Written by The Business Journal Staff
On the north side of the plaza, construction has finally began on the 12,000 square-foot Realty Concepts building, which will house the offices of 50-60 Realty Concepts, Lending Concepts and RC Commercial associates, as well as House of JuJu, a popular locally-owned restaurant relocating to the bottom floor of the building.
Just a few steps south, an 18,000 square-foot building owned by Clovis developer Roger Petersen — who is best known for creating Clovis shopping centers like The Trading Post and Willow Station — is also coming along, as steel beams appear to be finished and framing is set to begin soon.
Not all the tenants for Petersen building have been officially announced, but Petersen said an engineering firm will have offices on the second floor and two-thirds of the first floor will be occupied by Fresno’s first Blast & Brew chain location. Blast & Brew is a pizza joint featuring a self-pour taproom. It is operated by Milano Restaurants International, which also operates Me-N-Ed’s franchises throughout the Central Valley. The first floor will also house a locally owned women’s boutique, Petersen said.
Construction on both buildings is scheduled to be complete by the summer, with tenants moving in and opening by the fall.
While many may assume the buildings will match, Petersen and Realty Concepts President JP Shamshoian say each building is unique.
“The two buildings are dissimilar looking,” Shamshoian said. “We did our own thing and they are doing theirs, but they are similar in the sense they are both high-quality. We didn’t take style cues from them and vice versa.”
Shamshoian said the Realty Concepts building will resemble much of existing Old Town buildings on the exterior, but the inside of the building will have all the modern amenities.
“On the outside, we’ve gone to great lengths to make our building look and feel like Old Town Clovis with weathered brick and windows reflecting the RC logo,” Shamshoian said. “We have a very classic Clovis look on the outside, but when you come inside, you’ll be transported to an urban loft feel environment. We’re excited about the juxtaposition of styles.”
Meanwhile, Petersen said his building will somewhat match the firehouse next door and be reminiscent of his other signature projects, which always include brick and wood.
“We’re trying to mix it up,” Petersen said. “The Shamshoian’s building will be brick, but ours will look more like the fire station with stucco, brick and some metal blended in even. It will be something new, but have old elements as well, like old window treatments. Brick and wood is my unspoken signature when you look at my shopping centers. I always use brick because it lasts. It’s permanent. Brick doesn’t go out of style.”
While the buildings differ in style, the owners do share the same enthusiasm for Old Town.
“There is great momentum in Old Town, and while there has been some construction on Clovis Avenue, there has been nothing new on Pollasky for a long time,” Shamshoian said. “Deciding we wanted one of the two buildings was an easy decision…We believe in the future of Old Town and Clovis in general.”
“I’m a Clovis guy,” Petersen said. “I’ve lived here for 40 years and I have a good relationship with the City of Clovis. With the old DMV site, the Centennial Plaza, I had to bid on it…This is a great opportunity. I love Old Town and the feel of it, and my wife and I try to do all our shopping in Clovis. Our kids grew up here. This building isn’t huge, but it makes a statement. The city has great ideas for Old Town and eventually I see more opportunities in Old Town.”
Julie Glenn, who owns the House of JuJu and an Old Town coffee shop, On The Edge, with her husband Scott, said she too is excited about the future of Old Town and feels blessed to be relocating House of JuJu to the ground floor of the Realty Concepts building.
“It is really exciting and it means we will be able to better serve the community and our customer base,” Glenn said. “Our current location is small and our wait list has been really long. We kept track of it and one evening we had nine groups who decided not to wait. That is a lot of people who wanted to eat at our restaurant but weren’t seated promptly because of our small space. The new restaurant will be double the size and it will have a banquet room so we can host events.”
In addition to more space, House of JuJu will also be able to expand its menu to include seafood items currently found at its sister location in Morro Bay.
Shamshoian said the House of JuJu is the perfect tenant for the bottom floor, as the Glenns’ vision parallel’s Realty Concepts. Shamshoian also said mixed use buildings like this are convenient and have been successful in larger cities.
“I spent a lot of my early 20s in larger cities and mixed-use buildings like this make so much sense to me,” Shamshoian said. “Millennials especially like the convenience. One cool thing about the Central Valley is we have proof that the concept works from what we’ve seen in other places, as we’ve seen it play out in other cities for the past 20 years. We’re not reinventing the wheel, just installing it in Clovis.”