The Fresno County Clerk to the Board of Supervisors opened the only envelope with an offer to buy the 33-acre former University Medical Center in southeast Fresno.
The envelope contained a $50,000 cashier’s check and an offer to buy for $6 million from Fresno developer Sevak Khatchadourian.
The supervisors approved the bid Tuesday from Khatchadourian, who has a reputation for revitalizing distressed Fresno properties — especially in downtown Fresno.
The UMC Campus has approximately 620,000 square feet across 20 buildings at Kings Canyon and Cedar avenues.
Khatchadourian said he knows what he wants to do with the building, but he is waiting for clearance from the county and city of Fresno.
He said he is leaning toward residential use.
“I will be keeping most of the structures, most of whatever is there,” Khatchadourian said. “I will be working on redoing the buildings, changing the interior, and renovating it.”
Khatchadourian Knows Distressed Fresno Properties
Khatchadourian has been successful in his ventures to rehabilitate iconic buildings.
In March, Khatchadourian purchased the downtown Fresno Radisson hotel for about $9.27 million, according to county documents.
The city shut down the hotel in December 2022 after former owners had not kept the building up to fire codes.
Khatchadourian said workers are currently replacing the roof. Plans are going through the city’s Planning and Development Department and Khatchadourian is negotiating with hotels as to what brand name it will carry.
More prominently, Khatchadourian also brought the iconic Pacific Southwest Building back onto the market. When he purchased it, the building only had 5% occupancy.
Khatchadourian said he’s gotten it up to 95% occupancy. The final floor of luxury lofts will soon be ready to accept renters.
“The Pacific Southwest was 5% occupancy and now it’s 95% occupancy,” Khatchadourian said. “I’ll do the same for the others as well.”
Across the street from Pacific Southwest, Khatchadourian hopes to do the same with the Helm Building.
Much like Pacific Southwest, the Helm will be mixed-use, with commercial businesses on the bottom and residential units on top.
Bottom floor retail is almost fully leased out and residential plans are awaiting city approval.
Ethiopian restaurant Fasika has signed a lease to occupy space in the Helm building. Construction is currently underway, Khatchadourian said.
“The contractor is on track,” he said.
Former UMC Has Been Through the Wringer
Supervisors have been trying to offload the former UMC campus for some time. All but vacant since 2006, the county spends nearly $1 million a year to keep it maintained, according to county documents.
Some staff from the County Department of Behavioral Health still operate at the former hospital.
A plan from the city of Fresno to purchase the building fell apart after it came to light a former staff member of board chair Sal Quintero had a personal financial interest in CMG, Inc. — the construction company supervisors originally tapped to develop the project.
A lawsuit against the city and county of Fresno from CMG is still active in the Fresno County Superior Court.