Hotel Fresno declared historic by state commission

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A decision made in Palo Alto could spur the refurbishing of the Hotel Fresno downtown.

The State Historical Resources Commission (SHRC) deemed the Hotel Fresno worthy of being on the National Register of Historic Places. In all, 12 California sites were approved.

The Hotel Fresno has been a boarded-up eyesore since it closed in 1983, but now its historic designation could result in revitalization.

The SHRC used a PowerPoint presentation to talk about the building's significance and design before approving the bid.

The commission explained, "Hotel Fresno is eligible for the national register at the local level of significance under criterion A, the area of community planning and development for its role in the local economy as Fresno became a major transportation center."

The city's oldest hotel opened in 1913. It was the largest hotel between San Francisco and Los Angeles and drew everyone from Richard Nixon to boxer Joe Louis.

Chris Rocha of the Downtown Fresno Partnership made the trip to Palo Alto. He said, "It's very exciting. It's a big day for historical preservation in Fresno. It's a big day for downtown Fresno and a big day for the Hotel Fresno. I think we continue to revitalize with things happening like this."

The Hotel Fresno is now owned by APEC International of Los Angeles. The company has plans to build apartments on the upper level of the building.

City of Fresno spokesperson Mark Standriff said, "Having not only a new owner but someone who is actively pursuing that historic landmark status is an important move for them, so we've supported that."

The historic designation is significant because a certified rehabilitation project becomes eligible for a 20% tax credit. The classification also allows the owner to apply for federal planning and renovation grants.
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