Fresno

Project aiming to reshape Fresno’s Fulton Street takes a step forward

Fresno City Council reviewed and approved a status update Thursday regarding a construction project along the Fulton Mall downtown. 

The project, spearheaded by Tutelian & Company, Inc., is to demolish the CVS Pharmacy on Fulton between Tuolumne and Merced streets and build it back up along with housing units and a parking structure. 

The current CVS store, currently on the south corner of Fulton Street and Merced Street, will move to the newly developed location to the north east corner of the site as the bottom floor of a five-story structure. 

The move eliminates a frontage road along Tuolumne designed to navigate to the store without driving onto the former Fulton Mall.

Tutelian will build four stories of an estimated 45 multi-family housing units above the new CVS store. 

In total, the project will include 30,000 square feet of retail space, about 160 multi-family residential units and a parking garage with 510 spaces. 

The first floor of the parking garage will also include retail shops. Once development progresses, Tutelian plans to build space for a boutique market as well as multi-family units on the upper floors in subsequent phases. 

A separate structure that will house live-work units is also planned. 

“We are very excited by the progress we’ve made on this project,” Tutelian Director of Public Affairs Barigye McCoy said. “Pandemic or no pandemic, we’re not slowing down one bit.”

Tutelian expects to receive preliminary contract bids for the project in October or November. 

There is also an affordable housing component to the project that Tutelian is considering for the multi-family units, and the developer could apply for grant funding by October. 

The project dates back to February, when the city and Tutelian entered into an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement agreement for a development on the north end of Fulton Mall which required an update within six months. 

McCoy noted that the project is a dramatic departure from recent attempts at redevelopment in the downtown region – it isn’t just another government building.

“This is the first major private sector investment since the 2008 Recession,” he said. “We’re focused on returning downtown to the place Fresnans can live, work, and play, and it starts at the corner Fulton and Tuolumne.”

Although the project is part of the seemingly never-ending bid to revitalize downtown, it was met with a small amount of resistance.

One issue tied ten opposing comments together: the project’s parking structure. 

The others argued against building the parking structure, saying it doesn’t fit the environmental needs of the community and is not necessary given the amount of other parking spaces downtown. 

Others took issue with the location of the garage being so close to the Fresno Stamp Mural. 

Tutelian addressed that complaint, designing an open-aired walkway in the parking garage to be placed alongside the mural. 

Despite the comments, the City Council unanimously passed the project review along with most other items on the consent agenda in one singular motion without any discussion, moving the project forward. 

CVS still needs to sign off on the relocation and has held several negotiations with Tutelian.

The developer expects to present the finalized project to CVS in October.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.