Edward Smith">

A mixed-use project proposed for Downtown Fresno would include a viewing platform inside a parking garage to see the iconic Fresno Stamp mural completed in 2014. Images via Tutelian & Co.

published on November 19, 2020 - 3:12 PM
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The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to extend the deadlines for two major Downtown Fresno commercial building projects.

A 60-day extension was granted to Tutelian & Company, Inc. to provide documents of support from property owners in the vicinity of a proposed housing and retail development at Van Ness Avenue and Tuolumne Street.

The Fresno City Council had given Tutelian until Dec. 7 to submit an agreement by CVS, provide proof of available financing and acknowledgment by the owner of The Business Journal building, Publisher Gordon Webster, Jr., that the project would obstruct the view of the iconic Fresno Mural Stamp.

Mayor Lee Brand submitted the recommendation to extend the negotiation between the City of Fresno and Tutelian.

Tutelian has been in negotiation with the City of Fresno to acquire land owned by the City. CVS also own lands in the project’s footprint.

The project would bring 30,000 square feet of retail space and 160 multi-family residential units in five buildings. The existing CVS store would have to be relocated.

Representatives with Tutelian requested an extension because of the state of emergency declared by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Cliff Tutelian, project principal, said because of the coronavirus state of emergency, working with the City of Fresno as well as CVS has been difficult.

“We have worked diligently and worked very hard,” said Tutelian.

Over the 24 months spent on developing the project, Tutelian said his company has invested $250,000.

Fresno City Council Vice President Paul Caprioglio said that because of the holiday season, Council should give Tutelian & Co. 90 days to secure necessary documents.

Because of previous extensions, Arias said that only 60 days should be given and if necessary, they could extend the deadline. Arias has expressed concerns that the land isn’t being sold through a bidding process.

Councilmember Garry Bredefeld offered a substitute motion to grant a 90-day extension, which did not go to vote.

Arias’ motion passed four-to-three, with Bredefeld, Karbassi and Caprioglio voting against the 60-day extension.

A crew begins demolition on a building at the south end of Fulton Street to make way for the South Stadium Project in 2018. Photo by Donald A. Promnitz

 

The South Stadium Project by Mehmet Noyan and Terance Frazier at Inyo and Fulton streets is a multi-phase, multi-story housing complex that would overlook Chukchansi Park. The first phase of the project would include 44 market-rate units accompanied by 10 affordable units at 50% of area median income. The site is just shy of an acre.

Bredefeld expressed hesitation about granting another extension to the project. The extension is the 11th one granted to the project. Noyan said that much of the delay has been because of the state of California’s involvement in the affordable housing element. Noyan said that all the financing is available for the project.

The Fresno City Council gave Noyan Frazier Capital LLC a 10-month extension. The previous agreement with the City of Fresno had escrow on the project closing this month with construction being completed in April 2023. Developers now request escrow to close August 2021 with construction beginning September 2021 and completion of the project January 2024.

Developer Terance Frazier has filed a lawsuit against the City of Fresno for a separate matter regarding Granite Park, another project.

The extension passed five-to-one. Council member Esmeralda Soria recused herself from the vote due to a personal relationship with Frazier. Bredefeld was the only vote against.


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