Makeover for historic Fresno building

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Since the 1920's the old Security Bank building has served as downtown Fresno's most recognizable building.

The Pacific Southwest building on the Fulton Mall has stood tall for generations but it is now getting a makeover from top to bottom. The bank vault in the basement offers a light show as well as new theater space. It can be used for movie night for tenants or presentations and parties. General manager Charles Atikian believes the time has come for people to venture downtown to see what the building has to offer.

Atikian said, "When a person comes down here, when they see the vault it pretty much puts them into shock."

New downtown loft apartments have been very popular. Eight tenants now enjoy the view from high above the 16-story Pacific Southwest building. Five more units should be available this summer. Hair stylist George Garcia has operated The Loft for seven years.

Garcia said, "When they get into my salon they're like oh my God I don't even feel like I'm in Fresno anymore. When I came here and saw the windows, saw the trees, and the view that was here and fell in love with the building."

The vibe reminded him of New York where he works for one week each month.

Garcia described, "Certain areas that were looked as being not the best place to be in New York and they re-did them and now they're the most popular places to be."

New chandeliers now grace the Fresno ballroom. Atikian said the venue's future was bright. The Fresno City Council has voted to re-open the Fulton Mall to traffic.

Atikian said, "The potential and possibilities are endless."

He was already planning the grand entrance from the street. "I'm booking weddings for next year, two years from now with the intention of the guests being able to drive up to the building."

Atikian hoped to add a lounge and more commercial space to the building which is owned by Sevak Khatchadourian, an investor from southern California.

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