Could Bakersfield’s largest office building become the new local headquarters for a big oil company?
In a landmark sale that could affect commercial real estate in Bakersfield for years to come, Cushman & Wakefield and two of its directors said Thursday that the former operations center for State Farm in southwest Bakersfield has been sold.
The commercial real estate agency’s Senior Director Jeff Andrew and Associate Director Pat Thompson closed one of the biggest deals of their careers earlier this week, but due to a strict confidentiality agreement, they can’t reveal key details — except for the fact that after years of work, the sale of the massive, four-story, 556,000 square-foot building closed on Tuesday.
“We can talk about how this could affect the commercial real estate market locally,” Andrew said. “But we can’t reveal the seller, the buyer or the price.”
Fortunately for the curious, that information is part of the public record, and Californian reporters have been checking on the fate of one of the city’s most important chunks of real estate, on and off, for months.
According to information compiled by the Kern County Assessor’s and Recorder’s offices, the seller, represented by Cushman & Wakefield, was listed as LSREF2 Tractor REO BAK LLC.
More interesting, the buyer is identified as California Resources Real Estate Ventures LLC, or California Resources Corp., a Los Angeles-based energy company that spun off from Occidental Petroleum Corp. in 2014.
The price: $48.4 million.
The presence of the insurance company’s center at 900 Old River Road, and the hundreds of jobs it created, had been touted for years as a significant economic driver for the southern San Joaquin Valley. So when State Farm announced it was leaving, the news inspired angst among those concerned about jobs and economic growth in Bakersfield.
State Farm is committed to a reduced number of employees staying in the building, for now, Andrew said, but the new owner — he would not confirm the name of the buyer — would fill out the lion’s share of the space.
Many of those new employees will come from several other local commercial office buildings and will be consolidated under one huge roof. That means office vacancies will be opening up in Bakersfield. But those smaller spaces should be easier to fill, said Thompson.
A building with more that a half-million square feet of office space has few potential tenants.
“We had to go to the largest users of office space,” Andrew said.
You may not think of Clovis and its cowboy culture as a hot spot for craft beer. But that could be changing, as this growing city has begun attracting craft beer makers who see the potential for creating something special.
The city is already home to four breweries or tasting rooms, with a fifth to open soon and a sixth in the works. A few are clustered in an industrial area just east of Old Town Clovis, tucked in among muffler shops, gravel companies and warehouses. It’s the kind of vibe some craft brewers appreciate.
It’s not about being fancy, they say, it’s about making solid beers that people like.
“We see a lot of potential out here,” said Dave Dechow, one of the brewers at Tactical Ops Brewing at 1131 Railroad Ave.
Several craft brewers said they are drawn to Clovis because of the fierce loyalty to local business, the tight-knit community and a growing fan base of craft beer drinkers.
Tactical Ops, one of three breweries in Clovis, opened a new brewery and tasting room three months ago to lots of thirsty customers. Its original location remains on Shields between Fowler and Armstrong avenues.
The new brewery and tasting room in Clovis has a military theme, seats 49 and offers 12 to 14 beers, including stouts, IPAs, and ales.
Recently, Dechow and fellow brewer Brett Elsberry were putting the final touches on their popular honey blonde ale that’s made with locally sourced honey from Enzo’s Table in Clovis.
Elsberry said weekends are busy and customers are drinking as much beer as the brewery can produce.
“It’s very possible that we may be looking for a third location,” Ellsberry said. “We are growing and trying to keep our beer in stock. And all of this is just by word of mouth and social media.”
As a testament to the brewery’s growth, Ellsberry recently left his day job as a pharmacy technician after 18 years to work full-time at the brewery.
“We are pretty optimistic about things right now,” he said.
Other breweries that have opened in Clovis include 559 Beer at 356 Pollasky Ave. and Zone 9 Brewing at 1450 Tollhouse Road.
On the horizon are Kings River Brewing Company at 1050 San Jose Ave. that expects to open in about 30 days and MachineHead Brewing Co., 52 W. Palo Alto Ave. , is planning to open this fall.
All of that is in addition to the House of Pendragon tap room at 1345 N. Willow and Riley’s Brew Pub, 2674 Owens Mountain Pkwy.
Clovis city officials couldn’t be happier about the organic growth of the local craft beer scene. Shawn Miller, business development manager for the City of Clovis, said the city is helping when it can, but the breweries are truly doing it on their own.
“We are just trying to clear the decks and left stuff happen,” Miller said.
Miller sees the potential of creating a special event linking the city’s trail system with several of the breweries in the area. The Old Town Clovis Craft Beer Crawl that features a mix of California breweries is already a popular springtime event.
“We know there is a value in having people come to town for special events,” Miller said.
Elsberry said there may be just a handful of breweries now, but there will be more.
Brad Edmunds, an owner of Zone 9 Brewing, agrees that the city is ripe for more breweries. He said people in Clovis are eager for more dining, drinking and entertainment options. Plus, his customers are into trying new and different craft beers. Zone 9 brews a variety of beer, including a peach hefeweizen, a German style wheat beer; a coconut coffee porter and a New England-style IPA that’s infused with mango.
“It’s fruity on the front, creamy in the middle and hoppy on the end,” Edmunds said.
Two of the newest breweries in Clovis will be open in the coming months.
King Chan is the brewer and owner of Kings River Brewing. His brewery and tasting room is not far from the others in south east Clovis and hopes to be open in about 30 days.
His tasting room has rustic and Americana touches and will accommodate about 25 people.
Chan, who has been a home brewer for 15 years, is skilled at making several styles of beer including a milk stout, an IPA, and an ale with a clean, crisp taste of a lager.
Chan is confident that people visiting the Clovis breweries will find enough variety in beer styles to satisfy everyone’s tastes.
One of the cities newest brewers, Rob Arabian of MachineHead Brewing Company, promises to bring some more excitement to the budding craft brew scene. Arabian’s brewery will be open this fall in a new industrial complex on Palo Alto, west of Clovis and south of Herndon avenues.
“We are going to be launching several different type of programs that a lot of people usually drive to places like San Diego for,” Arabian said.
Arabian is careful not to reveal too much about his beers, other than to say he will be making some “barrel-aged stuff and juicy IPAs.”
He also said there will be plenty of space for food trucks to park and he may do some beer-themed dinners. Arabian says he didn’t think twice about where he wanted to open his brewery.
“I really love the vibe of this city,” he said. “It’s a place that appreciates classic, local favorites, but also is home to hip new restaurants, coffee shops and breweries. It feels like the perfect fit for us.”
Low-cost grocery store chain ALDI is planning to open two new stores in the central San Joaquin Valley – and probably more in the rest of the Valley.
The Bee reported the German grocery store giant’s interest in Hanford and Porterville last summer. Commercial real estate firms reported that leases were finalized for each location in the Bee’s leases section that published over the weekend.
The Hanford ALDI will take up 22,500 square feet in new construction at the southwest corner of 12th Avenue and Lacey Boulevard. That’s the same corner that already has Chipotle, Jimmy Johns and The Habit Burger Grill.
The Porterville store will be built on 2.13 acres of land at the northeast corner of Jaye Street and Highway 190.
As both are new construction, the stores won’t be open for a while.
ALDI is partway through a massive expansion, with plans to open 900 more stores by the end of 2020. A Bakersfield store opened in May and Southern California has dozens of stores.
The grocery store has more than 7,600 stores worldwide and already has a strong presence in the United States, with 1,600 stores in 35 states.
The stores average about 15,000 square feet – bigger than a Trader Joe’s but smaller than a traditional grocery store.
ALDI carries only the “weekly must-haves,” according to the company. That means its stores are smaller with lower rent and electrical costs, savings that are passed on to shoppers. The company says shoppers can save up to 50 percent on brands carried only at ALDI.
Another difference from a traditional grocery store is the carts. They are stored in one place in the store. Shoppers pay a quarter to use a cart, and get it back when the cart is returned.
Danielle A Martin, Published 3:45 p.m. PT March 23, 2018
County officials looking for proposals to develop old courthouse building. Visalia council split on involvement in building’s development. Luis Hernandez
Visalia’s business boon is well underway and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
New development ranges from housing and hotels to training facilities and offices.
“For citizens [development] creates variety and gives people a choice,” said Visalia Councilman Steve Nelsen. “It creates employment opportunities and even careers.”
The city has projects popping up from Mooney Boulevard to Main Street and across the Industrial Park.
“Our city funds are driven by sales tax and property tax,” Nelsen said. “As we continue to grow, the city continues to benefit.”
Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler called the city “shovel ready” and said an additional five businesses are currently expanding in Visalia’s industrial areas.
“We continue to grow and have lots of land available to do so,” Gubler added.
There was a total of 301 new permits issued between the months of February and March with a total value of $11.6 million, city officials said. The permits included 21 new single-family homes, two new multifamily complexes and one new commercial project.
Dunkin’ Donuts is set to be completed this spring and more will follow on Mooney Boulevard.
There is currently a Marriot Residence Inn going up in the Plaza Business Park. It is projected by contractors to be finished this summer. Directly across the street is a new ARCO AM/PM gas station, currently under construction.
Clovis-based The Great Escape, an escape room themed entertainment activity for groups, has set its eyes on Visalia for its second location.
“We are super excited,” Wilkerson said. “A lot of clients we have come from the Visalia, Tulare, or Hanford areas and so we want to bring this a little closer to home for them.”
Wilkerson said it will be located at 3300 S. Fairway Street, near Bowlero and behind the Milan Institute of Cosmetology. The south Valley escape room will feature three escape puzzles perfect for team bonding opportunities or family get-togethers.
Leisure and hospitality
Two hotels have been proposed for the area. One is the renovation of a historic downtown building and the second is a new extended stay concept.
The Darling Hotel is a redevelopment project using the old Tulare County Courthouse downtown. The building has been vacant for decades and last August the Tulare County Supervisors were looking to give it new life.
In August, Councilman Greg Collins said, “You need to have an architect with vision,” to restore and develop the building.
In February, the boutique-style hotel proposal went through site planning and will feature 33 rooms and several meeting rooms. It will also feature a rooftop lounge and a ground level courtyard with an enclosed pool and canopy along Court Street.
A Hilton Home 2 Suites is being proposed in an area just north of Highway 198 and west of Plaza Drive. The hotel will feature 83 extended-stay concept style rooms that are also pet- and family-friendly, city officials said.
Voltage Multipliers, a local manufacturing company is looking to expand its current building by 20,000 square feet.
In Plaza Business Park, a 7,172 square-foot project is in the proposal phase. It will be located just north of Marriott Residence Inn, currently under construction.
The project will consist of two buildings with offices and classrooms. Visalia officials suggest a school or training facility.
Another 3,256 square-foot project at 4234 W. Mineral King will house the local Mitchell and Powell law firm.
The new development and expansions are humbling, Gubler said.
“It’s a compliment to our community that these businesses want to keep coming to open up,” Gubler said.
Two out of an order of 10 all-electric buses have been received by the city of Porterville at a cost of about $820,000 each.
Published On March 16, 2018 – 4:57 PM Written By David Castellon
Porterville is a step closer to becoming one the first U.S. cities with a primary fleet of all-electric commuter buses.
On Wednesday, the city made its payment on the first two of 10 38-passsenger buses ordered from GreenPower Motor Co., which did the final assembly of the buses at its temporary manufacturing facility within two large hangars at the Porterville Municipal Airport.
Portions of the assembly also occurred in Taiwan and China.
The Canadian-based electric bus manufacturer is in the process of building a 125,000-square-foot factory across the street from the Porterville airport, where it plans to fully assemble up to 150 buses a year. And depending on how many bus orders go through in the coming years, the factory could expand up to 300,000 square feet and double its rate of bus production, said Brendan Riley, GreenPower’s president.
Porterville actually took possession of the two $822,000 buses on March 8, but the cost isn’t coming from city coffers. Instead the purchases are fully funded through $9.5 million in grants from the California Air Resources Board, which besides paying for the 10 buses also will cover the purchase and installation of 11 charging stations for them.
“Funding for this project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution,” Leslie Goodbody, an engineer for the Air Resources Board, said in a written statement.
Porterville Transit Manager Richard Tree said one of the charging stations will be installed at the Porterville Transit Center, while the rest will be installed at the city maintenance yard, where most city buses are parked overnight.
For this order, GreenPower enlarged the batteries from the normal size of its EV 350 buses, extending their capacities to 400 kilowatt hours from 320 and the buses’ driving range to 250 miles on a single charge.
Riley said the Porterville buses will travel up to 230 miles a day on their routes, so they shouldn’t have to recharge until they’re finished for the day, eliminating the need to swap out buses to charge them during the day.
Though the city has the two of the new buses, Tree said they may not be put into service for another 45 days, as Porterville Transit logos still need to be adhered to them, while GreenPower will help the city conduct field tests and train transit drivers on the new buses.
Once they’re on the road, two diesel buses will be retired, and the Porterville’s 16 compressed natural gas-powered buses will continue to be used while they’re retired at a slower rate through 2029, said Tree, adding that once all the GreenPower buses are delivered, they will be the primary buses working city bus routes.
Riley said GreenPower will make another bus it owns available to Porterville on occasions when the city needs it.
As for the rest of Porterville’s bus order, Riley noted that the first two buses took six months to build, and the next three are expected to be ready in May, while the remaining five could be ready in mid summer.
As for the new GreenPower factory, he said the initial facility could be finished by the end of summer.
Will Faraday Future, the start-up electric car maker, bring jobs to Hanford? Locals have been waiting for the dirt to fly at the big empty million square foot warehouse in the Hanford Industrial Park since last summer when a lease was announced.
Now, for the first time, we are seeing activity. This week the city site-plan-review meeting will include contractors and consultants for Faraday Future discussing the remodel of the big building with city staff.
Also, Community Development Director Darlene Mata says she expects the filing for the first permit for the company, a demolition permit for the interior of the building.
“There is plenty going on behind the scenes,” advises Mata.
At a February supplier conference in L.A., a company spokesman discussed the Hanford plant and their new car-FF 91. ”Our Hanford factory project is developing according to our planned schedule, and we appreciate the support given to us by the City of Hanford,” said Dag Reckhorn, SVP of Global Manufacturing. “We are well into the process of design and permitting and have begun planning our recruitment cadence. As of Feb. 1, the property has been completely vacated, so we will move forward on construction and equipment by the end of the quarter. We remain on an aggressive, yet workable timeline of year-end delivery for FF 91.”
We all know what a port looks like. There’s water and ships stacked high with shipping containers. But those are often in busy areas on the coast: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland. Well, one Central Valley county has decided to get in on the shipping and distribution game. That county is partnering with the Port of Los Angeles to give their region a boost for distributing around the world.
Just outside the city of Merced, slightly east of Highway 99 is what used to be Castle Air Force Base. Like most areas of the Valley, it’s rural. Across the road from the center are train tracks, and you can hear the railroad crossing signals ding. This unincorporated area of Merced County will soon become an inland port.
Now, there isn’t any water around; we’re still in the Central Valley. It won’t be the kind of port that serves ships and boats. It will be a place for products to be built and materials consolidated, and then sent to the Port of Los Angeles.
Today, two-thirds of the nearly-2,000 acre base is still an airfield, but the rest of it is the Castle Commerce Center.
“This is a site that has roughly about 75 tenants, about a 100 different lease holds,” says Mark Hendrickson, directory of community and economic development for Merced County. “We generate about $2.9 million in lease revenue.”
Merced County is hoping to use a portion of the former Castle Air Force Base as a hub for manufacturing and distribution in the Central Valley.
CREDIT MERCED COUNTY COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT
Hendrickson says their goal is to redevelop Castle “to really turn it into a site where we can focus some solid attention on manufacturing. We a want to be a place where things are made because when things are made people are working.”
Back in October, Merced County’s Board of Supervisors developed an agreement with the Port of L.A. formalizing what Hendrickson calls a “hub and spokes” development. Merced will become a place of manufacturing and distribution, and use the nearby rail line and freeways to bring goods to L.A. to be shipped around the world. In kind, Castle may also become a place where the Port can send products for distribution.
Merced County isn’t the only Valley county building ties with the Port of L.A. Kern County recently got approval to expand their Foreign Trade Zone at TejonRanch. They also will move the zone’s affiliation to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Port of L.A. The expansion means all of the industrial areas of Tejon Ranch are now within their foreign trade zone. Companies operating there will receive a break on import duties and fees. Tejon Ranch has announced the expansion will bring jobs to Kern County.
Hendrickson says the same could happen in Merced, when it comes to job creation.
“Using today’s workforce numbers, about one out of every nine jobs would be right here at Castle in about twenty years.”
There is one drawback though. More shipping could mean more air pollution.
Dean Florez is a member of the California Air Resources Board and a former state senator from Kern County.
“The kinds of jobs and economic growth this brings are very large diesel trucks that are running a lot of things that make the air a lot worse,” says Florez. “You know, that balance is really important between jobs, growth, and air mitigation.”
One issue is that companies send their trucks full of goods to a port, and then the truck typically returns to the distribution center, empty. If that truck is coming to Merced’s inland port, that could mean hundreds of miles driven just to return the truck.
“Companies need to figure out how to send items to wherever, but that these cargo trucks not come back empty.”
Florez says the Air Resources Board should come up with ways to incentivize companies to share their trucks, and reduce the total number on the road. He also says this is really an opportunity for outside groups to develop something like an Uber for trucks, where they share cargo going to the port and returning to the Valley.
“I doubt it will be state government that comes up with that,” Florez says. “But I do think it will be some outside force that will come in and say, ‘This is the way, really trucks should be running in California, we have this sharing mechanism and it actually would work very, very well.’”
Florez says he plans to bring this up with CARB later this year.
In Merced County, Hendrickson says they plan to use trains to mitigate truck pollution.
“We see our using our rail connectivity on-site to get trucks off the road, improve air quality, open up shipping opportunities for folks not only through Merced County and really throughout the entire San Joaquin Valley to places all over the world,” says Hendrickson.
Finding the best shipping practices from an inland port will take time. And developing an inland port in the first place has been a long time coming.
Mike Dozier is the former Community and Economic Development Director for the city of Clovis. He says that these sorts of deals don’t just happen overnight.
“What happens is you have this vision, and it might be ten years before that vision starts to materialize,” says Dozier.
Dozier says it takes time for infrastructure to develop, and to convince groups to believe in the project’s potential.
“You know, you just build on it, you just have to have things ready for when the time is right.”
For Merced County, officials hope that time is now.
There are new restaurants coming, a few saying goodbye and some places shaking things up a bit.
Empty restaurant spaces are getting snapped up quickly by newcomers, said Craig Holdener, a vice president at commercial real estate firm Newmark Grubb/Pearson Commercial.
Some of the new restaurants are taking over spaces that haven’t been empty for long, like the former Guadalajara and Mother Mary’s at Willow and Nees avenues.
Others are building new kitchens in existing buildings or in new shopping centers.
Here’s a look at what’s happening.
1. Butterfish California Poke opened its first Clovis restaurant late last month. At 1850 Herndon Ave., it’s in the new shopping center at Fowler Avenue, next to the Five Guys Burgers & Fries.
Like the original Butterfish at Friant Road and Fresno Street (and another in the works at Palm and Herndon avenues), the restaurant specializes in poke. That’s the Hawaiian-inspired dish of raw, bite-size pieces of tuna or other fish.
The new Butterfish offers some hot appetizers that the existing one doesn’t: Sriracha shrimp, Tokyo fries (sweet potatoes fries with a sweet-and-spicy drizzle) and maitake (tempura mushrooms served with a curry ranch dipping sauce).
In addition to the typical ingredients offered in poke bowls, the Clovis location has slow-cooked, thin-sliced beef and a few other new options.
“There’s quite a few new and different things out there,” said co-owner Rema Koligian. “We’re just trying to test the market and see what resonates with people.”
The new place is a little more colorful than the original too, with bright art and wall treatment that evokes an ocean wave. The restaurant also has a walk-up window where people can pick up food they’ve ordered via the Butterfish app.
The Napa Dog with Tioga-Sequoia beer in the background, shown at Rocket Dog Gourmet Brats and Brew Thursday, September 10, 2015 in Fresno, Calif. The eatery has opened its first Clovis location, at
The restaurant serves sausages piled high with toppings and house-made potato chips. The Napa dog, for example, is a sweet chicken sausage on a grilled baguette with fig-onion jam and crumbled goat cheese.
Rocket Dog also offers sandwiches and salads.
The restaurant has 24 taps stocked with craft beer, about double the number at its original location at on Shaw Avenue near Highway 41.
That same center has two restaurants in the works that probably won’t open for a while.
3. Clovis Pizza Subs Yogurt will open next to Slice of India, probably this summer.
4. 13 Prime Steak has signed a lease for the former Mother Mary’s pizza place, but still has a lot of work ahead of it before opening.
But after four years of planning, construction costs have quadrupled and the owners changed their minds, said Amy Rose, the director of operations who owns the Valley franchises with her father, Bob Rose.
This isn’t the end of Black Bear here, though. The owners are sniffing around for a location, especially in Fresno. Stay tuned for more on that.
At the Fresno Steak ‘n Shake, which opened last March, cook Daniel Aguilar, left, and other employees practice for opening day.
There’s a lot of buzz about what might be happening at the northeast corner of Willow and Alluvial avenues, but not a lot of answers.
Here’s what we know: On Feb. 5, the Clovis City Council approved a request for a general plan amendment that would change the corner’s low-density residential designation to one that would allow a convenience store and two restaurants.
That application identifies Steak ‘n Shake as one of the restaurants, confirmed Orlando Ramirez, a senior planner for the City of Clovis.
But that’s the only piece of evidence linking Steak ‘n Shake to Clovis. A barrage of phone calls to Steak ‘n Shake’s corporate office, other city departments, and firms that represent the applicant produced nothing – not one return phone call.
The Steak ‘n Shake name is not used in a conditional-use permit application and the company has not submitted any plans to the city.
What does all that mean? Steak ‘n Shake could very well be intending to come to Clovis. But there’s a reason they keep quiet early in a process like this. A lot can happen in the months, even years, it can take to develop a corner. And plans can fall through.
Old Town Donuts opened last week, serving all kinds of doughnuts.
Old Town Donuts
7. Old Town Donuts at 30 W. Shaw Ave. opened Saturday. The doughnut shop is in the same center as Elephant Lounge near Minnewawa Avenue.
It has colorfully frosted doughnuts, doughnut holes, bear claws and “jelly drops” – mini-doughnuts with fillings such as lemon.
Aurore Chhun and her husband run the shop, though it’s Chhun who has the background in restaurants. Born in France, her family moved to Cambodia when she was 10. At one point, she and her parents ran a restaurant on a boat, with her mother cooking as her father steered the boat.
But after the boat burned down, she ended up in Clovis, where her husband is from.
The former Forestiere’s Place, 401 Clovis Ave., bottom floor of the tall building at center, has been a new owner and will become The Bottleneck Bistro.
JOHN WALKER firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Bottleneck Bistro will eventually open in Old Town Clovis. You may have noticed Forestiere’s Place, at 401 Clovis Ave. Suite 106, has closed. It was bought by a new owner, Mark Kazanjian, who will reopen it in the coming weeks or months.
He’s redoing the interior and working on a new menu.
The restaurant will focus on quality wines, craft beer and spirits, with a full bar.
Although the menu will have sandwiches, burgers and salads, it will be a different from typical pub fare, Kazanjian said. It will include short ribs braised in red wine and dried mission figs, beer-battered fried cheese curds, and mac ‘n‘ cheese balls stuffed with cream cheese and bacon.
Chicago’s Pizza With-A-Twist is planning to open its third restaurant in the area, this one at 497 N. Clovis Ave. near Arsenio’s Mexican Food.
Chicago’s serves traditional pizza (like all-meat and vegetarian fare), but also pizza inspired by Indian food. It’s a bit like taking the dishes you get at Indian restaurants and turning them into toppings atop a typical American pizza. The menu includes the popular butter chicken pizza and Tandoori chicken pizza. Several pizzas have paneer, the Indian cheese sometimes mistaken for tofu.
Chicago’s is a chain with restaurants all over California. It has two locations in Fresno (at Kings Canyon Road and Clovis Avenue, and at Shaw and Marks avenues).
There’s still a lot of work left to be done inside, so it may be a few weeks or months until it opens.
Cool Hand Luke’s, 955 Shaw Ave., has changed hands and have added lunch and now open at 11 a.m. daily.
The restaurant pulled some favorites from the dinner menu to offer at lunch, including sandwiches, burgers and salads. It added six new lunch dishes. One – perhaps taking a page from Olive Garden’s popular lunch option – features unlimited soup, salad and sourdough rolls for $8.95.
Sergio Hinojosa, walking his bike, looks forward to the opening of Triangle Burgers Drive In, 200 W. Shaw Ave. in Clovis.
The popular old-school diner has three locations in Fresno and is known for its burgers, crinkle-cut fries and milkshakes.
Workers have ripped out the interior of the restaurant and are redoing it. The owner had hoped to open in December, but is now looking at an April debut.
Jersey Mike’s Subs has closed a Clovis location, but still has five locations in Fresno and Clovis.
12. Jersey Mike’s Subs, which opened in 2015 at the corner of Shaw and Villa avenues, closed Jan. 14. The company says it plans to relocate the restaurant, though just where and when haven’t been determined.
Mickey’s Yogurt is selling raw cookie dough that’s safe to eat.
13. Mickey’s Yogurt at Shaw and Armstrong avenues still is serving frozen yogurt, but has added something different: raw cookie dough.
We’ve all heard the warnings about raw cookie dough because of the potential for salmonella from raw eggs (and lately, E. coli from flour). So owner Tiffany Howell and business partner Daryl France – who is also her grandmother and Mickey is Howell’s grandfather – came up with a cookie dough recipe that’s safe to eat. There are no eggs in the recipe and it uses treated flour.
Customers can buy the cookie dough by the scoop, similar to scoops of ice cream. One scoop starts at $3.49 and toppings can be added.
Dirt is moving, concrete is pouring, and buildings are going up on some long-vacant lots across Fresno. Soon, you’ll see gas stations, restaurants, apartment complexes, and a funeral home pop up.
“Economic activity is robust and it’s across the entire city, all being driven by market forces,” said Mayor Lee Brand.
Here’s a look at what’s coming based on city applications and planning documents. Developers are not asked for completion or opening dates, so be patient. Construction projects are notorious for delays.
▪ The last empty corner at Stanislaus Street and Van Ness Avenue in downtown Fresno will be the site of work lofts and apartments. It was used recently as a parking lot, but many will remember that it was a boarded-up gas station for years.
Upside Enterprises, led by Mark Astone of Catalyst Marketing, removed the underground gas tanks this week. The project is still in the design phase.
▪ In northwest Fresno, the empty lots around Sierra Sky Park will soon start to fill up. The city council on Thursday approved a project at Herndon and Blythe to allow the construction of three commercial pads for future buildings, including a drive-thru restaurant.
▪ Down the street, United Health Centers is building a 57,000-square-foot administrative building on the northwest corner of Herndon and Brawley avenues. About 150 people will work out of the office, including senior executives and employees from other administrative departments, patient referral services and the call center. There is room for expansion.
The Neenan Company based in Colorado is the design and build partner for the project. The building is expected to be finished late this year. The health center’s existing administration building in Parlier will be renovated into a new health center.
▪ Across the street, on the southwest corner of Herndon and Brawley, the dirt on an old fig orchard is being graded for a Chevron gas station with 12 pumps and a convenience store. An attached car wash is also planned.
Timbers support walls under construction at an office complex as construction worker Napoleon Gonzalez passes through at Herndon and Palm avenues, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018.
JOHN WALKER email@example.com
▪ In a new building at Palm and Herndon avenues, tenant improvements have started on the new Steinway Piano Gallery of Fresno, formerly Valley Music Center. Dutch Bros. plans to open its sixth Fresno location on one end of the building. Butterfish poke restaurant is also working on opening its second Fresno spot (it has a restaurant in Clovis too) on the other end. A 2,100-square-foot space is available for lease.
A second building on the busy corner, along Herndon Avenue, is under construction. It will be offices for Guarantee Real Estate.
▪ The city’s first Hyatt Place hotel is under construction east of Highway 41, just south of Alluvial Avenue. The 130,000-square foot facility will have 124 rooms, a pool, Jacuzzi, gym and restaurant. The hotel is expected to open in 2019.
Concrete worker Victor Mandujano breaks through hard ground as he prepares to set a form at the Starbucks and Kabab City building on Nees Avenue, east of First Street, Friday Feb. 9, 2018.
JOHN WALKER firstname.lastname@example.org
▪ In northeast Fresno, a 9,175-square-foot funeral home is planned for 2.5 acres behind the ARCO gas station near First and Nees avenues. The city has received inquiries, but no formal application, about possible apartment projects on the rest of the land.
Construction continues on Starbucks’ new home on Nees between Walgreens and Sakura Chaya. Kabab City, a Middle Eastern restaurant, has signed a lease for the building.
▪ Granville Homes has started work on a 162-unit apartment project called “Brookside” on the northeast corner of Millbrook and Nees avenues. The development will have a clubhouse and leasing office, private garages and a pool.
▪ Spencer Enterprises is building a 320-unit apartment complex near the northwest corner of Willow and Herndon avenues with community building, pool, garages and carports. A commercial development is planned for the rest of the property, but the city has not received any applications yet.
▪ Trucks are moving in and out of 20 acres of land on the northwest corner of Shepherd and Willow avenues where a mixed-use commercial and multifamily development is under construction from Vincent Ricchiuti of Heritage Development Company. The plans call for more than 250 units and 34,800 square feet of commercial space with activity areas, a paseo for outdoor dining and a corner patio area.
PG&E on Wednesday launched a new network for charging electric vehicles, a web of green energy that will eventually include 7,500 charging stations.
Condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces throughout PG&E’s service territory in northern and central California are among the types of locations planned for the EV-charging stations.
Over the first three months of 2018, PG&E will install new electric vehicle charging sites through partnerships with business customers. Merced College, the first participating customer, was among the first round of installations.
The $130 million program will extend over three years and end in 2020, PG&E said.
All hosts of the EV-charging sites will be allowed to own the vehicle-charging equipment, PG&E said.
San Francisco-based PG&E will be allowed to own 35 percent of the charging stations installed over the three years, which would be up to 2,625 out of the 7,500.
“We have just installed chargers at our first customer site, which is the Los Banos campus of Merced College,” said Ari Vanrenen, a PG&E spokeswoman.
PG&E installed six chargers at the campus on Wednesday. Each charging station can accommodate two vehicles at the same time. Merced College has decided to own the first six chargers.
Equipment for this program includes what are known as Level 2 chargers.
“Level 2 charges a vehicle in four to six hours,” Vanrenen said.
In January 2017, PG&E proposed a $253 million plan to expand use of electric vehicles in California in a quest for cleaner air, but customers would be forced to pay more in monthly power bills to bankroll the company’s project.
The proposal’s elements include helping ease the process of conversions to electric vehicles of existing large- and medium-sized vehicles now running on diesel or gasoline, and expanding deployment of fast-charging electric vehicle stations that power up electric cars in roughly 25 minutes.
But that plan would come with a cost: Monthly power bills would rise an average of 28 cents a month for residential customers of PG&E, Vanrenen estimated at the time.
An expansion of PG&E’s initial efforts is already in the works through a series of pilot programs, Max Baumhefner, a San Francisco-based official with the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental activism group, stated in a blog post on Wednesday.
“These programs will be soon followed by 15 different pilots that were recently approved by the state Public Utilities Commission and which target cars, trucks, buses, cranes, airport equipment, forklifts and other things that move,” Baumhefner wrote in the blog post.
The stations that PG&E would own would most likely be in multi-family residential apartment or condominium complexes, as well as in disadvantaged communities.
“These would be in places where cars would be more likely to sit for extended periods of time,” Vanrenen said.