The work happening at the former Warner Co. jewelers building at Herndon and Palm avenues has passers-by burning with curiosity about what will take over the empty space.
The answer: First American Title.
The company's lease is up at its current location just down the street and it needs a new place for its workers to handle title insurance and escrow accounts. They will make the move in April.
It's the final chapter in the Warner Co. saga that had the longtime Fresno jeweler constructing and moving to the new site in 2007. The jeweler filed for bankruptcy, moved back to Fig Garden and eventually closed after 144 years in business.
Attorney Timothy Jones and several partners operating as Palm Place Investment LLC bought the property, which had been foreclosed upon, in 2010. He declined to say how much they paid.
First American will take over the main 12,178-square-foot building, with construction workers currently adding walls, offices and conference rooms.
Jones and his partners plan to build an additional 45,000 square feet of buildings on the 4.77-acre property. They are looking for tenants before they build, whether it's retail shops, offices or a car dealership.
Jones also is involved in the Gateway Village development, a housing project near Highway 41 and Avenue 12 in Madera County.
Ag zone for farm team
The Fresno Grizzlies, the AAA baseball farm team for the San Francisco Giants, have inked a four-year sponsorship deal with Gar Tootelian Inc. and the Gar & Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation for an Agriculture Zone at downtown Fresno's Chukchansi Park.
The farm-themed area, featuring a barn facade, signs and displays as well as an oversized baseball bat leaning against the barn, is designed to celebrate agriculture in Fresno and the central San Joaquin Valley.
It will be built on the outfield concourse beyond left field in the stadium, and is due to be completed by April 11, when the Grizzlies play their first home game of the 2014 season. The Tootelian sponsorship runs through the 2017 baseball season.
The Agriculture Zone promotes the Grizzlies Farm Grown program that supports education in agriculture, health and wellness, including a Farm Grown magazine that is distributed to 100,000 students each year as part of the baseball team's Wild About Reading program.
Lemoore dairy operator and cheesemaker Barbara Martin is expanding her line of cheeses with three new types: feta, mozzarella and teleme.
Martin, who makes her cheeses under the Dairy Goddess brand, hopes the new cheeses will help grow her customer base. She currently makes a line of soft, spreadable cheeses in a variety of flavors from sweet to spicy.
The new cheeses are traditional, but with a slight twist. Her feta crumbles easily but is not as salty or sharp as other feta cheeses. The mozzarella is more of a milder, Mexican-style cheese that shreds and pulls apart easily. The teleme resembles a cross between a brie and mozzarella.
"It is a great cheese to serve at room temperature and is spreadable," Martin said. "I think people will really like it."
The new cheeses will soon be available at Peeve's Local Market on the Fulton Mall. Martin also will sell the new cheeses at the Visalia Farmers Market and later this spring at the markets in Clovis and Hanford.
Bee business reporters Bethany Clough, Robert Rodriguez and Tim Sheehan contributed to Word on the Street. It was compiled by Rodriguez. The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6327, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FresnoBeeBob on Twitter.