If it took the "bright lights" at City Hall 25 years to realize that the Hotel Fresno had to go, maybe they should start condemning all the old unused buildings downtown now. Seeing that no one enforces building codes until the places are ready to fall, I'd suggest a two-year limit on leaving buildings vacant. When it's reached, the city razes them, charges the owners the cost and voilà, downtown is transformed into either a new city or a whole lot of empty lots to start over.
Also, my cynical side tells me, some developer has an eye on that location and whispered in somebody's ear. Otherwise why the rush to tear it down? They had a whole 25 years to do something about it and now it's a safety hazard?
Maybe what they need at City Hall is an "Enforcement Czar" who has staff to do two things: code enforcement for recalcitrant owners and red-tape cutting for owners who plan renovation for their old buildings
In Los Angeles, they have a "Director of Adaptive Reuse" who helps turn old office buildings and warehouses into lofts. Sounds like a plan to me.