleviate some others. It'll cut the pie, it's not going to give you everything they're offering. It just needs to be in a different location. I've said that from the beginning. It's a beautiful design, different spot, just not near our schools and our families." said Suzanne Lanfranco.

Lanfranco and others don't like that the project would be built near two schools where traffic is already congested.

Chris Shane is the project's developer and says the city's top traffic official is already on board with plans to alleviate the problem. Developers say they will put up the money to widen Bryan Avenue from two to four lanes.

And that's good enough for Delores Deluca. "As long as it's done properly I think it would be wonderful for us to have in this end of town because we need something over here." said Deluca.

Shane says the "Market Place at El Paseo" would create 2,500 construction and eventually 2,000 full-time retail jobs. And the city would receive roughly $3,000,000 dollars in a year in tax-revenue.

"Quite honestly I think that there could be much more done for the gateway to Fresno and that's what we're trying to create." said Shane.

City councilman Andreas Borgeas is expected to vote on the issue and says he's considering all the options before making a decision.

"My job of course is to learn and become very educated on what the issues are, to listen to the constituency and if there's a way that both the constituency and the developer can allow this project to be harmonious in the region that's the goal." said Borgeas.

The "Market Place at El Paseo" is on the city council's agenda for December 2nd.

If passed construction would begin next June and the first phase would be completed in the fall of 2012.

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