Category: Retail

Belated Downtown Fresno Photo Update

I went downtown a couple of months ago (January) to take photos, as I usually do. I hesitated on posting them because frankly, not much has changed over the last year. This is in contrast to five years ago, when there was always a new building popping up.

Then corona hit, and the photos seemed even less relevant, but now I’ve changed my mind on that. With the virus, everything is essentially frozen in time. Nothing is under construction, nothing will be open any time soon, and nobody is lining up to lay down piles of cash on new development. That is, even if the virus suddenly disappeared tomorrow, there are too many questions about the economy for investors. Will people get their jobs back? Will there be a change in demand for office space? Click to read more!

Your Annual Manchester Center Photo Update

Is it really a construction update if not much construction is going on? Perhaps that’s a bit of a spoiler as I do my annual tour of what’s going on with Manchester Center. As a reminder, here are some previous posts on the topic:

The photos I’m posting today are a few weeks old, but with these timelines, who cares?

We start outside where the only real changes could be found. Ironically, all the construction has taken place at Sears – which is owned independently. That is, while the Sears building is connected to the mall, it’s not part of it. If you weren’t aware, last year Sears decided to empty out half their store and lease the space to two (or three?) other companies. This year, they decided to vacate the remaining space as well (hence the store closing signs). Click to read more!

Fresno Launches Parklet Program

The Business Journal reported last week that Fresno has launched a parklet pilot program. (Header image is theirs).

A parklet is a low-cost, mini park that is built in what used to be a parking space (or two, or three). The intention behind them is to turn a space previously used for private car storage into something that can be used by everybody. In many cities, they are built in partnership with a local business, usually a food-related one, to create new outdoor seating. In most cases, the businesses agrees to maintain the parklet, but they are not allowed to restrict it to customers.

A parklet in southern New Jersey

The first one opened by Bitwise as a way to provide some outdoor space for the company. Click to read more!

Sears Closing: What does it mean for Manchester Center?

It was inevitable, but it still comes as a shock: the Sears at Manchester Center is closing.

Last time I toured Manchester Center, in January 2019, I asked “what will happen first: the food hall opens, or Sears closes?” Now we have our answer.

Last January, the store was shrinking.

While Sears may not be the hottest shop in town, it still draws some shoppers. The Sierra Vista location, which they lease, is profitable enough that it will remain open (at least for another holiday season). Their Manchester Center rent is zero, as they own the building and the land it sits on. While the store is connected to the mall, it’s not actually part of it, which is why the store entrance is not centered (title image). Click to read more!

January 2018 Old Town Clovis Construction Update

All the changes at FAX took my attention last month, but now I finally have time to post my latest update on the changes going on in Old Town Clovis!

Previous updates:

September 2017
February 2017
May 2016
July 2015
February 2015 

We start in the center, which is the area surrounding the new Centennial Plaza. Construction here is all done, and the new new buildings and plaza are looking good.

For reference, this is what the area looked like in 2011, according to Google Streetview:

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And after the plaza was built, but before the buildings went up:

Here’s what we have now:

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I like the sign.

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Everything looks good except this little service alley – way too exposed.

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Sidewalk is tight, but it wasn’t a big lot.

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I really like this indoor/outdoor dining area.

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Moving to the side of the building. The entrance to the dining area is via the plaza.

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And the back. They did a really good job here, as this side is just as attractive as the front.

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This is what the other new building looks like from the back. Not as nice.

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Reminds me of a motel.
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By comparison…

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Ok, moving to the second building, there is also retail on the first floor. Here is the entrance.

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Plaza to the right, Pollasky to the front

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It is part of the Me n Eds chain. This is the view from the street.

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Plaza in the center looks nice.

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On Pollasky, this is the front.

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This entrance is a disappointment. The stairs lead to an entrance to Blast and Brew…but a sign points you to the side. There is also a retailer up these steps.

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And from a little bit down the street.

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For reference, this is what was proposed, specifically the building on the right side of the plaza. The clock feature wasn’t built, the retail isn’t at street level, and windows were removed.

Final photos of this project:

 

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Overall a success, although I would declare the building on the left the winner.

It’s good added infill in “downtown” Clovis, and improves the street. Instead of a parking lot, there are two new buildings with retail on the ground, and a decent product above them.

Moving away, we see progress on the hotel being built on Clovis Avenue. This one is “special” because the parking will be underneath the building, something uncommon in the area where surface parking dominates. Construction has been really slow.

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It’s ok.

And finally, our last bit of Clovis infill. These new homes are unique because they front the Fresno-Clovis rail trail, instead of a street. I was excited to see what they’d do, but the end product is pretty disappointing.

Part of the project included building the same crap you see everywhere else, except the driveways front Sierra, which is rare for new development.

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Here is the alley where vehicles can access the new trail homes, on the right.

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The back of these homes looks like the front of most other places, except the fence is there to hide the backyard. It looks odd.

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I feel like they should have just fenced the entire back yard in.

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No idea if this parking is legal.

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And there we see the bike trail and an existing hotel.

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The trail is pretty popular.

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Looking back at the new homes, the front is a whole bunch of fencing too.

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It’s like a house with no front or back, just sides.

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Ok, fine, this is the front. But it sure is ugly. Windows too expensive these days?

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The other new one has nicer shielding.

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I understand they would want a fence to make it clear this is a private property and not part of the trail, but why does it look like a chicken coop?

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And then the fence for the homes that front Sierra.

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Boring boring boring

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Lots of bikes out though.

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So that’s it for Clovis infill!

Once that hotel is finished, I’m not aware of any “real” infill construction in the city coming up. And no, I don’t count a CVS being built on a strip mall parking lot as infill. That’s a little disappointing. The first project here is a big win, and the other two are better than the status quo. Shame nothing is in the pipeline. I guess my attention will shift back to Downtown Fresno, which had a couple of years of construction inactivity (aside from Fulton Mall), but is supposed to be picking up again.

Is the Manchester Center Food Hall Really Coming?

I love food halls, or em, an “artisan food community”. I’ve enjoyed them in Los Angeles, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. So naturally, I was excited when one was announced for Fresno back in September 2016. Especially because the location was to be inside the Manchester Center Mall.

The plans include a new mall entrance, a redesigned facade with signage, a marketplace or “artisan food community” for chefs, food trucks and restaurants, an exterior shopping area and an outdoor events plaza.
Fresno Bee

At the time, it was supposed to be ready “a long way off, probably opening in late spring of 2017, Bagunu says, though construction has started.”

In January 2017, this was the update:

Inside the mall, renovations are going hot and heavy in the former Gottschalks store, though you wouldn’t know it because windows covered in black plastic hide the mess. It’s the beginning stages of what the mall calls a marketplace – essentially a fancy food court. Click to read more!

Fresno Fulton Mall / Street September 2017 Construction Photo Tour

This is a comprehensive look at the Fulton Mall (future Fulton Street) in Fresno, 2 months before construction is scheduled to end. Fresno is spending around $20 million to eliminate a pedestrian mall and re-open it to vehicles and vehicular parking. The intention behind it is to bring economic vitality to the corridor.=&0=&

Old Town Clovis Construction Update

I must admit, losing all those photos in the old blog posts was discouraging. While I still have all those photos saved on multiple hard drives, there are just too many to find, upload, and relink. It essentially made years of posts useless.

And that discouragement made July suddenly turn to September.

But I am back now, with fresh photos that will be hosted on Flickr. Are there any guarantees that Flickr won’t do the same thing? Nope, but I guess that’s a risk we must take.

I’m starting with a nice and easy post: a look at the newest construction in Old Town Clovis.

Last updates:
February 2017
May 2016 

The most obvious change is that the two new buildings next to Centennial Plaza are almost done. Not only are they new (a novelty in old town), but they’re the biggest yet. 3 stories isn’t exactly a skyscraper, but they do make an impression, and frankly, a nice one. I’m not in love with the architecture, but it will do.

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I am impressed that both buildings went up.

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And here they are seen on a day where the air quality wasn’t quite the best

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The only other development in Old Town Clovis right now is the new hotel which will be placed over parking. Not the most exciting development, but I believe this makes for more non-road construction happening in Downtown Clovis than Downtown Fresno.

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And finally, Sierra Vista Mall, just outside Old Town, has a great new laser tag arena + kids play area. The laser tag was a blast!

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High tech too. You can watch other people play, and they have someone monitoring to make sure no one is cheating. Other high tech features include multiple weapon types + a health system (you can be a medic).

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Bonus:

Don’t forget to check out the Farmer’s Market before the season ends!

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They have a museum I had never noticed.

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Next post will be a complete look at construction on the Fulton Mall.

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!=&0=&=&1=&