107-year-old Hotel Fresno finally being restored

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The historic Hotel Fresno will finally be brought back to life.

Built in 1912, the formerly grand hotel has been empty and left to rot since the 1980s. But a new owner has big plans, and APEC International attorney, Lefeba Gougis, said the major project is getting underway.

"We will do a complete renovation and rehabilitation of the building to Secretary of the Interior standards," he said.

The building has been declared a historic landmark, clearing the way for $27 million in special financing, and about $2 million coming from the City of Fresno's Redevelopment Agency.

The historic lobby and ballroom on the first floor will be restored with shops, Gougis said, and upstairs will become apartment units.

"On floors two through seven will be all the residential units," he said. "79 affordable housing units to serve local families here in Fresno."

It will be affordable housing for those with a family income between $14,000 and $40,000. There will be one, two and three bedroom units from 500 to 1,400 square feet.

The completion of the financing deal and start of construction is a big deal for Councilmember Miguel Arias. The hotel is in his district.

"I'm feeling like someone who's just had a newborn baby. After 35 years of this being a vacant building and a deteriorating historical asset for the city we are finally at a point of beginning construction, renovation, and preservation of a great part of Fresno's history," he said.

Over the years there have been several false starts, with different developers but the current owner, APEC International says all of its financings are in place, and Gougis says the historical aspects of the building will be carefully restored.

"We have also hired one of the premier historical renovation consultants in the country," he said.

But the rest of the work will be done by local workers, paid at a prevailing wage, and the job of turning the eyesore into a showplace is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
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