We have so much to be thankful for in downtown Fresno. This past year has been full of good news, exciting projects, and so many new businesses. Check out this list that features a glimpse of why we’re giving thanks this year:
31 new businesses have opened this year. Thirty One! That’s more than double the number of businesses that opened in 2015!
And, thank goodness for our existing businesses that expanded in downtown: Root General Store outgrew their space and moved a few blocks up Fulton into the Warnors Center building
Speaking of historic building renovations, check out downtown’s Kepler Neighborhood School’s new building – they’re retrofitting the century-old Parker-Nash building to make room for their new 20-classroom, state of the art school!
Take a look at our quarterly development report for all of the latest business developments and information on new investments in downtown.
Three Cheers for Beers
Fresno’s beer scene really came alive in 2016. Tioga- Sequoia Brewery, the godfather of craft beer in Fresno, announced that they have purchased the 14,000 SF space next to their existing building and will begin brewing obscene amounts of beer to keep the thirsty masses at bay. This is just one more way that the gang at Tioga-Sequoia are showing their steadfast commitment to downtown Fresno! Be sure to check out their upcoming events including my favorite, Rush Day on 12/17 where they partner with three local coffee roasters to let the community choose which variant of the acclaimed beer should be brewed in 2017
Our friends at Full Circle Brewing Co. had quite a big year too: The retirement of longtime owner Kenny Young brought in new owners who are already taking Fresno’s craft beer world by storm. The flagship Cluster Fuggle and the High Speed Rail Ale have been re-worked and are accompanied by a new lineup of delicious beers. Stop by to check out the brewery’s new look including the beautiful bark beetle wood wall behind the bar as you drink a pint of Killwood IPA, where a portion of the proceeds go towards helping homeowners suffering from the impact of tree mortality caused by bark beetle.
Winner of the 2015 Create Here competition, HoP/PK is the love child of Sanger brewery House of Pendragon (HoP) and Visalia’s Pita Kabob (PK). The future gastropub is under construction and expects to open this spring featuring a full range of local beers and amazing food.
Business and Tech on the Rise
We can barely contain how excited we are about this month’s grand opening of Workspace. Located on the 3rd floor of the historic Pacific Southwest Building, this co-working space can hold up to 60 businesses and offers options that even include day passes. Workspace members also receive discounts at participating downtown restaurants and businesses!
Bitwise has spent this past year making all of us smarter: We have LOVED taking classes at Fresno State Downtown (Rocio is a Photoshop wizard now!). Bitwise is also home new business Valparaiso Café and Roastery and Mabel’s Kitchen, relocated from Kern Street. The smartest thing to happen at Bitwise was the announcement that Irma Olguin Jr. was named co-CEO of Bitwise Industries, and we’re so thankful for that. She’s a rock star geek, an amazing role model, and an incredible advocate for Fresno!
In the News
We’re not the only ones singing Fresno’s praises. The Grizzlies were once again recognized repeatedly on the national stage. This time as the 2016 Ballpark Promotion of the Year and they were the 2016 National League nominee for the prestigious Larry McPhail Award for outstanding and creative marketing and promotions. We’re so grateful to the Grizzlies for allowing us to kick off our placemaking efforts by putting up the Growlifornia sign in left field.
2016 was also a great year for the 2016 Pacific Coast Champion Fresno Fuego and the Fresno Freeze, who dominated the Pac North. If you’re not already a fan, you need to climb on that bandwagon right now. Next season will be here before you know it, thankfully!
Downtown Fresno was the big winner at this year’s International Downtown Association Award Ceremony receiving 3 awards for outstanding projects – more than any other city! Fresno received an Excellence Award for the Restaurant Makeover Competition, an Excellence Award for Downtown Academy, and a Merit Award for the Downtown Investment Flyover video which showed $100 million of downtown investment in 60 seconds.
Infrastructure & Culture
Transportation projects are one of the best indicators of a city’s rebirth, and in 2016, Fresno has been a sea of orange barrels. Navigating downtown has been an adventure with three major projects underway simultaneously: Fulton construction, Bus Rapid Transit, and High Speed Rail. Millions of dollars of public investment in the city center signals a bright future for Fresno by making downtown accessible for residents, guests, and investors!
We’re also thankful that the Downtown Development Code, the Fulton Corridor Specific Plan, and the Downtown Neighborhood Plan all passed City Council this year!
The Cultural Arts District Park grand opening is on Thursday, December 1. We’re so happy to have a beautiful, multi-purpose park for our residents, businesses, artists, and guests to visit and enjoy. We’re so grateful for the many people in our community who have contributed to making this park a reality.
The park is just the latest in a long history of amazing art and culture amenities in Fresno including ArtHop, City Limits Live at KJWL Studios, the extraordinary Altares, Murales y Tradicion exhibit at Arte Americas, Civic Center Square’s weekly Music Friday series, The Sandlot at Warnors Center to name just a few!
I know I didn’t get to everyone in this blog and for that I apologize. Heck, I didn’t even get to some projects that I worked on here at DFP! If you didn’t make the list, don’t worry, I’ve already started an end-of-year list so I can get to the folks not included here. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to share something in that blog.
Share this post and let us know what you’re thankful for – in downtown Fresno or elsewhere in your life!
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday.
May your turkey be fat and your waistline stay thin!