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Fresno City Council Approves Deal For Mixed Use Project Near Chukchansi Park

UPDATED 2/26:

A long-awaited development project near Chukchansi Park has earned the Fresno City Council’s unanimous approval.

The city authorized more than $1 million dollars in public money to enable developers to construct a mixed use commercial-residental building at the corner of Fulton and Inyo streets next to the park.

Council member Oliver Baines, whose district includes the project, urged support for the deal.

“This is going to demonstrate to, not only Fresnans, but the entire valley that we are revitalizing our downtown. And that we are leveraging the best asset that we have in our downtown which is Chukchansi Park,” Baines said.

The long-term plan is to build several other apartment complexes and office space in addition to the first building that will be constructed on what is now a parking lot.

Groundbreaking on the project to turn Fulton Mall back into a street is set to begin next week.

The developers say they will not start construction of their new building until the road project is complete. After that, it will take about a year to finish.

Original: 

Nearly 15 years after it opened, Chukchansi Park may have finally spurred the type of development that its backers envisioned. At least that's the plan that goes before the Fresno City Council Thursday, as part of a proposed $14 million mixed-use development just beyond the stadium's outfield wall. 

The council will be asked to set aside over $1 million in public money to help support the "South Fulton Street Project" including the sale of a parking lot on Fulton Mall at Inyo Street. Developers Terance Frazier and Mehmet Noyan envision a four story building on the site, with 51 residential units built over 10,000 square feet of retail space, and 50 parking stalls. If successful, it could be followed by four additional phases including a public market and even development on a portion of the stadium site itself.

But as with many downtown revitalization projects, the actual deal is considerably more complicated. The parking lot and two adjacent buildings on Fulton Mall are owned by the successor to the city's former redevelopment agency. RDAs across the state are currently in the process of selling off land they accumulated before Governor Brown dissolved the agencies several years ago. 

In the case of the Noyan/Frazier project, that's where the city council steps in. On Thursday the council will be asked to purchase three lots from what was the city's redevelopment agency for $432,000. As proposed by city staff, the council would then agree to sell the land to Noyan and Frazier for just $3.00, and enter into a development agreement with the group. The city has also agreed to apply for $711,000  from Measure C's transit oriented development fund to subsidize the project. City documents also indicate another $495,000 city contribution to the project in the form of waived development fees. 

Noyan and Frazier hope to use the city funding as leverage to generate additional dollars from Sacramento, including $3.2 million in affordable housing money from the state's Strategic Growth Council. Other project funding could include federal tax credits, as well as $7 million in private financing and $1.4 million in equity from Noyan and Frazier. 

While the project does aim to provide some affordable housing units, others in the development will be market rate. According to projections from the developers, a two bedroom market-rate apartment in the project would rent for $1,700 a month, a figure that doesn't include parking. Affordable units, which will make up 20 percent of the project will rent for under $500 a month. 

While the development may still be many months from breaking ground, both the city and project backers face a tight timeline. The Fresno COG which administers the Measure C funds has set an application deadline of February 26th, the day after the council is set to vote on the deal. Initial applications for the state funding are due next month. 

Project Details:

51 residential units / 10,700 sf retail space

Overall cost: $14 million (phase 1)

City contributions (including impact fee waiver, Measure C, land): $1.6 million 

Developers Equity: $1.4 million

Private Financing: $7 million

State Funding:$3.1 million

Tax Credits: $700,000

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of Valley Public Radio. During his tenure, he's helped lead the station through major programming changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining the station's financial health. From 2010-2018 he served as the station's Director of Program Content. In that role, he also served as the host of Valley Edition, and helped launch and grow the station's award-winning local news department. He is a Fresno native and a graduate of California State University, Fresno.
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