City of Fresno Envisions New Downtown Developments Near Chukchansi Park
Downtown Fresno's Chukchansi Park could get some new mixed-use neighbors and a makeover, if a new development plan advanced by city officials moves forward.
According to a copy of the proposal obtained by KVPR, the City of Fresno and the city's redevelopment successor agency are asking developers to submit plans to purchase publicly owned land near the stadium and build housing and retail developments. The project, which would cover over 5 acres, could also include a portion of land within the city-owned Chukchansi Park along Inyo Street.
The project is part of an effort to bring new life to the city's struggling Fulton Mall. Earlier this year, the city council voted to re-introduce vehicle traffic to the six block-long pedestrian mall with the hopes of attracting new development and businesses. In this latest proposal, the city says the project teams should present a mix of affordable and market rate housing with mixed-use components that will "stimulate 24 hour "live, work and play" activity in the area."
Four of the parcels are owned by city's former redevelopment agency, and are located along the south end of Fulton Mall. Another five parcels are owned by the city, including the spiral parking garage, a parking lot at Fulton and Inyo Streets, and a portion of Chukchansi Park itself, which is currently home to vehicle parking and a ramp to the field.
In the document, the city says that it intends to sell the retail portion of the spiral parking garage at Inyo and Van Ness, which at one time was occupied by the Gottschalks department store. The city says it would also considering leasing the parking garage portion of the building to the winning developer. The historic Gottschalks building next door is privately owned, though city officials say they are encouraging potential developers to "explore acquiring" the property to achieve "optimum development" of the project. Another privately owned building opposite the Gottschalks site is also a part of the proposed development.
The proposal is more vague when it comes to plans for the Chukchansi Park site. According to the document, around 66,000 square feet of the stadium site along Inyo Avenue could be sold or leased as part of the future development. The area is currently occupied by stadium personnel parking and a ramp leading to the playing field.
Since the stadium opened in 2002, city leaders have hoped that the area surrounding the diamond would attract new mixed-use investment. Those dreams have largely gone unrealized. In the mid-2000's Forest City Enterprises advanced a proposal for what it called the "South Stadium Project." The estimated $231 million redevelopment plan would have resulted in over 700 new loft apartment units and major retail developments covering nearly 50 acres. The project was canceled in early 2009 following the collapse of financial markets in the recession.