New Central Fresno development officially opens

FRESNO, Calif.

A grand opening ceremony has been held for the Van Ness Cottages.

The local builder responsible for the apartments chose to build the development in an older, Central Fresno neighborhood, and it was collaboration with the city that helped make it happen.

Freeway 180 and Van Ness Avenue mark the line between Fresno's Tower District and the Lowell District, a place with stately old homes and residents of all ages.

The area's latest addition has been made possible by Fresno's soon-to-end redevelopment agency.

"It's probably 20 some projects still in the pipeline but after that all of the money goes away," Fresno City Councilman Larry Westerlund said.

The city's redevelopment agency, in partnership with the urban side of Granville Homes, turned an empty lot into 20 two-story apartments with two car garages.

Wednesday brought an open house for some, but not Joanne Carrasco. She moves in next week.

"I've been living in northeast for so long and you always hear bad things about downtown, but it's really nice here," Carrasco said.

Carrasco's enthusiasm is just what the city's redevelopment agency and Granville Homes hoped for at Van Ness Cottages.

"We want to be part of downtown revitalization, that's very important to us. No city can be successful without a successful downtown," developer Darius Assemi said.

Patricia Betancourt likes what she saw, including the solar-powered electricity and the large space.

"Where I live right now it's a one bedroom apartment but here's a three bedroom so it's more for my girls," Betancourt said.

All the units are the same, but low income families' may be eligible for a lower rent in accord with redevelopment agency guidelines.

The state funding will end soon but money is supposed to be available to complete the 20 plus projects still in the pipeline in Fresno.

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