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County Close to Auctioning Off UMC Building, Supervisors Say
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By Edward Smith
Published 7 months ago on
September 18, 2023

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Fresno County supervisors think they’re close to selling the University Medical Center. They’ll know by Oct. 10.

Fresno County Supervisors believe there’s enough bidder interest in the buildings and grounds to put it up for public bid, according to Supervisor Steve Brandau.

Supervisor Nathan Magsig said there are “interested parties.”

They will vote Tuesday to open the auction period to sell the 33-acre former hospital. Supervisors don’t want less than $6 million. They will pick the best bid at the Oct. 10 supervisor meeting.

Supervisor Steve Brandau said there has always been interest in the building located across from the Fresno Fairgrounds.

Main Hospital Building Is ‘at the End of Its Economic Life’

The two six-story towers and other buildings total 412,280 square feet, according to the county report.

But demolition costs have dissuaded a number of interested buyers, Brandau said. While the smaller buildings are in average to fair condition, the main hospital itself “has reached the end of its economic life,” the county report stated.

Demolition costs could be between $12 million and $13 million, according to Bobby Fena, senior vice president with Colliers International, the commercial real estate firm marketing the building.

The county spends $1 million annually to maintain the unoccupied portions of the hospital, according to the county report.

The Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health still operates at the site.

Considering the size of the parcel and the location, Brandau said the buyer would have a lot of flexibility for the use of the building.

Any housing built on the property would have to have at least 15% affordable units, according to the county report.

The  vacant 33-acre University Medical Center has two main towers and a slew of various buildings at the corner of Kings Canyon Road and South Cedar Avenue. (County of Fresno)

Construction Group Claims County, City Colluded on UMC Building Debacle

In June 2021, county supervisors declared the land surplus, the first step in selling the building.

Construction company CMG came up with plans to build more than 800 units of housing in a mixed-use center at the site. However, CMG needed the city of Fresno to sign off on the agreement in order to access affordable housing construction dollars.

The city proposed in April 2021 to purchase the building at the $6 million price tag.

The deal fell apart when it came to light that a staff member for Supervisor Sal Quintero had a personal financial interest in CMG, Inc. — the construction company supervisors originally tapped to develop the project.

Fresno City Councilmembers in 2022 voted against the plan.

CMG sued both the county and the city for breach of contract, claiming the two parties conspired to torpedo the project in order to steal the company’s building designs, according to court documents.

A call made by GV Wire to CMG attorneys Nicholas Wagner and David Doyle seeking comment was not immediately returned.

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Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

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