FCSP: Fulton Mall Option 3



Visual depiction of Option 3. It appears that the original concrete is still intact. Trees will be better pruned to make store fronts more visible to pedestrians. New signage stick out and be more visible. Lighting is updated but still maintain a historic character. The facades on the upper floors are taken down, making more space available for residential and offices.


  • 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.


Economic Impact

  • 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.


Draft depiction of what Option 3 will look like on the North end of the Mall. Click on the photo to enlarge.

Draft depiction of what Option 3 will look like on the South end of the Mall. Fresno & Tulare Streets will remain open. Click on the photo to enlarge.


Online Sources

DRAFT Fulton Corridor Specific Plan

Fulton Mall Alternative Plans - Economic Analysis



Have a lovely day in Fresno!

Veronica Stumpf, Co-Broker

Stumpf and Company, Commercial Real Estate

DRE Lic. #01906952


6 Responses to “FCSP: Fulton Mall Option 3”
  1. Gordron Johnson says:

    Fresno is a wreck in every way. What makes us think we can afford this?

    • Veronica Stumpf says:

      Can we afford not to do anything?

      According to Craig Scharton, Fresno’s director of Downtown and Community Revitalization, downtown has the most people living within a 45-minute radius (about 1.6 million people) than any other area in San Joaquin Valley. The Fulton Mall is still the urban core of Fresno and will always be. Our urban core reflects the overall health of our City. A blighted downtown is not the impression I want to give to investors, visitors nor residents.

      Fresno is one of six cities, in the U.S., chosen for the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative (SC2). Fellows of the program have helped the City apply for grants to help with the planning and construction of the Fulton Mall Options. According to the SC2 fact sheet: “on August 2, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it will provide $1 million for the pre-construction phase.” I am not certain of the City’s progress on applying for other federal grants.

  2. Jason says:

    I spoke with Mr. Elliot Balch today (March 21, 2013) (City of Fresno Redevelopment)

    It was friendly, and though not said outright….I got the feeling that minds were already made up. The city wants to rip out the Fulton Mall. They are waiting on an “environmental impact report” which I am sure will be very impartial to protecting The Fulton Mall (sarcasm SADLY)

    The City of Fresno, as usual is going to put all of it’s eggs in one basket.

    Remember “Granite Park”?
    Remember “The Fresno Met”?
    Remember “Chuckchansi Park” costing way, way, way more than was originally proposed to build? It’s a nice ballpark, but it has NOT lived up to the hype the City of Fresno has told us. In fact, it is one of the most expensive MLB
    (if not the most) leagues in the nation….thanks to The City of Fresno.

    Yes, this same city now is going to give us a “bold remodel plan” for the Fulton Mall. The citizens of Fresno are going to be force-fed the bill and cost, no accountability will be taken when the plan fails, and then the “blame game” of what to do with downtown will continue.

    Mr. Balch to his credit did seem to have a lot of his homework done concerning other pedestrian malls in the country, and why or what is not working with them. He cited Buffalo, New York extensively.

    I am from New York State. Why would a pedestrian mall NOT work in Buffalo? It SNOWS in Buffalo. A lot. It’s cold from October to about May. It RAINS in the summer. A lot. It would make sense that a pedestrian-styled shopping and civic center would not work, and fail.

    Seriously Fresno, we have to organize now….the city is going to rip out the mall…this HISTORIC mall. Write, email, and call your city council member. Call the mayor’s office. Don’t let Fresno hand us this illusion of “Oh, if we just let traffic back on Fulton Street, all of the problems of downtown will be solved.”

    Save The Fulton Mall.

    It’s worth it Fresno. I will be down every Thursday morning on The Mall to help clean up, pick up, and give out information about this place that is worth saving.

    We have to make our voice known soon in a polite, but proactive way……and, yeah….shop downtown when you can.
    See a baseball or soccer game. Smile while strolling down (or up) The Mall.

    Don’t let city hall give us another Fresno Met. Another Granite park.

    In Truth,

    Jason Piecuch
    Downtown Fresno

    [email protected]

    • Veronica Stumpf says:

      Yep, the Downtown Fresno Partnership, Mayor Swearengin, and (it sounds as if) most of City Council wants to open the Fulton Mall to vehicular traffic. The FCSP is in its environmental review phase. After this step, the public will have the chance to attend City Council meetings and to submit comments. If anyone is for or against opening the Fulton Mall, I urge them to attend. Either way, I think this is an exciting, historic time for Fresno.

      Mr. Piecuch is correct: anyone can improve the Fulton Mall by simply going there every now and again. CArtHop takes place on Thursdays, more restaurants are staying open for dinner, there are festivals throughout the year and it always seems like Fresno Brewing Co. has something going on!

      If anyone is interested in the efforts to save the Fulton Mall, you can “like” their Facebook Page.

  3. Christine says:

    At a time when many over-crowded cities are dreaming of futuristic ways to create greener public spaces, quiet zones, pedestrian plazas, outdoor art installations, and bike paths-such as have been created in Bogota and are being created in NYC-converting the beautiful outdoor mall into a street would be a slide backwards environmentally.

    Yes, we also grew up chasing fountains along the Mall, even used it as the backdrop for our short story, “Oak Tree at Court House Park” featured in our new book, Chasm.

    The point is that this unique city mall has been and continues to be a safe place for families, teenagers, romantics, strollers, and tourists to enjoy, ourselves included. It has been and should continue to be what makes Fresno stand out when one steps down off the Greyhound bus or when one takes a trip into Fresno on the train. There’s a world famous mall that’s user-friendly even for people with disabilities. To label it as only for the “down and out” or homeless is just rot.

    Besides, after the destruction of the Mall, where will the homeless be chased to next? Since they are never included in any planning discourse, are we to presume that the police will just fumigate them off the streets, beat them down further, or jail them for citations they can’t afford to pay?

    Please support Option #3. Revitalizing the Mall, placing it on the National Registor of Historic Places isn’t going to make anyone personal-ly rich. But it will generate and preserve a whole lot more good karma. Visitors won’t be swimming in bathtubs of money. However, everybody can continue to partake of the special urban legacy which has made Fresno unique; a sanctified space where children will continue to play and form the musical memories of lifetimes.

    Fulton Mall: A beautiful park in a significant Central Valley community where there are far too few of them close at hand, especially during the troublesome hot summers. A legacy to preserve and enhance!

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