Fresno County Administrator Jean Rousseau said the downtown Crocker Building is being considered as an alternate site for the DA's office. Photo by Edward Smith
Written by Edward Smith
Lance Kashian & Co. has broken the 10-year lease with the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office for its planned home in the downtown Rowell Building.
Fresno County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau said the county is already considering alternative locations for the district attorney’s office after building owner Lance Kashian & Co. sent a letter at the end of January to the county letting it know that its IT staff and an interior design firm would not be able to complete tenant improvements because work on the project had stopped.
Rousseau said the issue stems from a problem securing a tax credit to fund ongoing renovations of the project. He added a New Market Tax Credit — a federal program designed to provide a tax credit for capital projects in disadvantaged communities — was part of the funding mix.
Requests for comment from Lance Kashian & Co. CEO Ed Kashian were not returned, and the status of the application is unknown, though a local authority on the tax credit program said there have been delays in credit awards due to the recent tax reform law.
“Now that the new market tax credit is in doubt, the entire deal is in doubt,” Rousseau said.
It was at the end of January that Lance Kashian & Co. informed the county it would have to break the $15.12 million lease for 73,210 square feet that the board of supervisors approved in September.
At this point the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office is looking at other options should the Rowell building get taken off the table.
“The county is fully prepared to proceed with the existing agreement,” Rousseau said. “We’ve put money in the budget for lease payments. We were fully prepared to move forward. Now we’re on hold. Its temporary right now, but it could be a permanent deal-breaker.”
The Crocker Building at the northwest corner of L and Fresno streets is an alternative, Rousseau said. The Crocker Building totals 50,344 square feet, according to an online real estate listing. It recently housed the Department of Social Services before the county consolidated the department’s office space to the former Pelco campus in Clovis.
Lance Kashian & Co. had applied for both a Historical Building Tax Credit as well as a New Market Tax Credit, according to TJ Cox, president of Central Valley NMTC, LLC, a local community development entity that distributes these tax credits from the Treasury Department to investors.
Due to the recent tax bill, the disbursement of the credits from the treasury department has been delayed, according to Cox.
“The entire industry is waiting to hear the award announcements, which are supposed to come later this month,” said Cox, who is assisting Lance Kashian & Co. with the application for the New Market Tax Credit but is not involved in its final award.
As to whether or not this was the cause for the delay with Lance Kashian & Co. is still unclear.