Category: Commercial

Find a job at Turlock’s Ten Pin Fun Center as staffing begins for spring opening

 

NEW STATE GROUP TO PROMOTE OPPORTUNITY ZONES

image via caloz.org

image via caloz.org

Published On March 25, 2019 – 11:58 AM
Written By The Business Journal Staff

A new California organization has been formed to help investors and developers take advantage of federal Opportunity Zones.

CalOZ “will promote competitive, equitable and sustainable Opportunity Zone investments in California,” according to a release from the organization.

“Our state must embrace new strategies to rebuild an upward economy that works for all Californians,” said Kunal Merchant, president and Co-Founder of CalOZ. “Opportunity zones offer an important new tool, not only to promote economic mobility and the green economy in areas of our state that need it most, but also to re-evaluate and re-imagine how business, government, and community work together to foster a more competitive, equitable and sustainable economy in California.”

In President Donald Trump’s 2016 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, he outlined what was labeled Opportunity Zones, which offered tax breaks on capital gains for investments in distressed areas.

In Fresno, a number of the areas were established, including the Kings Canyon and Blackstone avenue corridors.

On average, Opportunity Zones have a poverty rate of nearly 31 percent with families making 59 percent of the median income for the area, according to the release, citing information from Economic Innovation Group.

“Opportunity zones offer an intriguing new pathway for our state to expand our middle class and restore the California Dream for all residents,” said Ashley Swearengin, Central Valley Community Foundation’s CEO and former Mayor of Fresno. “I’m thrilled to see CalOZ showing leadership on this issue and excited to support their work both in the Central Valley and state as a whole.”

CalOZ’s first priority will be coordinating with the state to create “high-impact” policies in addition to the ones being offered by the federal government. The plan is to create a “triple-bottom line mindset” for social, environmental and financial opportunities, according to the release.

“With more than three million Californians residing in opportunity zones, California can and must seize the chance to deploy an unprecedented source of private capital into the communities that need it most, “ said Jim Mayer, President and CEO of California Forward. “We’re proud to partner with CalOZ to support state and local action to ensure California emerges as a national leader in this program.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury certified more than 8,700 qualified areas throughout the country. Of those, California has around 10 percent within its boundaries. And Fresno County is ranked third in terms of having the largest designated Opportunity Zones, according to Merchant.

Those designations will last through the end of 2028.

New state group to promote Opportunity Zones

New Turlock retail development, and Dutch Bros Coffee, proposed next to Stan State

Land for a new commercial retail plaza called Warrior Crossing is pictured on Wednesday March 20, 2019 in Turlock, Calif. The area will feature two commercial buildings, one which will have the area’s first and only Dutch Bros. Coffee shop.
Land for a new commercial retail plaza called Warrior Crossing is pictured on Wednesday March 20, 2019 in Turlock, Calif. The area will feature two commercial buildings, one which will have the area’s first and only Dutch Bros. Coffee shop. JOAN BARNETT LEE JLEE@MODBEE.COM

2018: A GOOD YEAR FOR NEW RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

A construction crew works on the roof of one of the buildings making up the Californian Apartments under construction in the 5400 block of North Salinas Avenue in northwest Fresno. Photo by David Castellon.

Published On March 18, 2019 – 10:54 AM
Written By 

Back in 2010, as the Valley and the rest of the nation were in the midst of the Great Recession, Mike Miller looked at how badly the crisis had hurt new home construction and worried whether business would survive.

“I’m looking into the future, going, ‘I’m not sure if we’re going to be around in Central California more than another year,’” recalled Miller, vice president of the Central Valley Division of Lennar Homes of California, Inc., which builds new homes from Merced to Bakersfield.

What he didn’t know at the time was the recession was winding down.

By 2011, the economy had picked up enough that Lennar Homes became the top single-family home builder in the Valley. based on permits drawn that year and the estimated combined values of those projects, based on data collected by ConstructionMonitor.com.

And the improvements continued for both the Valley’s economy and Lennar, which for each year after 2011 continued being the Valley’s top single-family homebuilder, drawing 695 construction permits in 2018 valued at more than $188.13 million.

“2018, it was a very good year for us,” though it didn’t match up to new home construction activity during the housing booms before the recession, in the early to mid 2000s, Miller said.

Still, he said of last year, “this was one of the better years since the recession.”

And 2018 wasn’t just a good year for building single-family homes in the Valley.

New construction activity also was strong for multi-family homes and commercial properties, said B. J. Perch, vice president of B. J. Perch Construction, Inc., the Visalia-based builder that bears his father’s name.

“I would say we’ve been on an upward trend, so we’ve been progressively increasing our volume and growing, so it was a good year,” said Perch, whose company ranked first last year in combined permit values for multi-family homes, more than $14.15 million, and second for commercial permits, valued at $20.82 million.

Harris Construction, based in Fresno, was the top commercial builder in the Valley last year, with permits valued at more than $34.73 million. Officials for Harris didn’t respond to an interview request.

“We’re mainly a commercial contractor, so we build health care facilities, corporate offices, industrial [buildings], retail and multi-family,” along with senior living facilities, Perch said.

“We had a significant increase in multi-family. I just think the demand out there [has grown].” Perch noted that his company alone is working on or planning to start work this year on apartment complexes with 700 combined units in Visalia, Tulare and Fresno.

“The demand is there. In

Fresno, there is a lot of multi-family going on, and I think there has been for awhile,” a shift from just a couple of years ago when new single-family home construction dominated the market, he added.

“2018 was one of the busier years we have had for multi-family homes,” he said, adding that he knows of cities in the Valley looking to amend zoning rules to allow more high-density housing and are working with developers to attract such projects.

One fallacy about the local housing market appears to be that the housing demand here is being significantly elevated by an exodus of people from the Bay Area coming here for the cheaper housing.

While it’s true housing in the Valley is cheaper, Miller said the influx here of Bay Area people is small, because it’s too difficult to commute there from here, and it’s still rare to encounter telecommuters looking to buy homes here.

“We have seen that willingness to travel or drive further in our Merced area, but our Central Valley is still mostly operating on people who live here and are continuing to live here, so we aren’t seeing that huge influx from outsiders.”

As good as 2018 was for new construction, it did have its challenges, with both Perch and Miller noting the growing difficulty in hiring skilled construction workers.

“And what happened is when the market crashed, a lot of people left the [construction] industry, and when the market came back, they never came back,” instead going to manufacturing jobs and other fields, Miller said. “Where construction seemed to be a place to go, it seemed to be a place to flee away from.”

In fact, Miler said that the agricultural industry also is facing worker shortages and in response has raised wages to the point that for the first time Valley ag jobs are drawing people away from construction jobs.

That leads to the other big challenge: higher wages for construction workers combined with increasing costs driving up prices for new homes.

In fact, that’s why California becoming the first state to require solar panels in all new homes sold starting Jan. 1 of next year is a major concern among developers.

Miller said he’s unclear how many solar panels will be required on homes as well as whether homebuyers would have to buy the solar panels with their new homes or if buying a house and leasing the panels — or some similar system — will be permitted.

At least here in the Valley, Lennar includes solar with each of its new homes, but if buyers don’t want to buy the systems, the developer has an alternative allowing the systems to be owned by the solar company, with the homeowners buying the power they generate at a discounted rate.

Losing such options could hurt new home development, Miller said, “especially [for] first-time and first-move-up homebuyers, because there is going to be another $15,000-$20,000 worth of cost immediately added to the cost of the home,” and some of them may not be able to afford it or be able to get loans covering the added costs.

“The whole industry is trying to understand the effect it’s going to have on all of us.”

New automated Visalia store will have no cashiers, no lines

A California computer scientist is set to compete for millennial dollars right here in Visalia.

Computer scientist Aamir Farooqui plans to open a 1,800 square-foot, fully-automated convenience store, similar to Amazon Go.

Based in Sacramento, Farooqui says his new concept store is the first of its kind in the Central Valley. He hopes to duplicate it elsewhere, he said.

An automated convenience store relies on computers and robotics. Amazon calls it “just walk out” shopping.

The new Visalia store will be built at 707 S. Bridge St., in the middle of the city.

Currently, it’s a vacant lot sandwiched between a second-hand store and homes. Farooqui bought the vacant parcel last year.

The developer is seeking a conditional-use permit from the city for the new store.

“In our model, we will be using new type of vending machines equipped with WiFi and cameras,” Farooqui said. “People can buy merchandise using cash (after converting to gift cards), credit or debit cards or through a mobile app. At the store opening, we plan to give away 100 free gift cards to our first customers.”

These kinds of stores have taken off in Europe where they go by the names of SmartMart and RoboMart. Farooqui says he has yet to choose a name for the Visalia location.

He hopes to open as soon as possible.

Not having on-site employees will allow the business to save money although it may take shoppers a little time to get used to a new routine using technology.

“Our goal is simply to reduce the cost of running a store for small businesses and at the same time offer 24-hour convenient service to the local community.”

Amazon’s model is simple.

“You simply walk in, grab what you need, and go. Amazon bills your credit card as you pass through the turnstile on your way out,” he said. “Moments later, an app on your phone provides a receipt detailing what you’ve bought, what you paid, and even how long you spent inside.”

Grocery stores are automating the shopping experience led by Walmart and Sam’s Club. The Visalia Walmart is installing more automated check-out devices and Sam’s Club wants to allow shoppers to scan products by holding their smartphones over a product, without having to find and capture a barcode on the package.

Microsoft is said to be developing technology that can track what shoppers add to their carts.

Meanwhile, Target is changing item pickup service at the stores with Pickup Towers, making the in-store process automated.

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2019/03/08/new-automated-visalia-store-have-no-cashiers-no-lines/3105346002/https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2019/03/08/new-automated-visalia-store-have-no-cashiers-no-lines/3105346002/

If there’s a map of meats, this butcher put Tulare on it

A Tulare butcher is making a splash in the world of smoked and cured meats — again.

This time, it’s a bigger splash.

Danny Mendes, owner of Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., recently took home several awards at the annual California Association of Meat Processors’ Cured Meat Competition held at California State University, Chico.

This is the fourth year Mendes has entered his prized meats in the competition and the second time the business has taken home the best in show award.

Mendes has made a name for himself and is quickly gaining state and national recognition.

“They didn’t know what Tulare was,” he said. “They know now.”

At the state competition, Mendes entered 28 products in 18 different categories. He took home 10 grand champion wins. In total, he took home 18 awards.

“Getting best in show two out of the four years is pretty awesome,” he said. “It was impressive — a feel-good moment.”

Mendes received grand champion awards for his bone-in ham, Italian bacon, jalapeno cheese stick, stadium franks black label, old fashion hot dogs, fresh Italian sausage, smoked bratwurst, cheddar bratwurst, jalapeno cheddar sausage, braunschweiger, garlic summer sausage, duck bacon and Linguica-style cottage bacon.

He also received a merit award for his sugar cured bone-in ham and turkey bacon.

But the big takeaway was the coveted Joe Cutler Memorial Best of Show for his Italian bacon. His sausage was judged against the grand champions of each meat category — many his own creations.

Mendes first started to work for Tulare Meat Locker, which originally opened in 1976, when he was only 13. After a call from the former owner in 2003, Mendes decided he wanted to take over the business.

Over the last 15 years, Mendes has worked on his technique and offers custom butchery to Tulare County residents and beyond.

His sandwiches are top hits at the annual Ag Expo and Tulare County Fair.

“That’s what makes this place unique, it’s all done in house,” he said.

The shop offers custom butchering of livestock and fresh meat that isn’t sliced until ordered. Sausages, snack sticks, hams, tri-tip and linguica are also available. He hopes to one day expand his storefront and offer all in-house made sandwiches.

This year, there were 19 plants entered and 216 individual entries in 19 different classes.

The annual contest is open to all California Association of Meat Processor members and is judged by a panel of meat specialists.

Mendes is expected to compete at the national level this summer in Alabama.

Last year, he took home several wins at the American Association of Meat Processors’ American Cured Meat Championships, held in Kansas City.

Mendes won awards for five different meat products, one of which earned grand champion: his hot link sausage.

Tulare Meat Locker is located at 1531 E. Bardsley Ave.

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2019/03/01/if-theres-map-meats-butcher-put-tulare-10-awards/3029578002/

A new rooftop bar is headed to a historic downtown Fresno building. Here’s what you need to know

Quail State bar has signed a lease to open in both indoor and outdoor spaces on the third-floor rooftop of the Pacific Southwest Building on Fulton Street. Photographed from Mariposa Street, Quail State will be on the east side of the historic building, facing the Radisson Hotel Conference Center on Van Ness Avenue.
Quail State bar has signed a lease to open in both indoor and outdoor spaces on the third-floor rooftop of the Pacific Southwest Building on Fulton Street. Photographed from Mariposa Street, Quail State will be on the east side of the historic building, facing the Radisson Hotel Conference Center on Van Ness Avenue.BETHANY CLOUGH BCLOUGH@FRESNOBEE.COM

MAGIC TOUCH: $3M ONLINE FRESNO BUSINESS BRINGS ILLUSION TO THE WORLD

Written By David Castellon

Paul Gross is vehement in stating his opinion on magic.

“There is no such thing as real magic. I can’t make you disappear for real,” the 63-year-old said.

That may seem an odd stance, considering the Fresno resident founded and owns Hocus Pocus, among the most prolific online vendors of magic tricks, props and paraphernalia in the country, selling everything from trick playing cards and how-to books to the various swords, escape boxes, restraints and other items used by amateurs to professional magicians.

What Gross doesn’t believe in is actual magic — love potions, spells, totems, the occult, etc. — that some people mistakenly believe his business can supply.

Gross’ stock in trade is illusion, in which the seemingly impossible is done through sleight of hand, mirrors, diversions and hidden compartments that all are explainable, if you know how the tricks work.

Gross believes in that sort of magic strongly, so much so that he has dedicated most of his life to it, first as an amateur turned professional illusionist by his teen years, then going into in the retail side of magic, initially opening a magic shop in Fresno in his late teens and a couple of decades later converting to a mail-order business and then to an online vendor of supplies, props and memorabilia with sales last year totaling about $3 million.

“If it wasn’t for the Internet, this business wouldn’t be where it is,” Gross said, noting that the vast number of YouTube postings and other online sources teaching people how to perform illusions has magnified the public’s interest in buying magic supplies and to see magicians perform, both of which benefit Hocus Pocus.

“We’re in a 30,000-square-foot building whereas we used to be in 500 square feet.”

Even the larger space in a nondescript Fresno industrial building barely has room to contain all of the items for sale.

The back portion of the building is a veritable museum to illusions, because besides selling new supplies and books, magicians, their families and their heirs often sell their old props and supplies to Hocus Pocus or consign the business to sell the items for them.

Need a guillotine or a basket to impale with swords after an assistant shimmies inside of a mock mummy’s tomb or a strait jacket or a big wooden box and saw for sawing a lady in half? Hocus Pocus might have one or more any given week and be able to pack and ship it to you.

Hollywood is a frequent customer, with studios often buying thousands of dollars worth of props and other magic-related goods to use in movies and television shows.

Gross’ magician clientele has included Mark Wilson — a staple of 1960s and 1970s television — Criss Angel and Shin Lim, last year’s America’s Got Talent television show winner. Hocus Pocus also sells the magic supplies Lim endorses.

“We’re open every day of the year, 24 hours a day, and we never close, and we have such a wide base. Thirty five, almost 40 percent of our [orders] go overseas,” Gross said. “We probably have an active member base of maybe 60,000 online members.”

A Fresno native, Gross began his love of magic at the age of 8, when his grandparents took him to a movie theater — back when they put on vaudeville-style acts before matinees — and he saw his first magician.

“He did three tricks, which I still remember to this day — got my grandfather up to help him [with one], and that was it. I got bit,” Gross recalled.

Back then, there were no magic shops in Fresno, so Gross ordered tricks and instructions on performing illusions via mail-order catalogues and later via trips with his parents to a San Francesco magic shop.

“I bought every single trick until I opened my own business,” said Gross, who got skilled enough that between the ages of 12 and 18 he worked paid gigs as a magician between school and working at the furniture store his father ran.

After high school, his father co-signed a $2,500 loan for him to open a magic, gag and novelty shop in 1973 in southeast Fresno, and while it did well, Gross closed it 15 years later because he had to take over running the furniture store his father had opened after he fell ill to cancer.

Nine months later, Gross said, he reopened the magic shop in Clovis, “and we ended up getting out of the furniture business, because it wasn’t my cup of tea,” after four years of running it.

In the years that followed, Gross changed locations and his business model, converting from a walk-in magic and novelty store to adding a side venture as a mail-order magic supplier in the late 1990s.

But that wasn’t a particularly fruitful change, as business by mail order went so badly that “we might have gone out of business after that first year.”

But that changed in 1999 after a friend introduced Gross to his first home computer, and he decided that online ordering and offering an online catalog bigger than what any other magic and novelty suppliers were offering on the Web was the way to go.

Business since then has been good, so much so that Gross stopped operating a walk-in store to sell just online.

“We probably have a thousand people a day visit our site. When we had a retail store, we probably didn’t have that many people visit us in a year.”

But Gross never forgot his brick-and-mortar roots. With no other magic shops in the Fresno area, people often walk into Hocus Pocus looking for tricks or advice from Gross or his son and partner, Max Gross, 26, who has never performed magic professionally but is skilled in many of the tricks the family business sells.

The two also spend a lot of time speaking with customers calling in for advice, “But they don’t always listen to me,” the senior Gross noted.

“It could be a thousand-dollar item, but what good is it going to do me to sell that to you if you’re going to get it and you’re not going to use it?”

https://thebusinessjournal.com/magic-touch-3m-online-fresno-business-brings-illusion-to-the-world/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=a5cecd36c1-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_01_30_09_09&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-a5cecd36c1-78934409&mc_cid=a5cecd36c1&mc_eid=a126ded657

 

$25.4M FRESNO LEASE TOPS 2018 REAL ESTATE DEALS

Published On January 28, 2019 – 1:51 PM
Written By David Castellon

At a cost of more than $24.4 million, you might expect that in the Valley’s most expensive real estate transaction of 2018, you’d get to keep the building.

Not that there’s any building up yet on the 20-acre parcel slated to become Phase 2 of the Marketplace at El Paseo shopping center south of West Herndon Avenue and North Riverside Drive.

Currently there’s Phase 1 of the shopping center, which includes Target, Old Navy, Tillys and Burlington stores. Just to the south, off Riverside Drive, is a former fig grove, now barren, with workers driving heavy equipment along the dirt over the past three weeks to level out the land ahead of planned construction of an expansion to the Marketplace.

Owners of the property have lease agreements to locate businesses on the new site that include Hobby Lobby; Carter’s, Inc.; Wayback Burgers; Que Pasa Mexican Café and the expansion of an undisclosed, locally-based Japanese restaurant.

And talks are underway to also lease space there as an added site for a local brew pub and restaurant, the name of which also hasn’t been disclosed.

But the biggest lease agreement in Phase 2 is with Regal Entertainment Group for a planned 49,950-square-foot, 12-screen movie theater on the site.

But Regal will not build the new Regal Cinema theater. Instead, the developers of the shopping center — Manhattan Beach-based Gryphon Capital and Rich Development Enterprises, LLC, out of Santa Ana — have agreed to build the theater and lease it to Regal for the $24.4 million-plus lease price.

Chris Shane, managing partner for Gryphon, declined to disclose the length of the lease, confirming only that it would last multiple years. Efforts to contact officials representing Regal weren’t successful.

While not an actual property purchase, the lease agreement, which was finalized in July 2018, still was the highest-valued commercial real estate transaction last year in Fresno, Kings, Tulare or Madera counties, according to The Business Journal’s annual list of the Largest Commercial Real Estate Transactions.

Besides being in a prime retail space off busy Highway 99, “It’s a build-to-suit with a very large national tenant. The building is very expensive, therefore the rent adjusts accordingly, Then you have a multi-year lease, so you have a high transaction number,” Lewis Smith, a leasing agent for Fresno’s Retail California, said of the deal he helped broker between the developers and Regal Entertainment, which operate the Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres and Edwards chains, which already have four theaters in Fresno and Clovis.

“This has been about three years in the works,” he said of the negotiations.

Work to develop the Marketplace on 75 acres began in 2006 and continued through and after the Great Recession.

Northwest Fresno near the Highway 99 and Herndon intersection was chosen as the site in part because of the growing number of homes being developed in the area, its increasingly upscale demographics and its proximity to the freeway, Shane said.

He added that much of Fresno’s growth is occurring in the northwest part of the city, also making it a good spot to locate the Marketplace.

And along 99 there is no shopping center like it for at least 30 miles north or south, he said, adding that over the five years Phase 1 businesses have been open, operators have reported customers coming from farther distances to shop there.

Plans are to expand Phase 1 beyond its current 400,000 square feet of retail and restaurant spaces, with efforts underway to find tenants for three small retail or restaurant spaces to be built in current parking lot spaces off Herndon Avenue and Riverside Drive.

As for Phase 2, the plan is to build 200,000 square feet of leasable space there, and early on it was decided a movie theater would be included in the mix, said Shane, whose company developed the Trading Post shopping center in Clovis, which includes a Sprouts Farmers Market, Skechers USA and a Ross store.

“Even though we are from Southern California, we know the [Fresno] market very well,” he said. “Northwest Fresno is underserved in terms of quality movie theaters.

“We felt that the competition from the [retail] markets that access 99 didn’t have theaters, either.”

The theater, expected to open in the first quarter of 2020, would allow families to do things at the Marketplace beyond shopping and eating, Shane said.

“We’re going to have a nice mix of retail, restaurants and entertainment that people will drive to from pretty far away,” Smith added.

As for the theater, “It’s just going to be the most state-of-the-art, nicest, most upscale theater in the Valley,” said Smith, citing that it will include gourmet food options, wine and beer sales, reclining seats and high-quality sound and visual systems, and it will be one of at least five prototypes for a new style of movie theaters Regal is developing.

Coming in at No. 2 in the real estate transactions list was the $11.6 million sale of a 191,341 square-foot commercial building at 200 W. Pontiac Way in Clovis.

Rounding out the top 3 was the sale of an 82,000 square-foot commercial building at 1177 Fulton St. in Fresno for $10.68 million.

This is the former Guarantee Savings building purchased by State Center Community College District.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/25-4m-fresno-lease-tops-2018-real-estate-deals/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=26d02d6fa7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_01_28_09_30&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-26d02d6fa7-78934409&mc_cid=26d02d6fa7&mc_eid=a126ded657