Hotel Fresno renovation gets major financial boost

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- City Hall has been trying to figure out what to do with the old Hotel Fresno since it was abandoned nearly 40 years ago.

Several development efforts have fallen short for lack of money, but the latest plan got a big boost. A $20 million municipal bond issue from the state. City Controller Mike Lima released the details to the city council.

"The proceeds will be used to rehabilitate, improve, and equip a 79 unit rental housing project located in the Hotel Fresno building."

The money won't come from the city but the California Municipal Bond Financing Authority. Presuming the bonds sell, the company planning to develop the property will have it within a few months. It's encouraging news to Chris Rocha, of the downtown Fresno Partnership.

"Its taken a long time but especially after today it looks like everything is going in the right direction."

With help from the Fresno Housing Authority, the plan is to turn the hotel into affordable housing apartments. Helping provide housing for low-income residents, and restore what was once Fresno's grandest hotel.

Rocha says, "It definitely fills a need for affordable housing but also, the aspect of revitalization, this is a big success story for revitalization, this building has sat empty since 1983, it just got listed on the national register."

Rocha has documented the history and present state of the hotel on a Facebook page called Saving the Hotel Fresno. He's excited to see something finally happening.

"To see sometime like this is promising, we don't get too may project like this downtown so when we do its really exciting. "

The deal with the city requires the developer, APEC, to complete its financing by 2020. The bond deal moves them closer to the $30 million the renovation is expected to cost.
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