Imagine a regenerated downtown Fresno where it is once again the heart of Fresno. Imagine a place where you can live, work, and eat all within walking distance. By capitalizing on the on the high-speed train station, introducing new housing, and attracting businesses, downtown Fresno will be reestablished as the entertainment, healthcare, sports, specialized retail, and cultural center of the San Joaquin Valley. This is the vision for the new downtown Fresno.
Mayor Ashley Swearengin has been working towards this goal for seven years and was thrilled when on October 18th, the City council voted unanimously to move forward with the development of a new Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan and the Fulton Corridor Specific Plan, as well as a new Downtown Development Code. All of these ordinances will result in established building standards, residential densities, and permitted land uses within the 7,290-acre area in and around downtown.
The Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan includes downtown as well as encompassing residential neighborhoods. The plan entails land-use, development planning, streets and infrastructure, historic resources, parks, and community services. In time, the community will gain 10,000 housing units, apartments or houses, and about 15,000 new residents.
The Fulton Corridor Specific Plan focuses on the historic 655-acre center of downtown. Most of the housing for the Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan is expected to take place in this area. It is projected to have 6,300 units and about 12,000 residents. The Fulton Corridor Specific Plan is aimed toward having commercial and mixed-use development projects.
The New Downtown Development Code was made in order to create a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use metropolitan center. For example, on certain key streets such as Fulton Street and Kern Street, developers are required to incorporate retail or restaurants on the ground floor of buildings.
Since a lot of the area is zoned for both commercial and residential, it allows developers to be able to bypass certain steps for getting permits. It allows for a wide range of different uses under the zoning rules.
How quickly this project will be up and running depends on a number of factors: the availability of money in the future, how well they meet grant criteria, the level of community support, and getting the project fully ready to apply for funding.
Fresno residents can now see an opportunity to rebuild downtown Fresno to its potential.