Granville President and CEO Darius Assemi, right, speaks at the groundbreaking for "The District" apartment community in Fresno's Tower District. Socially distanced behind him, from left to right, Mike Karbassi, Annalisa Perea, Esmeralda Soria and Miguel Arias. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
Fresno’s Tower District will be seeing a new construction project for the first time in over a decade.
On Wednesday afternoon, Granville Realty held a groundbreaking for an 18-unit apartment community with single rooms on the corner of Van Ness and Alhambra avenues, behind the Veni Vidi Vici restaurant.
Granville Homes President and CEO Darius Assemi, along with Fresno City Council members Esmeralda Soria, Mike Karbassi, and President Miguel Arias, were invited to the site of the future apartment community, called “The District.”
The project will feature 18 units with garages, stainless steel appliances, in-unit washers and dryers and Granville’s energy saving features in a transitional, mid-century modern style.
Arias said he and other council members reached out to Assemi to see what could be done with the empty lot across the street from Oggi Cosi Si Mangia Italian restaurant, which had been empty for decades.
“This is a perfect location and a perfect time to reinvest in the Tower District. We appreciate coming back, after more than a decade, to rebuild Tower to the kind of jewel that it is for the city of Fresno,” Arias said.
With its close proximity to the eateries, bars and local nightlife in the Tower District, Arias said “The District” would provide an attractive living option for young people in the area.
The lot remained vacant for so long because of underground contamination, which required costly mitigation. Granville stepped forward to clean up the site to create a market-rate housing project that will attract young professionals.
Arias said that there are a not a lot of empty parcels in the Tower District, which is why it’s important to build quality projects with high density that offer amenities that young people are looking for.
“Many of our tenants asked us ‘hey can you build something close to the Tower District so that we can walk to a lot of the places that we frequent,’” Assemi said. “We’ve been looking for property for a long time and this finally became available and we are very excited to get it off the ground.
Assemi said the cost to build the apartments stands at an estimated $4 million.
The apartments are slated to completed by the end of next year.