FCSP: Fulton Mall Option 3
OPTION 3: RESTORE AND COMPLETE THE ORIGINAL VISION OF THE FULTON MALL
- Fulton Mall remains pedestrian-only.
- All artwork stay in their original place.
- More resources devoted to maintain and improve the Mall.
- Better lighting
- More restrooms
- More signs to help people find their way.
- Ground floor vacancy decreases from 26% to 20%
- 377,800 of newly occupied, ground-level space.
- Annual gross sales increase from $32.1 million to $38.3 million.
- Average rents increase by 5-10%.
Cost & Revenue
- Construction Cost: $8-16 million
- Maintenance Cost over 30 Years: $7.8 million
- Parking Revenue over 30 Years: $0.7 million
These figures were estimated by a consulting firm. I have heard, by the City, that each option will cost around the same to construct; $15-20 million. The City is applying for grants -up to $20 million- to help with the construction. The general trend is that a street will cost the least to maintain and more parking will generate more revenue.
This option is supported by members of the “Save the Fulton Mall” movement.
According to the Downtown Coalition, the Mall is “one of the finest examples of an outdoor pedestrian mall.” Only 20 in the United States remain. Supporters of the Mall urge the City to preserve a dying tradition. The Mall is historically significant because its opening made Fresno nationally recognized for a good reason.
The following are my opinions regarding Option 3. Please contribute your opinion in the comments. I usually steer away from expressing my opinions on this blog but this is a great opportunity to feel more confident in expressing my views as a real estate broker. Please don’t let me foolishly think I know everything!
The success of the current design depends on several factors:
Attracting Visitors Through Events: The Catacomb Party is proof that people will go to the Mall for an event in the evening. Events typically require months to plan and a lot of money. The Downtown Fresno Partnership could devote time and money to plan these events but it would be sacrificing resources that could go to marketing downtown, improving streets, etc.
Unique Anchor Tenants – Visitors will have an incentive to visit the Mall if a large anchor tenant cannot be found anywhere else within a 45-minute radius (I mentioned in this post that a shopping center has the ability to attract shoppers within a 45-minute drive). Will a historic building with an outdated layout be attractive to a large retailer?
High-Speed Rail Station – Existing pedestrian malls are successful because of their close proximity to highly-trafficked location. The current design of the Mall can succeed if the high-speed rail station is built near the Mariposa Plaza (one of the locations being considered). The station will create a lot of foot traffic on Mariposa Street and surrounding streets. This comes at a price of waiting. A representative of the California High-Speed Rail Authority told me construction of the station will begin no earlier than 2018. There are several things the City can do to prepare for this increase of business, such as removing the facades and improving the condition of the Mall.
Fulton Mall Residents – Residents on the Mall will create a vibrant atmosphere at all hours of the day. The area will feel safer to pedestrians because there will be “eyes on the street” at all times. Business owners will have an incentive to extend their hours.
More Convenient Transportation on the Mall – Public transportation, such as a street car, will make it easier for pedestrians to travel the entire length of the Mall. However, the current design does not support a street car. Any kind of transportation would have to meander around some of the art features placed in the middle of the pedestrian right-of-way.
More Public Money – The cost of rent increases the least under Option 3. Property owners will have little money to sustain their buildings. It will be up to the government to create incentives or hand out money to encourage owners to improve their buildings.
Have a lovely day in Fresno!
Veronica Stumpf, Co-Broker
DRE Lic. #01906952