Thursday, September 15, 2011

El Paseo Project in NW Fresno

El Paseo is a proposed real estate development in the north-west Fresno area. The plan for this development includes space for; retail shops, offices, restaurants, and a large movie theater. The project is expected to rival the River Park shopping center which is successfully operating in the north-central Fresno region. This plan has been met with mixed responses from the community. The Fresno City Council has been enticed by the potential new tax revenue while residents have exhibited excitement about job openings yet concerns about traffic increases and the impact on home values.

The new development would be easily accessible as the plot is located near the intersection of freeway 99 & Herndon Ave. The nearly 240-acre parcel is currently an old fig orchard that has not been developed. A phased building schedule will first introduce new retail stores expected to center around a Super Target (Lee, $500 million northwest Fresno center pushed, 2010).

Some Fresno City Council members expressed concerns before the initial plan was approved 4-2 on December 16, 2010. The concerns centered on undecided long-term city plans for larger north-west Fresno region as well as previously failed projects such as Running Horse (Lee, El Paseo Project In NW Fresno Gets Go-Ahead, 2010). Regardless of the concerns, the Fresno General Plan has been amended and Phase 1 of the El Paseo development has been giving a green light.

Images taken from (Gryphon Capital, 2010)

Local residents have been vocal with support and condemnation of the plan. At a November 22, 2010 community meeting, local resident and supporter of the project Delores Deluca stated “I think it would be wonderful for us to have in this end of town” (KFSN, 2010). However, the ABC local news report noted that most in attendance shared the concerns voiced by Suzanne Lanfranco “it’s not going to give you everything they’re offering” (KFSN, 2010). The report goes on to summarize that “Lanfranco and others don’t like that the project would be built near two schools where traffic is already congested” (KFSN, 2010).

I am a home owner in a community neighboring the planned development and I echo the concerns articulated by Lanfranco. Based on the Fresno City Council’s decision in December 2010, I am left wondering if the Council has thoroughly considered the risks presented by those opposing the development or if they are so intent on finding new revenue streams that their sense of risk aversion has been reduced.

(2010, December 17). Retrieved September 10, 2011, from Gryphon Capital:

KFSN. (2010, November 22). News Story Section. Retrieved September 10, 2011, from ABC Local:

Lee, B. (2010). $500 million northwest Fresno center pushed. Fresno: The Fresno Bee.

Lee, B. (2010). El Paseo Project In NW Fresno Gets Go-Ahead. Fresno: The Fresno Bee.

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