Written by David Castellon
If all goes as planned, in about 16 months northern Fresno will have a new Hyatt hotel.
But a lot of things have to happen between now and then, and it began this morning with a groundbreaking ceremony on the 2.1-acre grass field southwest of North Fresno Street and East Alluvial Avenue.
“We’re very excited about getting started and getting dirty” on the construction, Eric Tienken, vice president of Fresno-based Construction Developers, Inc. told a small crowd gathered this morning for the ceremony.
Plans are to build the 126-room Hyatt Place here, described as an “upper mid-scale hotel” that will include a restaurant, banquet facility, a gym and a pool, said Jessica Sethi, vice president of retail for Carlsbad-based Sethi Management.
Her family’s business is developing the hotel with a partnership headed by Dr. Malik Baz, owner of the Baz Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center chain of medical clinics.
The new hotel will sit between the Allergy Institute — not affiliated with Baz — and the California Cancer Center, while the Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center is across the street.
Sethi said the hotel will employ about 40 people, and hiring will begin next year.
“It’s going to be a great addition to this neighborhood,” Al Solis, immediate past chairman of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, said of the planned hotel.
“I’m sure the hospital is excited about having a hotel across the street,”
Gay Fontana, vice president of the Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she was sure the hotel will do well, considering it’s just off Highway 41 and near the popular River Park Shopping Center.
In addition, there is a lot of new construction of retail and restaurants nearby, including the recently-opened Dave & Buster’s and the new Park Crossing shopping center under construction.
Baz wasn’t present for the groundbreaking, but Jessica Sethi noted that her family is no stranger to the hotel industry, as her father has developed others in the Fresno area and elsewhere, including the Comfort Inn Suites on West Shaw Avenue near Highway 99, which was sold last year, and the Holiday Inn at River Park.
She said her family saw a need in Fresno for the sort of hotel Hyatt Place will be and the amenities it offers, which lead to the development.