Gone is a lot that sat empty for a decade. In its place is a large three-story building that will bring about 100 jobs to the city, give a local restaurant room to expand and set the stage for community events and revitalization in the “SoFi” area – south of Fifth Street.
“It takes us into the next decade and continues the vitality of Old Town that has been developing over the last 30 years,” said Dwight Kroll, city planning director.
The city has long tried to develop the land at Pollasky and Bullard avenues. The site was home to a Department of Motor Vehicles office that left in 2007. After the building was razed, the lot was used for a weekend farmers market and overflow parking.
Developer Darius Assemi of Granville Homes once proposed a three-story, 35-unit housing project on the site, but the Clovis City Council rejected the plan. Assemi wanted the city to lower the $645,000 price. Loft-style apartments and ground-floor businesses were also proposed by developer Peter Herzog who later decided against building there.
It takes us into the next decade and continues the vitality of Old Town that has been developing over the last 30 years.
Dwight Kroll, Clovis planning director
After the unsuccessful attempts, the city built Centennial Plaza in the middle of the lot. It was designed to be the downtown entryway with a stage for events and concerts. Then the city put out requests for proposals to develop the land on either side: Realty Concepts built on the north end and the Petersen family is building on the south.
Realty Concepts, a 26-year-old Fresno real estate company, now led by founder John Shamshoian’s son, J.P., was looking for bright and modern office space in Old Town.
Gourmet burger restaurant House of JuJu, now a few blocks down the street, will occupy the building’s first floor. The restaurant space is still under construction but may be ready for a November opening, J.P. Shamshoian said.
Realty Concepts will celebrate its grand opening Friday during Clovis Farmer’s Market.
Construction continues on the Petersen’s three-story building that will have a combination of stucco, brick and planks on the exterior, said Roger Petersen. The building is about 80 percent leased. Engineering firm QK, formerly Quad Knopf, will occupy the third floor and a portion of the second floor.
Blast & Brew, a self-pour craft beer bar that also serves pizza and sandwiches, will be on the ground floor along with a women’s clothing store. The building is expected to be finished by November.
The goal for the Clovis site, like the company’s Alluvial Avenue headquarters, was to create a place where “people want to come and hang out,” said J.P. Shamshoian. “Nobody has to get out of bed to do work anymore. We felt a need to design somewhere where people say, ‘No, I kind of want to go to work to just hang out at that building.’ ”
It’s my hope that my grandchildren’s grandchildren will look at this building 100 years from now and say ‘we love that building.’
The 12,000-square-foot Realty Concepts building, north of the plaza, towers over the nearby single-story shops. City development guidelines allowed the Shamshoians to build up. But the building still mirrors Old Town charm with a brick exterior and a cool retro business sign. Realty Concepts also threw in its signature windows – round on the top – as seen in the company logo.
“We put a lot of additional funds into our brick exterior and into our Realty Concepts windows because it’s my hope that my grandchildren’s grandchildren will look at this building 100 years from now and say ‘we love that building,’ ” said John Shamshoian.
Inside you’ll find exposed brick walls and an industrial ceiling with modern furniture and bean bags that have a pop of yellow color. Realtors have slowly moved into the third floor where there are private offices, meeting rooms and desks that allow real estate agents to drop in and work. Employees with Lending Concepts, Placer Title Company and RC Commercial will occupy the building’s second floor.
Realty Concepts grand opening
5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15
565 N. Pollasky Ave., Clovis