Category: Retail

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:

2011

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

Here’s what we have now:

20180101_163935

I like the sign.

20180101_163952

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

20180101_163959

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

20180101_164008

I really like this indoor/outdoor dining area.

20180101_164034

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

20180101_164052

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

20180101_164107

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

20180101_164110
20180101_164125

Reminds me of a motel.
20180101_164233

By comparison…

20180101_164133

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

20180101_164145

Plaza to the right, Pollasky to the front

20180101_164223

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

20180101_164202

20180101_164253

20180101_164300

Plaza in the center looks nice.

20180101_164305

On Pollasky, this is the front.

20180101_164346

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.

20180101_164352

20180101_164433

20180101_164416

20180101_164423

And from a little bit down the street.

20180101_164504

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:

 

20180101_164659

20180101_164624

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.

20180101_165136

20180101_165151

20180101_165233

20180101_165248

20180101_165306

20180101_165350

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.

20180101_163127

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

20180101_163133

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.

20180101_163150

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

20180101_163203

No idea if this parking is legal.

20180101_163209

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

20180101_163221

The trail is pretty popular.

20180101_163303

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

20180101_163306

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

20180101_163320

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

20180101_163334

The other new one has nicer shielding.

20180101_163343

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?

20180101_163409

And then the fence for the homes that front Sierra.

20180101_163431

20180101_163503

20180101_163518

Boring boring boring

20180101_163533

Lots of bikes out though.

20180101_163548

 

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.

IMG_0587_28626

IMG_0588_28627

I am impressed that both buildings went up.

IMG_0589_28628

IMG_0590_28629

IMG_0591_28630

IMG_0592_28631

IMG_0594_28633

IMG_0595_28634

IMG_0598_28636

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

20170901_190232

20170901_190455

20170901_190900

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.

IMG_0585_28624

IMG_0583_28622

IMG_0581_28620

IMG_0578_28617

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!

20170901_212250

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).

20170901_212700

Bonus:

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

20170901_192755

20170901_193420

They have a museum I had never noticed.

20170901_202849

20170901_203233

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=&

Clovis Infill – A Photo Update

It feels a little odd talking about infill in Clovis. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, as the city is known for its endless subdivisions. And yet in 2017, Old Town Clovis appears to have almost as much infill construction as Downtown Fresno going on.

I reported on two of these projects in July 2015, but I’ve added a few other ones here.

  • Centennial Plaza
  • La Quinta Inn
  • Rail-Trail Housing
  • New Library
  • Sierra Meadows Park
  • Clovis Community Hospital

Centennial Plaza

Let’s start with the big one: Centennial Plaza. This is the heart of Old Town on Pollasky, and I last took a look in May 2016 when the new plaza was finished. That update was focused on the street improvements, but now new buildings are rising up to frame the plaza.

Only 3 stories tall, the new building does make an impression in a downtown where a second story is a novelty.

IMG_0090_24562

IMG_0092_24564

IMG_0095_24567

No basement here

IMG_0097_24569

Close to the street

IMG_0099_24571

IMG_0102_24574

IMG_0103_24575

IMG_0105_24577

Construction has also started on the building framing the other side of the plaza

IMG_0107_24579

IMG_0098_24570

IMG_0093_24565

IMG_0094_24566

La Quinta Inn

A wee bit south, we find construction has finally started on La Quinta Inn. I reported on this one in May of 2015. Aside from building on a vacant lot, what makes this development interesting is that the hotel will be built over parking. This signals that demand for development in Old Town has increased to the point where large surface parking lots no longer make economic sense.

It’s a start.

IMG_0111_24583

IMG_0113_24584

IMG_0114_24585

IMG_0115_24586

IMG_0117_24588

IMG_0119_24590

Rail-Trail Housing

In that same post from July of 2015, I talked about an approved plan to build new homes on an oddly shaped lot at Sierra and Clovis. What made the plan unique was that two of the homes would front the regional bicycle trail.

Construction has begun:

IMG_0059_24531

The existing homes are very modest

IMG_0037_24509

The alley will allow for rear driving access

IMG_0039_24511

IMG_0040_24512

The existing homes are getting carports added

IMG_0046_24518

Construction 

IMG_0041_24513

IMG_0042_24514

IMG_0044_24516

 View from the trail

IMG_0049_24521

IMG_0051_24523

IMG_0052_24524

IMG_0053_24525

New Library

The existing Clovis library is a disgrace. It’s about twenty years overdue for a replacement, and fortunately, one is coming soon.

Here we see the completed Old Town trail, looking towards the new library complex

IMG_0060_24532

IMG_0062_24534

Nothing has started yet, but it is expected soon.

IMG_0063_24535

The new complex will be behind this existing resting point

IMG_0065_24537

As an aside, that little station has a trail map which is actually updated every year

IMG_0077_24549

IMG_0068_24540

Looking north, the property is still on the right

IMG_0069_24541

It will link to Clovis Avenue

IMG_0071_24543

Here is the exterior of the existing library, which will be retained as another government building

IMG_0088_24560

Odd?

IMG_0082_24554

IMG_0083_24555

I stopped by on a day they were closed. Whoops. However, you can see how narrow the building is…

IMG_0084_24556

IMG_0085_24557

Sierra Meadows Park

Moving to the more suburban areas, we have Sierra Meadows Park. This is quite possibly the slowest park project in California. It appears that every year they add one little feature. Over the past five years, they’ve added benches, some lighting, and bags for dog waste. 2017 is supposed to see the arrival of restrooms.

IMG_0007_24479

IMG_0012_24484

This might be where the new restrooms are going

IMG_0009_24481

Someone posted an overhead video on Youtube taken from a drone. It does an excellent job of showing that 90% of the park is still just empty space. The plan includes adding a lake, auditorium, playground etc. Maybe by 2030?

Clovis Community Hospital 

This hospital doesn’t stop growing. Admittedly, the one type of development I rarely follow is that related to hospital construction. While they’re open to the public, they’re not quite public spaces. They’re also very insular.

IMG_0017_24489

However I stopped by to see if any work has been done on connecting the regional bicycle trail network. Green shows what exists, red what is proposed.

community1

The Clovis Trail maps show the proposal

IMG_0066_24538

I did find some trail, which appears to have been built in the past two years. Not the connector though.

IMG_0022_24494

IMG_0023_24495

IMG_0024_24496

Walking to 168 to see where the tunnel would go

IMG_0025_24497

IMG_0026_24498

And I think that’s it for Clovis. The infill anyway. Like always, there are 500+ homes tract under construction at the city edge.