If you’ve driven along Highway 168 recently or rolled by the Save Mart Center then you’ve probably noticed bulldozers and other heavy equipment digging up dirt.
The grading and underground construction for building pads, curbs and roads have started on the retail portion of the long awaited 45-acre Campus Pointe project from Fresno developer Ed Kashian at Lance-Kashian & Company.
The multi-use development is on the southeast corner of the Fresno State campus and includes two apartment complexes that were built and opened in 2010, north of the planned retail center.
The students and university employees who live there are “excited the retail project is moving forward,” said Debbie Adishian-Astone, executive director of auxiliary operations and enterprise development at Fresno State. The auxiliary is overseeing construction of the project which is on university-owned property.
Adishian-Astone said she expects this phase of construction to finish next spring.
Kashian, who built River Park and is behind the Fancher Creek project in southeast Fresno, said his company has already signed several leases with retailers and more are in the works, but he is mum on who they are.
The company policy is to allow retailers to announce their plans, Kashian said. But he gave us a clue into what kinds of businesses we’ll be seeing: some clothing stores, a significant amount of restaurants, and a small grocery store.
A multi-screen movie theater is still planned too. Kashian said his company is negotiating with a theater, but declined to say anything further. The theater looks like it’s still a sore spot after hitting a roadblock early on.
Former California State University trustee Moctesuma Esparza struck a deal to build the theater and operate it with his company Maya Cinemas North America Inc. But in 2007, the Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis, which has a movie theater, sued alleging that the arrangement was a conflict of interest. A Superior Court judge ruled there was a conflict of interest but did not invalidate the project.
As for Fancher Creek – a $200 million regional shopping center hailed to rival River Park – curbs, streets and underground construction could begin next year. Kashian said his company has submitted construction drawings to the city of Fresno detailing their plan.
“We will start construction on public improvements no later than January,” Kashian said.