Blackstone and Shields makeover underway

FRESNO, Calif.

The idea is to breathe new life into one of Fresno's oldest neighborhoods - by cleaning up the streets and bringing new businesses to the area. So far this stretch of road is off to a great start with several new businesses opening their doors in the last few weeks.

QN4U owner Brent Walton has been serving up his award-winning sauce and his crazy BBQ concoctions at his restaurant in Clovis for the past four years. "Obviously ribs are the big deal, but we have some unique things like pigs wings, of course you've never heard of those."

But the self-professed Fresno boy says he's partial to his hometown - so he's come up with a recipe to drum up business in what he calls the heart of the city -- opening up a new location near Blackstone and Dakota.

Walton said, "It's being done from the inside, it's not the government down here telling us how to revitalize, it is people putting their own money out here and that's what will make the change. That's the difference."

He's not the only one reinvesting in the old neighborhood. On Tuesday the Park Inn by Radisson - officially opened its doors in the old Four Points hotel.

"We want to go after more of the leisure business here in Fresno, we're the gateway to Yosemite," said Lori Lascola, Park Inn general manager. So everything is about fun with this brand. You'll see colors of red, blue, yellow, very bright, vibrant colors throughout the hotel. The guest rooms are also going to be bringing those new colors in. New menus, new look for this hotel now Park Inn by Radisson."

Some big changes are also in store for the Manchester Mall. General manager Moe Bagunu says his team is working on a plan with the city to bring new stores, restaurants and offices to the shopping center. A plan that would dramatically change the look of this long-standing Fresno landmark from the inside - out.

"We're not book shelving ourselves on one tenant or a big box or whatever the case maybe we've got our eyes open for all of the opportunities out there," said Bagunu. "When we announce some of the retailers and development plans, I think we'll be excited, you'll be excited and just excited as we are."

Blueprints for a new Blackstone, that's already creating a buzz around town.

Both QN4U and Park Inn are now open for business. The Manchester Center says its working to finalize its plans and hopes to make an official announcement for the mall makeover - sometime in the next several months.

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