Apartments in Fresno’s Chinatown? City leaders approve $32M building plan

The city of Fresno approved funds and a loan Thursday for an affordable housing developer to build about 57 units in Chinatown, an area virtually devoid of housing.

The $10 million in funding and nearly $400,000 loan will go to Doragon @ Chinatown LP for the project at 1101 F St., what is now an undeveloped field surrounded by the Fresno Fire Department’s training center and several empty buildings near Mariposa Street.

The entire project is estimated at about $32 million. The funding comes from the Transformative Climate Communities, or TCC, grant agreement from February with the state Strategic Growth Council for money geared toward projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The loan comes from dollars Fresno pulled down from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The housing project also partners with the Fresno Housing Authority.

Fifty-six of the units will be aimed at moderate to low-come residents, according to the agreement. That’s families with a median household income of 30% to 60% of that of the average household, or about $44,853, according to the U.S. Census.

The plans would have the building done by May 2021.

The TCC agreement required the city to match 50% of the funding for projects. Through private and public partnerships, $111 million was identified in the agreement.

“This money will lead to triple the investment in economic development and that will mean more jobs and better services for everyone,” Mayor Lee Brand said in a statement on Monday. “It will not only transform communities, it will transform lives.”

A number of 18 projects related to TCC funding have also begun in recent weeks.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Yosemite Village Permaculture Community Garden and Urban Farm, nicknamed “Yo-Ville,” was Oct. 1. It’s a 7.5-acre fresh food production space to serve southwest Fresno residents.

Another project will install solar panels on five Fresno Housing Authority apartment buildings for low-income families, and will train 67 area residents for jobs in the solar industry.

The Inside Out Community Garden at Sunset Community Center is supposed to educate residents on garden maintenance, harvesting and cooking demonstrations.

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Reporter Thaddeus Miller has covered cities in the central San Joaquin Valley since 2010, writing about everything from breaking news to government and police accountability. A native of Fresno, he joined The Fresno Bee in 2019 after time in Merced and Los Banos.