The second floor of the Manchester Center mall in central Fresno will become 592 units of housing.
Mayor Jerry Dyer confirmed the widely-rumored plans at a speech Monday opening up a senior center.
“What you may not know is Manchester Center, that is generally been a commercial development/retail, that the plans are in. We’re getting those approved now for the development of 592 housing units on that property,” Dyer said. “So it will be an adaptive reuse of the of the businesses that are currently there. Ground floor will continue to be retail, but second floor as well as some other buildings will be housing. So a lot of good things happen on Blackstone Avenue and that’s just a start.”
For years, the second floor at Manchester Center has been bereft of retail space. It has been used mainly for classrooms and other office space.
Neither City Hall nor the Manchester Center would provide any details of the project, such as when it may start, who is developing the project, or how much it may cost.
The Blackstone Plan
Dyer was on hand at The Link @ Blackstone, at the southwest corner of Blackstone and McKinley avenues, to open a new community center, that will be used for senior programs. He discussed the importance of redeveloping Blackstone.
“Blackstone is the spine of Fresno. It is an area that people travel on a daily basis and it has been historically for the retail, for the commercial. But the future of Blackstone is much more than that. It is about housing,” Dyer said.
He envisions thousands living and shopping along Blackstone Avenue, and using Bus Rapid Transit to get around.
It is generating excitement from the city councilman for the area, Nelson Esparza.
“Manchester is a critical anchor property along the Blackstone Corridor. From the very beginning of the discussions, I have been in full support of the New Manchester Center’s vision to transform its existing retail space into mixed use space. This project alone will provide our community with more than 400,000 square feet of housing surrounded by ample green and living space not seen anywhere else in our city.”
Several housing projects along the Blackstone corridor are in the works. The developers of The Link @ Blackstone also have the Clinton Avenue Apartments project at Blackstone and Clinton; the Fresno Housing Authority is developing 41 units “The Arthur” at Blackstone and Shields avenues.
New Senior Center
Monday, Dyer cut the ribbon at a new community center, to be used mainly by seniors six days a week. The room featured bright windows, comfortable couches, and several computers.
Seniors will engage in activities for both physical and mental health.
“I really appreciate the community looking after the seniors like they do,” said resident Felicia Mack. “It’s very important for the seniors to have somewhere to go where they can relate to each other, come out to have a nice time instead of being locked up in the house all the time.”