University Medical Center image via Google Earth
Written by Edward Smith
If you are in the market for a long-vacant medical building, Fresno County will be putting the University Medical Center up to bid.
The County has initiated the process to offload the property under the Surplus Land Act, according to Sonja Dosti, public information officer with the County Administrative Office. The County is looking at its operational needs for two of its offices remaining on the campus.
The City of Fresno had a proposal back in April 2021 to purchase the building with the intention of turning it into housing. But a conflict-of-interest conviction of Supervisor Sal Quintero’s former Chief of Staff Steve Rapada with Fresno-based Construction Management Group muddied the deal.
The building will most likely still become housing if it is sold, said Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau, who added that most of the proposals for the building have been for multi-family housing. The supervisors must still approve a surplus declaration.
Former state office to become housing
The State of California is seeking developers to transform a former state building into affordable housing.
A request for qualifications was released Monday for work on five properties throughout the state, including one for the old State Water Resources Control Board building at 3374 E. Shields Ave. near First Street in Fresno.
Under the Department of General Services, the properties were declared surplus with the intention of using them for affordable housing.
State officials hope to see the building converted into 200-250 units, with a focus on two- and three-bedroom units.
The surrounding properties are zoned commercial office. The state suggests a rezone to Corridor/Center Mixed Use.
The current building is 38,600 square feet on one story along Shields Avenue, bordered to the south by the Herndon Canal. The building would probably have to be demolished, the RFQ stated.
Other sites included properties in Sacramento, Covina, Atascadero and Oceanside.
Studios to be Campus Pointe’s newest housing
Lance Kashian & Co., Fresno State as well as City and County officials broke ground Wednesday on the fourth housing project at the shopping center near the university.
The project — called 3150 Studio Apartments @ Campus Pointe — will be 57 studio units on three stories.
The development will have a lobby, study area and balconies near the bars and restaurants at Campus Pointe.
Lance Kashian & Co. co-President Sal Gonzales said the project will take about 14 months to complete.
Oak Valley Community Bank provided the construction loan. Tom Walker, principal with Fresno-based Capitalize, the lending company who worked with Oak Valley, said the bank was able to provide a construction and permanent loan at a fixed rate, something becoming more and more rare as interest rates tick up.
Fresno State owns the property at Campus Pointe, with a ground lease to Lance Kashian Co. Officials with Fresno State had to approve the project.
Debbie Astone, chief financial officer for Fresno State, said housing is a top concern for students.
“We know that our students are having a hard time finding housing around the campus,” Astone said. “This is a great product where it can be affordable, convenient and something different.”
Apartment units at 3150 are market rate, as are the those at Maravillosa at Campus Pointe.
Astone said even though they are market rate, it will be priced for many seniors and graduate students.
“We know that students in some cases, especially upper class and graduate students, want maybe a single-bedroom or one-bedroom unit and sometimes those are the first ones to go,” Astone said.
Will cancelled downtown project mean changes for Fresno developers?
Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias wants the group of seven to change the way they approve major projects.
Arias wants to see the Fresno City Council require developers to have all their permits necessary before going before the council.
The change would come as councilmembers could not get the votes necessary to approve an extension for the first new building on downtown’s Fulton Street in decades.
Councilmembers Garry Bredefeld and Mike Karbassi voted against The South Stadium Project — later called The Park — which would have brought nearly a hundred housing units to Downtown Fresno. Developers had to revise the plan after the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District had scuttled the original plans, delaying the project’s commencement beyond a key deadline.
Now, Arias says councilmembers are expecting projects to be closer to shovel-ready before they come before the dais.
Coming up this year for another extension is a long-proposed housing project in Downtown Fresno from Lance Kashian & Co. at the northeast corner of Van Ness Avenue and Stanislaus Street.
Gonzales with Lance Kashian said they are still moving forward with the project.