Clovis News

Campus Pointe project decision to proceed upheld

An appellate court Wednesday upheld a 2009 court decision allowing construction of the Campus Pointe project at Fresno State to proceed.

But developers of the 45-acre housing and retail complex will have to reapply to the California State University Board of Trustees for approval of the project and its environmental review, according to the opinion rendered by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno.

An attorney representing the CSU called the mixed decision a win and said the development can move forward.

"Because there's no injunction in place, there's no real practical effect for the university," said Ethan Schulman, who is with the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Crowell & Moring.

California State University, Fresno, has advocated for the $200 million project, which will include a multi-screen theater and hotel, to provide student housing and rental income. Critics, though, have claimed it's an inappropriate use of university space.

The owners of the nearby Sierra Vista shopping center in Clovis had asked the court to invalidate the project -- even though the housing portion is mostly completed.

They initially sued in 2007, alleging that a CSU trustee had conflict of interest when, as CEO of a movie-theater company, he made a deal to build the theater.

A Superior Court judge ruled there was a conflict of interest but did not invalidate the project. The judge directed the project developer, Kashian Enterprises, and CSU trustees to reassess traffic, water and air-quality effects and revise the environmental review before proceeding.

The owners of the Sierra Vista shopping center then appealed the Superior Court decision, asking the project to be voided.

Attorneys for Sierra Vista could not be reached to comment Wednesday.