The city of Fresno says there is still no timetable to clean up a 20-foot high graffiti eyesore on the side of the Spiral Garage downtown.
But one developer in the area thinks the city could do it much faster.
“If they wanted to hire a private contractor, we could probably get it done in about a week,” says Will Dyck, president of Summa Development Group. “It doesn’t bode well for the neighborhood and definitely gives the impression that downtown is abandoned and not being kept up.”
One area business say the tagging — on the northwest corner of the garage at Fulton and Inyo streets, on the side of an elevator shaft — has been there longer than originally reported. One neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said it has been there since at least December.
“If this was a private building, I don’t know how code enforcement would respond to it. But it would be nice to see it removed, especially considering it’s city property that’s not helping downtown Fresno,” Dyck said.
Dyck: I Have the Equipment
City officials told GV Wire last week that the hold-up is finding a licensed equipment operator to remove the graffiti.
“We are still working on the plan. So until we get a plan in place, there is nothing more to say,” city spokeswoman Sontaya Rose said Monday. “There are some challenges with equipment and logistics.”
Dyck has a better solution.
“I have an adequate-sized boom lift sitting in a building on Fulton Mall about a thousand feet down the street. So it’s available and we’ve got operators. I don’t know why they’re trying to do it internally,” Dyck said.
And, if a boom lift is not available, Dyck said a ladder on the roof of the Gottschalks building would work.
Although often reported that the Gottschalks building adjacent to the Spiral Garage is owned by the city, that is not the case.
Samcha LLC, a company of Glendale-based businesspeople Haig Tacorian and his wife, Gilda Tacorian, bought the building in 2014 for $1.278 million. The family is known for its designer jewelry.
Theory: Break-ins and Super Soakers
Video cameras across the street did not show any evidence of a crime, said a business neighbor who wished not to be named for this story.
The working theory is the taggers accessed the roof of the long-shuttered Gottschalks building adjacent to the Spiral Garage.
There, Super Soakers could have been used to spray the word “Labsa.”
Dyck generally agrees that is what happened, but says vandals didn’t break through the Gottschalks building. Tacorian invested $25,000 to make it more secure.
“I believe that we’ve had extensive problems on the city-owned parking garage side, where you can just hop over a fence and get down onto the other roof. And that is why most of the electrical systems and air conditioning systems in both buildings have been destroyed from vagrants,” Dyck said.
Fresno police are investigating.
Plans for the Building
Dyck says he is partnering with the building’s owner to turn the long-abandoned building into a 75-unit housing project.
Also, Dyck said he and Haig Tacorian are considering purchasing the city-owned Spiral Garage and its first-floor retail space. They are waiting for the city to start accepting proposals for the property.
The development would see three stories of housing on the Gottschalks side, utilizing the basement and possibly constructing a third floor. The Spiral Garage side would remain for parking and retail.
Last year, Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias gave the media a tour of the empty Gottchalks building, part of the city’s attempt to clean up the building and hold owners responsible for its upkeep.