Ground broken on Vallarta Supermarket and shopping center in Fresno

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The metal pylons that once held a sign advertising Fresno's Mid State Bowl were brought down to start the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Mid State Shopping Center. (KFSN)

The metal pylons that once held a sign advertising Fresno's Mid State Bowl were brought down Wednesday to start the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Mid State Shopping Center. The main attraction will be a 45,000-square-foot Vallarta Supermarket.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin noted the long delays in getting the project started. "What an exciting day to be here and to officially break ground on a project that has been so long in the making," she said.

It's taken 10 years to actually break ground on the project. Developer Mehmet Noyan and his partners see a big boost for the area around Clinton Avenue and Highway 99. "This will be a $15-$20 million investment when it's all done," he said. "So every corner should benefit, the vacant lots around us should benefit, the buildings around us should upgrade, so this is redevelopment without using redevelopment money."

This will be the third Vallarta Supermarket in Fresno. The stores are geared to Hispanic tastes and have been expanding, with nearly 50 stores in California. Company spokesman Rick Castillo explained why the chain has been expanding, while many other supermarkets are going out of business. "Our secret has been delivering a good product, a quality product at a good price," he said. "That's been our motto since day one, and I think that's been testament to the success."

City Council Member Esmerelda Soria sees it as a real benefit to the neighborhood. "The nearest grocery store is about a two-mile drive, so all the neighbors are extremely excited to know that we will have a grocery store in our neighborhood," she said.

There is a small market a short distance away. The owner told Action News he will do his best to compete.

The Mid State Shopping Center's easy access to Highway 99 is also expected to draw shoppers from throughout the Valley. The Vallarta store is expected to be open in less than a year.
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