Clovis News

Downtown Clovis project rejected

A project with apartment lofts and businesses on the ground floor in downtown Clovis is not going to happen any time soon.

The city and developer Darius Assemi could not agree on a plan that would have led to a three-story, 35-unit project on a 1-acre Pollasky Avenue site that would have served as a major entry point to Old Town Clovis.

The land is the former site of the state Department of Motor Vehicles office and is owned by the city.

Assemi was asking Clovis City Council members to lower the $645,000 sale price set by the city's appraiser.

Assemi's appraiser said the land's value was $245,000 because of the uses proposed there -- apartments and businesses. Assemi also wanted fees for the project lowered from about $700,000 to $100,000 or less.

He told council members last week that without the concessions the project was not financially viable.

Assemi's unwillingness to pay the city's price led to a halt in the project. He told the City Council that he was not upset that an agreement could not be reached.

Fees for the project could still change as the city develops a new fee plan for Old Town Clovis. It's not clear how much lower fees will go; the plan comes before the council in June.

Meanwhile, it's not costing the city to leave the site vacant, said Council Member Harry Armstrong. "I think if we wait a little bit and things turn around we can get something nice," he said.

Tina Sumner, the city's economic and community development director, said other developers are considering a project there, but she will "need to hear from the council whether they want to move forward with a project or put this on hold."

The city worked with Assemi for two years. He said his firm and city staff spent hundreds of hours trying to shoehorn a project onto the property.

It was the second time Clovis tried to develop the land with loft-style apartments and ground-floor businesses. Developer Peter Herzog decided against building there in 2007.