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Fresno downtown open house: A review
I won't start this off with some pun about some developer's "lofty" idea for revitalizing downtown (great, I did it anyway). Seriously though, there has been a surge in residential developments happening in the mural/cultural arts district and for someone who's lived in the area for six or so years, the feeling is something akin to critical mass (close, but not. quite. there).
This weekend several of those projects were featured in a Downtown Open House. Organized by students from an urban entrepreneurship class at Fresno State in partnership with the developers, the event allowed Fresnans to get an idea of what urban living would look and feel like. The event seemed well attended, each of the projects seemed to have a stready stream of tourists both days and walking around the neighborhood was a joy.
For those who missed it, there is information on all the developments on the evet webpage: fresnodowntownopenhouse.wordpress.com/about
Here's my quick review:
The Mayflower Lofts. This project has been a long time coming. I pass it on the way to work and have watched it slowly take shape. So, there was a good deal of anticipation on my part. The building itself is awesome and the layouts of the units (especially the "penthouses") are what I would expect from loft living. The high-ceilings and concrete and brick walls are also nice and a totally selling point, but the finishes (on the floors/kitchen cabinets/etc.) are questionable. The larger units seem to be on the pricey side, up near what you would pay to rent/buy a house.
Fulton Village. These seem like the most marketable units on the tour. Granville (Or its GVUrban division) seems to have put a lot of thought into its target audience and tried to give them a product that is modern, sleek, affordable and somehow authentic to the area.
Pacific Southwest Building. This is the old Security Bank Building, which I've been through several times. I didn't see them on the tour but I'm operating under the assumption that the lofts haven't changed much. The fact that they are on the Fulton Mall in an actual multi-story building is a HUGE plus. The spaces are probably the most "urban" in terms of people's expections and there is no denying those views (Grizzlies games from your living room, what?). The rents seemed a bit high two years ago, though I've heard they've been reduced.
Van Ness Cottages. Three-bedroom townhouses that should appeal to young families. Big rooms with lots of closet space (seriously, the closet in the master bedroom could be rented out). They're situated almost directly between downtown and the Tower, which could broaden the appeal.
Iron Bird Lofts. I didn't tour Iron Bird because I have friends who live/have lived there. Its location (stumbling distance from Iron Bird Cafe/Fulton 55/the Lamp Post) puts residents literally in the heart of this still-forming community.