A herd of Fresno City Council members and leaders, including members of the California State Assembly, marched up and down and around the historic Fresno Hotel on Thursday for a close-up view of the renovation of the downtown building.
After sitting vacant for decades with graffiti covering the walls and hallways, and riddled with dilapidated doors and broken windows, much of the renovation is now almost complete, the Fresno Hotel will no longer be an eyesore.
The iconic building will soon be in use again, this time offering affordable housing for rent.
Fresno Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula, flaunched by fellow Assembly members Tim Grayson (D-Concord), Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) and Mia Bonta (D-Alameda), spoke of the desperate need for affordable housing in the city ââand across California.
“Fresno, which is one of the fifth largest cities in California and has one of the hottest (real estate) markets in the entire state and country, but there is a terrible irony happening here.” , said Arambula. âToo many of our residents cannot afford to buy a house in our city, and in the worst situations, they lose their homes and end up homeless.
Council members say they need more funding
Mayor Jerry Dyer, who has also been passionate about the homelessness crisis and housing affordability in Fresno since taking office, spoke about the importance of working collaboratively to address these challenges.
“Regardless of which parties people might associate with us, it is certain that we stand shoulder to shoulder, arms and arms crossed to ensure that we are providing affordable housing to our most vulnerable populations as well as home ownership. who is trying to achieve that American Dream goal, âsaid Dyer.
According to Dyer, the city has allocated $ 5 million in local funds for off-site improvements for multi-family development projects in inner-city neighborhoods. He says that often the developers cannot eliminate these projects and need the help of the government.
Council members Miguel Arias and Esmeralda Soria spoke with Assembly member Grayson about the Fresno stimulus plan and what the city still needs.
âWe have a housing crisis in the city and this is going to be a drop in the bucket for the level of need we need for new housing, especially for affordable housing,â Arias said. “We have a very conservative supervisory board, they don’t see housing as a priority.
Soria noted that it took almost seven years to establish and develop a housing trust fund and since then some progress has been made, but says there are still large funding gaps. .
“We have a big problem when it comes to allocating funds and being competitive and a lot of developers don’t want to do that because it doesn’t make sense, âSoria said. “So we need to look at state policy that will allow this kind of funding – we can’t continue to focus poverty, that’s a big ‘no no’ for communities, that’s what left Fresno to where it is. ”
The Fresno Hotel will soon be completed and will offer affordable accommodation
Arias, who has advocated for affordable housing and the restoration of historic buildings in Fresno, said the last section to be completed on the Fresno Hotel project is the ground floor, which is intended for storefronts, cafes and common areas for neighborhood events and other services.
âThe fundamental idea for the city center is that the first floors are dedicated to retail, the upper floors are for housing,â Arias said. “It will continue with this existing theme that we want to market on the first floor with large windows that people can see inside and out that invite the public into these buildings.”
Fresh paint and moldings have been added to the exterior of the building, and many living units on the upper floors are nearing completion. Cabinets, windows, mirrors, cupboards and doors were installed, including kitchen and bathroom amenities such as sinks, tubs and showers.
Arias said the developers of the project had expected the building to be open by July of this year. However, the COVID pandemic has delayed schedules due to stockouts. The project is now expected to open in early 2022.
After its completion, construction costs for the Hotel Fresno project will total $ 38 million.
Arias says a $ 5 million funding gap remains due to escalating costs for lumber and other materials.
New additions to the Fresno hotel property
With efforts to provide as much affordable housing as possible, the Fresno Hotel will be accompanied by a second five-story housing tower on one side of the property that will be built from the ground up. The developers hope to begin this project as soon as the renovation of the Fresno Hotel is completed.
âThey’re completing their financing plans for this and they already have the design and the designs, which will be at market rate,â Arias said. “It will be the same developer who is currently working on the Fresno Hotel.”
A parking garage for the two subdivisions is planned on the other side of the building.
Who will be able to live at the Fresno Hotel?
Six floors of the building will offer small and medium-sized apartments.
Smaller one-bedroom units will be rented to qualifying residents for as little as $ 800, while two- and three-bedroom units will cost $ 1,200 per month.
In total, the restored hotel will offer 79 multi-family units.
âWe haven’t started accepting yet, but it will be a very valuable commodity once they open it,â Arias said. “Some will be income-based so it will be an income eligibility process.”
Arias said he anticipates hundreds of applications will arrive on the first day they are accepted.
âThe last project we opened on McKinley and Blackstone was completed in 30 days. I expect this one to fill up a lot faster, âArias said. âSo it’s really great that we continue to develop infill development in the city. “
Visit of State Assembly accommodation
After previewing the Fresno Hotel project, officials visited several other housing sites across the city, including the Monarch in Chinatown, as well as stops at emergency shelters Poverello House and Naomi’s House.
The Monarch project is currently under construction and will consist of a four story infill community that will provide 57 affordable housing units and approximately 4,700 square feet of commercial space.
âThis tour allows us to see both the successes and the challenges that Fresno faces in dealing with the housing and homelessness crisis,â said Arambula.