Bethany Clough

What’s that new construction in Fresno? From Starbucks to Panda Express, we have answers

When new buildings start popping up around town, aren’t you curious what they’re going to be?

We are.

So we did some digging (metaphorically speaking — we’ll leave the dirt moving and construction to the experts) and came up with some answers.

From Starbucks to Panda Express and several gas stations, a variety of businesses are building new locations in Fresno and Clovis. Some are on high-profile corners that readers have been asking us about, like the building under construction on West Herndon Avenue near the Olive Garden.

Other high-profile projects are taking shape near Highway 180 in central Fresno and in southeast Fresno.

As always, if you see a new building in the works that we haven’t reported upon, feel free to email a tip to

Construction is shown on a building that will be a Panda Express restaurant on Clovis Avenue near Kings Canyon in southeast Fresno on Thursday, Jun 20, 2019. The site was formerly a Fosters Freeze that was torn down. CRAIG KOHLRUSS

Panda Express

The empty Frostee Freeze at 445 S. Clovis Ave., just north of Kings Canyon, has been torn down and work has started on a Panda Express on the spot, confirmed the area’s Fresno City Councilmember, Luis Chavez.

“We had an eyesore there,” he said. “It was blighted; weeds all over.”

The Panda Express restaurant will have a drive-thru and a dining room.

The nearby Panda Express at Peach Avenue and Kings Canyon Road will stay open, said Chavez, who has been working with the company.

It’s not clear when the restaurant will open yet, but it will likely take weeks or months as construction has just started.

A Valero gas station and convenience store is shown nearing completion at Herndon and Riverside Drive near the Marketplace at El Paseo in northwest Fresno on Thursday, Jun 20, 2019. CRAIG KOHLRUSS

Northwest gas station

At Herndon Avenue and Riverside Drive, just across the street from Olive Garden in the Marketplace at El Paseo, a gas station is under construction.

It will be a Valero and have a convenience store attached.

The building will also have a small restaurant inside. Just which restaurant isn’t finalized yet.

There’s a lot of interest in the spot, said Troy Mathias, a retail broker with Commercial West Associates, who is handling the lease negotiations. There’s a chance it might be something different than the standard Subway you often see inside convenience stores.

Construction is shown on a building that will be a Johnny Quik with a Chevron station, a Subway restaurant and a Rare Earth Coffee inside at Van Ness and Belmont near the Highway 180 freeway near downtown Fresno on Thursday, Jun 20, 2019. CRAIG KOHLRUSS

Gas station, Rare Earth

At Belmont and Van Ness avenues, just off Highway 180, there’s what looks like a two-story building under construction diagonally facing the intersection. It will be a Johnny Quik with a Chevron station, a Subway and a Rare Earth Coffee inside.

Rare Earth is a Clovis-based company that sells all kinds of coffee, tea and blended drinks. Unlike some other locations in town, this one won’t have a drive-thru.

And although it looks like a two-story building, it’s not, said developer George Beal.

“The second floor is a just facade,” he said. “It will have a really nice look, some neon ... Tower (District) flavor, when we’re finished.”

It will also sell beer and wine. That mobilized some neighbors to ask the Fresno City Council not to approve the business’s liquor license, saying the area was already saturated with places to buy alcohol. The council approved the license, though the project was one of several that sparked the city to reform its policies on liquor licenses.

Starbucks Shaw.jpg
This Starbucks under construction is on West Shaw Avenue in Fresno, near Dale Avenue and next to a Carl’s Jr. It is scheduled to open this fall. Bethany Clough The Fresno Bee


A Starbucks is headed for West Shaw Avenue near Dale Avenue, next door to Carl’s Jr.

The company is planning to open the 2,100-square-foot coffee shop this fall, a Starbucks spokeswoman confirmed.

It will have a drive-thru, nitro cold brew coffee on tap (nitro refers to the nitrogen gas that’s added to give the drink a smooth and silky mouthfeel) and 25 employees.

The former FYE music and entertainment store on West Shaw Avenue in Clovis has closed. The building had a major remodel and Stanton Optical will be moving into part of the space. The remaining space is still up for rent. Bethany Clough The Fresno Bee

Stanton Optical

The former FYE (which stands for “for your entertainment”) store selling music and DVDs closed a while back. Its lease on the building at 200 W. Shaw Avenue in Clovis near Villa Avenue expired.

The property has since gotten a major remodel, with significant renovations to the building’s exterior.

Stanton Optical will move into part of the building, taking over 3,000-square feet, according to Rob Walters, co-owner of Quattro Development, which owns the building.

“It won’t be the big cube, but it will have the orange letters,” said Walters, referencing the square Stanton buildings like the one at Blackstone and Herndon avenues in Fresno.

Plans call for the remaining 5,000-square feet of the building to be rented out, though no tenants have been finalized. It can be subdivided into two separate locations, Walters said.

The former Aaron’s store on West Shaw Avenue will be torn down. An America’s Tire is slated to be built in its place.

America’s Tire

For now, a chain link fence surrounds the empty building at 3265 W. Shaw Ave. It used to be Aaron’s, a rent-to-own seller of furniture and electronics.

But the building will soon be torn down, confirmed Eric Bowen, manager of Bowen Engineering & Environmental, whose company will demolish it.

In its place, America’s Tire plans to build a new a shop. The location is scheduled to open in April 2020, according to America’s Tire.

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.