Friday, February 22, 2013

Comment on newest GV Urban proposal

GV Urban is the subsidiary of Granville Homes which has brought us the only residential development downtown has seen in decades. You know them from the Iron Bird Lofts, Fulton Village, Van Ness Cottages and a few others.


This past week they announced their newest project, which involves the Met block.

The site is home to the former museum, an abandoned commercial building (which GV owns and plans on restoring), a public park, and empty space in what used to be two buildings - the city knocked those down for free.

The block now

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The block previously

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GV plans to keep the Met and the other existing building, and erect residential structures around them. The public park would be taken away and replaced by a private green accessible only to residents.

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As great as it is to see further residential development downtown, the project is far from inspired. The actual buildings would be the very same ones erected twice now on Fulton, but with a new facade - one which comes off as tacky in the rendering. The height wouldn't match the Met, and the circulation plan includes two driveways on Calaveras. The sidewalk looks small and offers no interaction but a dead wall.

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As per all their other projects, all the parking would be on the ground level and in a central surface lot - no underground or structured parking. In fact by area, the majority of the site would be devoted to parking.


I'll be doing a deeper analysis into the problem of the site plan, but for now, I recommend leaving them a comment, either through their Facebook page or their website.

Tell them you welcome their development, but that Fresno deserves something we can be proud of for fifty years. Such a prime block should see excellent architecture, fantastic pedestrian accommodations and welcoming public amenities. 

Opposing the current plan doesn't mean opposing development, it means striving for something better. We shouldn't settle for something sub-par because of the fear that any objection will lead to GV abandoning downtown.


6 comments:

  1. Some additional infor for you.
    The office/retail section is being done by Reza Assemi as well at the old Theatre 3 building. The office/retail component will be built using cargo container architecture.
    Also, the city is still giving a little push back on this project. The city planning division wants the height to match at least the Met building but ideally fall some where between the Met and the AT&T brick building on the south end. Also the city wants to see the amount of units at least doubled from what Granville is now proposing (first they had propsed about 100 units, then 75 units, then 69 units and then as low as 55 units).

    James Sponsler
    Fresno Reborn

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    1. Thanks for the information. Whats worrisome about the retail is that theyve had no luck leasing the fulton village stuff because they refuse to allow alcohol with food service.

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    2. Yes. They are also asking too much for all their commercial which is why Bizworks and the building they own at Belmont/Fulton sit nearly empty.
      M Street is moving slowly to completion becuase they have liitle interest in commercial rentals in Downtown at Shaw Ave and north prices. What I have also learned is you may see them drop the pricing for all the commercial in the next six months.
      James S
      Fresno Reborn

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    3. The thing about Shaw avenue rents.....is that judging by the high vacancies on shaw, people dont want to pay those rents for that location either.

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  2. I have always been fascinated by this property. When I read that Mr Assemi was the recent buyer of the old PG&E building (Theatre 3), with the intention of turning it into a commercial space for food and entertainment, I thought it was a great idea. Then I started reading the City of Fresno's reports to the City Council and the City of Fresno Cultural Arts Properties, Inc.(COFCAP)regarding the sell of this property to Mr Assemi. In the reports it explains the on-going rapid deterioration of the building from ramped theft of the copper wiring to a fire started by a make-shift interior homeless camp that resulted in scorched surfaces and major flooding in the basement. All in all, the property value was estimated at $177,000, but if you add the cost for major renovations - my guess is that the coast will be three times the amount for purchasing the property. I just hope that there are enough investors to work with Mr Assemi into turning this property into a sparkling jewel, like the Warnor's or the SJP building (The Grand).

    If anyone is interested as I was about the sell and condition of this historic building and what the terms of sale were between Mr Assemi and the City of Fresno, check out this link: http://www.fresno.gov/CouncilDocs/agenda4.11.2013/135.pdf

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    Replies
    1. Have you been by recently? Has there been any change in construction?

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