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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fresno downtown and midtown photo update!

This will be my last Fresno construction update photo dump for awhile! Once again, I've gotten far behind and my photos are quickly becoming out of date. So rather than 2-3 posts, they're all going in here!

This follows a couple of other recent photo updates:
Clovis Infill
Fresno BRT
Fulton Mall

This update contains:

Manchester Mall Revitalization
Mid-Fresno Trail pre-construction
Fancher Creek
Trolley Creek Park
Kings Canyon Steak n Shake and Del Taco (plus lack of BRT work and residential parcel).
Cosmopolitan Restaurant
H Street Redevelopment 
Greyhound Station
Community Hospital
Cultural Arts Park
Park Crossing  (Fresno 40)

This is a very image-heavy post, so be warned when you click through to continue:




Manchester Mall

A few months ago I talked about the exciting changes coming to the mall, so I went back to see the progress.

The most visible change has been at a new building outside the mall, where a couple of fast-casual restaurants are coming.


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And new signage

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However the rest of the facade had not yet been touched.

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Poor mall planning. This is the front!

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Typical Fresno, every building has an ugly back, even when the back will be clearly visible.

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We head inside the mall...

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So some sad news. While the big new project is to bring in new food to the mall, the existing food court on the second floor has gone from very sad to extremely sad.

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The one remaining business has closed.

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RIP Dairy Queen / Orange Julius

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Moving downstairs to where the new food hall is going in.

Unfortunately it was impossible to see the construction due to coverings.

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They need to fix up the escalators even if there's no point in going up, as it gives out an air of abandonment

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Walkway to the movies, hopefully that whole wall on the left gets opened up with this project. But keep the neon!

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And now we look outside. The old Gottschalks, where the new food area will be is the larger building on the right. I just came from the entrance straight ahead.

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The new food area will have an exterior plaza that will connect with the movie theater, and presumably allow outdoor eating. Nothing had been done yet when i visited.

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Unfortunately I couldn't see inside

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I hope there will be exterior renovations


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I also hope they keep all the entrances

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I'm surprised the department store would close at 7pm on a Saturday! Hopefully the new food market is open a tad later.

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Moving further back, there is a lot of parking hiding back here. That's actually good news, because this project is removing a good amount of it. Needs trees though.

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Mid-town trail

Fresno is finally getting a new bicycle trail in an older part of town. The trail will take advantage of an existing canal right of way to link to the existing Old Town Clovis trail on Clovis on McKinley Avenue, and continue west, then up to Shields, and then west again to Blackstone, in front of the Manchester Mall. Streetsblog wrote about it here.



Construction is set to begin early this year - aka, right around now - so I took a few "before" shots at Clinton and 6th, where the trail will cross a street.

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I am unsure on which side of the canal it will be

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Fancher Creek

I have no idea what's going on here. Does anybody? This "Riverpark South" has been breaking ground for about a decade at this point. It's always just around the corner. It is supposed to be a mixed-use TOD project, and will be the terminus of the fake BRT line. Don't get excited though, the site plan is atrocious.

The only posts I've done about them is when a new roundabout was constructed, and my concerns about a CVS which had some ADA problems. Which they fixed by making things worse.

Last May, the Bee said work was finally starting, so I swung by.

The existing road sort of ends....and by gosh that looks like actual construction. This is from Tulare/Fancher Creek Drive

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I had to check Google Maps to make sure it was actually new. Indeed, Streetview shows there was nothing there in June.

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It looks like a garage?

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It's Fresno, so of course there are two garages.

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I think there are supposed to be canal trains as well.

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The neighborhood has ridiculously wide residential streets.

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The rain makes these empty lots look nice. This is from Huntington Ave.

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And the view from Clovis Ave

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Future main entrance Clovis and Tulare

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Trolley Creek Park

I was heading downtown, so I stopped by the best park in Fresno.

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This place deserves its own post, so I will make one in the future.

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Kings Canyon Steak n Shake and Del Taco

Why on earth would I write about the development of new fast food?

Because shockingly a national chain entered Fresno and decided to kick things off on Kings Canyon. That's news.

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Note in the above image, if you're walking from the Wal-Mart, there is no pedestrian path to the new stores. Seriously. 

The site plan itself is as boring as can be.

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But it's a Fresno novelty.

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2017 and they're still installing garbage bike racks

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And the new Del Taco

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It is now open for business

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You can actually walk in, hooray

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I looked around for BRT work but nothing had started

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Also, this parcel across the street is set for housing development. Shame, it has some nice trees, would make a fun park

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Sidewalk graffiti. WTF

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Ahem, I headed back and noticed the double drive-thru. Sigh. Also note, if you walk in from Kings Canyon this way, you only get to go to the fast food. No Wal-Mart for you. Ridiculous.

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Cosmopolitan Restaurant 

From Kings Canyon, I headed downtown. The High Speed Rail project required the destruction of a long-time Fresno favorite. Fortunately, they took their relocation money and stayed downtown. Not only that, but they were allowed to build on a city-owned surface parking lot, making this corner a whole lot nicer.

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They do have parking of course, but it already was a surface parking lot, so that's fine.


H Street Redevelopment

Back in December, the Bee broke this good news:

Fresno developer Terance Frazier wants to create a “super block” of apartments, restaurants, brew pubs and entertainment south of downtown Fresno’s Chukchansi Park.

...

Frazier owns the entire block of warehouses on the east side of H Street between Inyo and Mono. He just bought the Pool Tables R Us building on Broadway Street, north of the warehouses, and he is buying two more downtown properties.

The H Street plan looks like this: The two buildings closest to Inyo, 752 and 740 H St., are set for demolition because they are unsafe, Frazier said. In their place would be a five-story building with 10,000 square feet of first-floor retail space and 51 apartments above, some of which will be affordable and some available at market rates. 


Unfortunately, there was some bad news.

The northernmost building, 752 H St., was built in about 1893 and is “among the oldest extant buildings in Fresno,” according to a report by Karana Hattersley-Drayton, the city’s historic preservation project manager.

Hattersley-Drayton said the building “has historical significance as a rare survivor of Fresno’s pre-20th century commercial development” and because of its association with Zapp as a local historic figure.

I'm not a fan of knocking down the oldest buildings in town. However, the plan itself is pretty cool (see the Bee article), but they should be required to preserve some of the facade.

Anyway, I took a look at what the block looks like now.


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Across the street

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I'm not confident this project will actually happen. Let's wait and see.


Greyhound Station 

About a year ago, Greyhound moved their operations over to the Amtrak station so that their building could be torn down. It is where the future high speed rail station will be. The station sat empty for about a year.

Now it is gone.

My pictures are a wee bit out of date, as in, pre-demolition.

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A couple of weeks later, it was demolished. Photos courtesy of the HSR authority:

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 The new station will sit somewhat over the historic rail station, which is being preserved

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Community Hospital

Construction at the hospital is one of the hardest things to keep updated on. For some reason, it just never makes news. So I didn't learn about the new kids ward until it was well underway.

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It is across the street from a fairly new parking garage

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As I mentioned in the Clovis update, hospitals occupy a weird place in the urban landscape. In Fresno, the hospitals are some of the tallest and densest buildings. But they're also not places you ever want to go to. And hospitals never do a good job of incorporating retail or other mixed-uses, most likely because no one ever wants to say "hey, wants to go on a date with me to the new italian spot at the hospital?"


Cultural Arts Park

I have never been a fan of the construction of the Cultural Arts Park downtown. Not because I am a monster that hates park, but because it didn't make sense. The city allowed Granville to demolish a nearby park to build apartments, and then the city demolished existing buildings (with active businesses) to build a park. Still doesn't make sense to me.

Well, the park is done now. And unfortunately, I think the final product, well, sucks. I don't think it's just me though. I follow a downtown Fresno Facebook page which had a lot of "I'm excited for the park" posts as it was under construction....and then zero talk since it opened. It's just so boring.

Looking at it straight on.

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The canopies are cool looking, and are lit at night, but functionally useless. The entrance is an expanse of concrete that leads to more concrete, and then in the fun Fresno tradition, empty grass. And in the background, we see garages.

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The bicycle racks are decent...but there's nothing else going on.

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There's a playground which I guess also works as a dog park?

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The playground equipment seems useful to only the youngest of kids.

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The best feature to me is that they kept the existing sidewalk trees.

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What is fun about this? What makes this a draw? Sure, if you live right there it's a place to be, but would you really walk more than a block for this?

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There are a couple of fitness stations in that back there, which is a good addition

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The landscaping is about as elaborate as the front yard of a tract home

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Beautiful

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This thing took like 2 years to build. Fresno does not know how to build a park...which is why I'll be doing a post about the Trolley Park, which is NOT run by the city.


Park Crossing

I could have sworn I did a full post about the Park Crossing / Fresno 40 development at  Friant and Audobon. I took over 100 pictures when it started construction a year or two ago.

Oh well. The retail portion of strip mall has been open for awhile, but I checked in to see if the residential portion and new bike trail had been built.

Nope. The new trail is supposed to link Woodwark Park with the Sugarpine trail.

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And unrelated, but nearby, the new Dave and Busters has some more of that crappy bicycle parking.

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....and that's it! All the major projects going on around Fresno, at least that I am aware of. Excluding those I mentioned at the top, and High Speed Rail of course.

I am going to try and continue doing these kinds of posts twice a year.


9 comments:

  1. Very nice post james, particularly like the pics of the Manchester Mall. They REALLY have to change the outside facade and the inside tile...just too out dated. But you forgot about the Rowell Building in DTF being completely remodeled by Ed Kashian. Finally someone with deep pockets that can get shit done the right way.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Concerning the Rowell Building, from what I understand theyre just cleaning the outside and replacing the windows, so it should end up looking almost the same. Will def be nice when/if occupied though

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    2. Aaaah hell, ok well hopefully the exterior cleaning and new windows will be noticeable to passersby and have a new fresh look. But I think they're also doing renovations on a sub basement parking garage there also.

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  2. The entire manchester mall has to be remodeled and renovated inside and out. It's so dated and simply horrible. If they dont, it will just look so awkward with new stuff then you got shit they left. The developers do seem aggessive on the project and are responding on their facebook page on criticism. I would advise you throw some on there so they can hear and consider your opinions.

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    Replies
    1. Hm, Im not seeing anything related to the remodel on their facebook page?

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    2. Anonymous I agree 100%, that's one of the probs Fresno has, they always have a habit of doing stuff half ass. They need to COMPLETELY remodel the exterior facade and interior. If they don't then people will think "its the same ole shit". Manchester Mall is old and antiquated and needs a new fresh look that "POPS". BTW Anonymous...where is this FB page that you speak of. Because I want to go to it and verbalize my opinion.

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    3. This is the page I found:
      https://www.facebook.com/shopManchesterCenter/?fref=ts

      The cover image does show a cool render of the new dining area. Hopefully it actually looks like that (with table seating as well)

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  3. Looks like Ross and Marshals are going into the mall, although I can't tell which spaces they will be using. Also looks like the new food court has been pushed back from Spring until Fall. 10 restaurants have signed up, which doesnt include Chipotle and the Habit outside.

    If they get it all done by November, this may be the best holiday season for the mall in....decades

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  4. Thanks for all the Picture and information. I still expecting the construction of Fancher Creek Town Center. Hopefully it happens before my 4 year old goes to college.

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