Business · Fresno

Fresno County OKs $4mil sale of University Medical Center for affordable housing units

Fresno County Supervisors voted Tuesday to sell the former University Medical Center in southeast Fresno to a developer for $4 million in the hopes of developing additional affordable housing.

The site, located at Cedar Avenue and Kings Canyon Road, served as a teaching hospital for Fresno State and University of California San Francisco students. The schools shuttered hospital operations in 2007.

Since then, Fresno County Behavioral Health and Social Services have operated out of the facility.

A deal approved by the Supervisors will allow Fresno-based CMG Construction Management, Inc. to develop housing units in the former hospital site.

A stipulation of the deal bet is that roughly 320 units, or 40 percent, of the approximately 800 housing units for low income and very-low income families.

CMG and the County of Fresno are projected to close escrow on the sale of the property on Christmas Eve. As part of the agreement, CMG immediately placed $500,000 into escrow as a refundable deposit.

Fresno County will continue to operate its two departments and other ancillary services out of the UMC site beyond the close of escrow on a $1-per-year lease.

The County will move personnel out of UMC in phases over the course of four years.

For Fresno County, the sale of UMC is a disentanglement from an expensive money pit. Fresno County officials projected that the site, sitting on 33 acres and spanning 412,280 square-feet of facilities, would cost taxpayers $1.7 million annually to maintain.

Separately, utilities for the UMC site were projected to cost an additional $1.2 million in fiscal year 2018-2019 alone.

According to a 25-year-old report commissioned by the County, bringing UMC up-to-code as a hospital would have cost taxpayers $138 million. Meanwhile, demolishing the site would have cost merely $11 million.

With the sale, County leaders find a happy medium and see private sector investment in a top statewide priority: access to affordable housing.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.