Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Clovis City Council OK’s largest apartment complex in a decade

Source: The Fresno Bee
By Marc Benjamin The Fresno Bee
October 20, 2014

An apartment project that is the largest approved in Clovis in 10 years was supported by Clovis City Council members Monday night. The vote was 5-0 with no public opposition. The plan for 144 units that can be converted to condominiums is near the corner of Dakota and Clovis avenues, east of the city’s recreation center and old winery site. Under city guidelines, the property could have handled twice as many apartment units, said Laurie Doyle, vice president of development for Clovis-based Regal Development Group. She said the developer held two neighborhood meetings where traffic was a focal point, but there were no other significant concerns raised by neighbors. All the apartments will be single story, Doyle said. An office/recreation center with a manager’s unit is the only two-story building on the 19.6-acre property, she said. The plan includes the flexibility to become a condominium development, which is allowable under city guidelines, said Robin Kane, a Fresno apartment investment adviser. Kane said the local condominium market is sporadic in the Fresno area. It was strong about 10 years ago and in the early 1980s and could improve again, depending on the rise of housing prices. The Montage condominium development, approved by the Clovis City Council in 2005, had 255 units proposed, but only 81 have been built, city officials said. The last apartment complex approved that was larger in Clovis was the 178-unit Copper Beech project on Gettysburg Avenue and Sierra Vista Parkway in 2004.

URL to original article: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/10/20/4189505_clovis-city-council-oks-largest.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Friday, October 10, 2014

Granville building Brio! on Broadway in Mural District

Source: The Fresno Bee
By BoNhia Lee

When one downtown Fresno development from Granville Homes opens, the dirt on another begins moving. Construction is underway on the homebuilder’s ninth project in the Mural District called Brio! on Broadway. The builder celebrated the grand opening of its Crichton Place development on L and San Joaquin streets in July. And looks like some heavy machinery started underground work Monday on a lot near the Metropolitan Museum, on Van Ness Avenue and Stanislaus Street, where Granville plans more apartments. Back at Brio, 14 new two- and three-story buildings are being built and an existing house, formerly home to the Marjaree Mason Center, is under renovation on Broadway Street, between San Joaquin and Calaveras streets. Brio will have 52 units ranging in size from 602 square feet to 2,173 square feet. The house will be used as a clubhouse. Some apartments will have an attached garage and private patios or balconies. All units will have energy efficient appliances, custom cabinets, and white quartz counters. Rents will range from $825 to $1,500. A construction tour of the project will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Hard hats will be provided. Closed-toed shoes are required. Brio is expected to be completed early next year. For information visit www.RentGranville.com.

 Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/10/09/4164592/granville-building-brio-on-broadway.html#storylink=cpy 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

CoreLogic: Fresno home prices up in August

Source: The Business Journal

Home prices in Fresno were up 8.1 percent in August compared to last year, according to a new report from CoreLogic. Month-over-month, home prices in the city increased by 1.4 percent in August compared to July. Excluding distressed sales, the year-over-year prices increased by 7.6 percent while month over month increased by 1.1 percent. In California, home prices increased by 9.2 percent, or 7.8 percent excluding distressed properties, while nationally prices increased 6.4 percent. This change represents 30 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in national home prices.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/14168-corelogic-fresno-home-prices-up-in-august 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Friday, September 26, 2014

Huntington Boulevard homes given historic designation

Source: ABC 30.com
By Gene Haagenson

 FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- More homes have been added to the list of historic places in Fresno. The city council added seven homes on Huntington Boulevard. The majestic homes along Fresno's Huntington Boulevard were an early example of progressive urban planning, centered around public transportation. Fresno's Historic Preservation Specialist Karana Hattersly Drayton explained, "Developed in 1907 as a streetcar line by Albert Wishon, who's house is next door, and in 1911 it was developed as a streetcar suburb, the Alta Vista Tract. It was a commuter's paradise, it's exactly it. Streetcar suburbs were all apart moving a little further away from downtown, maybe you didn't need your horse and buggy anymore, you jumped on a streetcar and went downtown." The streetcar tracks that went down the center of the wide boulevard are gone, in their place, a wide, grassy corridor separates both sides of the street. There are more than 100 homes on the boulevard, most are historically significant. Only 10 have been given a historic designation. Seven were just put on the local register of historic resources by the Fresno City Council. Melissa Black is excited to have her Italian Renaissance style home on the register. "I'm the fourth owner of this house which is pretty remarkable in that it was built in 1924. One of the things I'm excited about with the historical designation is that now I know this beautiful work of art will be preserved into the future. Whether it's me or the next person going forward we have established this is something really special." So, what does being on the register mean? Drayton explained, "What being a registered property does do is protect the exterior." Any renovations to the outside have to be historically appropriate. Anything goes on the inside, but most homeowners love the charm and interior craftsmanship. And the for the city, the more homes that make the list, the longer the legacy of Huntington Boulevard will last. Hattersly Drayton told the City Council, "It's considered one of the great boulevards in the world."

URL to original article: http://abc30.com/news/huntington-boulevard-homes-given-historic-designation/324999/ 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Catering trend brings hot meals home

Source: The Business Journal
Written by Hannah Esqueda

Several new meal service trends have come to the Fresno area this summer, ensuring customers can enjoy decadent meals served up right at home. One local catering trend offers customers a homemade weekly dinner delivered oven-fresh right to their door. Patty Ochinero of Ochinero’s Catering said she only began offering the meals to residents in Fresno and Clovis in August, but already has seen a growing demand for the service. “People love having homemade meals delivered to their doors,” she said. She has an average of 12 customers a week and plans to put a cap on the number of meals offered once demand gets higher. Orders must be placed by Monday in order to receive a meal delivered that Wednesday. The $55 meals can serve up to four adults and come with a main dish, two side dishes and dessert. Ochinero offers a fixed menu and does not allow for changes or substitutions. Ochinero cooks the food in the kitchen at Piemonte's Deli in Fresno’s Tower District where she also sells her homemeade jams and jellies. She said she tries to buy local whenever she can in order to support local food growers. In August her menus ranged from lasagna and garlic bread to skewered salmon in an apricot ginger glaze. Menus are posted on her website and Facebook page a few days in advance so people can see what they are ordering. For the most part, Ochinero said her publicity has been word of mouth. “It’s kind of a new thing, a new idea and the response has been great,” she said. The trend has already caught on in larger cities like San Francisco, said local caterer Nancy Vajretti, owner of Love and Garlic Event Design and Catering. Her company focuses on more traditional catering services but Vajretti said in the past she has offered homemade meals on a larger scale. Vajretti said she has heard of several Bay Area companies focusing on the more intimate home meal delivery trend but is unsure if it will catch on in Fresno. “It’s very big in the Bay Area because they have the mindset for it and they have the income for it,” she said. Vajretti noted that most couples in the Bay Area both work long hours and may not have the energy or time to prepare a home-cooked meal when they get home. But Ochinero said there is a similar need for the meal service in Fresno. In addition to appealing to couples who work long hours, the meals are often given as gifts. “I’ve had one customer who is a real estate agent and she will buy the meals to give to her new homeowners, it’s a great housewarming gift,” she said. The meals are meant to take the stress out of dinnertime and therefore serve as a nice gift for new mothers or when a family member is in the hospital, Ochinero said. Currently, she makes all the deliveries herself but plans to hire more help once demand grows. The delivery process takes her several hours each Wednesday, but meals are always delivered warm, she said. That component is what sets these newer meal delivery services apart from others, Vajretti said. “There are numerous restaurants in Fresno that offer delivery but few do it right,” she said. “It’s a great thing if one can receive it hot because then all [the customer] has to do is set the table.” Another local catering company is going one step further and bringing the fire directly to its customers. Clovis's Teppanyaki 2U offers clients the grilled Japanese fare while also putting on a cooking show. The business has only been operating since June but is already booked for every weekend in September, owner Eric Sunamoto said. Sunamoto said the idea for the business came to him when he was planning his daughter's birthday party. “I wanted to get a taco truck but my daughter wanted teppanyaki,” he said. That's when he realized there was a need for the mobile service. While he doesn't personally cook the meals, Sunamoto said he was trained in a Japanese kitchen and worked for several restaurants before venturing out on his own. Sunamoto said that as far as he knows, his is the only service in the country offering to cook the traditional Japanese cuisine at someone's home, but the idea is already spreading to other markets in California. “My sister is planning to start one in San Diego and I have a friend in Santa Monica who is also interested,” he said. Sunamoto said the catering services would most likely be independent of each other rather than part of a chain with his Fresno business. For now, he is focusing on meeting demand in the Central Valley. Teppanyaki 2U has six chefs on call and each one can cook for up to 50 people, he said. “We have a party booked for 250 people in January. That will probably take all my chefs but we can handle it,” Sunamoto said. Based in Clovis, Sunamoto said the business works at parties throughout the area, including parts of Tulare County. “I don't mind traveling a bit if they're willing to pay for it,” he said. There is a $300 minimum for the service regardless of party size and the business offers a selection of meat and fish including shrimp, filet mignon, lobster and chicken. Sunamoto and Ochinero represent how the catering industry is being forced to adapt as Americans change their dinner habits. “No one throws dinner parties anymore. People are busy now and less likely to want to entertain,” Vajretti said. Hiring services like Sunamoto's Teppanyaki 2U helps kill two birds with one stone as customers get a fresh gourmet meal while guests are entertained with a fiery cooking show. By tweaking the traditional idea of a catering service and emphasizing the convenience for customers, businesses are able to carve out a niche in the market, Vajretti said. The eat local and community supported agriculture movements have also helped set up a client base for businesses like Ochinero's, she said. “It’s definitely trending right now,” Vajretti said.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/small-business/13956-catering-trend-brings-hot-meals-home 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Distressed sales down in Fresno, Kings counties

Source: The Business Journal

 Distressed home sales dipped a little in Fresno and Kings counties in August while Tulare and Madera counties both saw increases in the month. According to the California Association of Realtors, distressed sales, which include short sales, sales of bank-owned properties and other foreclosure sales, stood at 15 percent of all home sales in Fresno County in August. That's down from 17 percent in June and 29 percent in August 2013. Distressed sales were down to 15 percent in Kings County in the month compared to 19 percent in July and 30 percent a year ago. Tulare County saw its distressed sales inch up from 18 percent in July to 19 percent in the latest month, still down from 28 percent in August 2013. Madera County also had an increase, with distressed sales coming up from 9 percent to 19 percent in the month. The county's share was 30 percent a year ago. Statewide, distressed sales made up 9 percent of all homes sales in August, down from 9.7 percent in July and 15.4 percent a year ago. The share of real estate-owned sales, including bank-owned homes, went down to 4 percent compared to 4.1 percent in July and 4.8 percent in August 2013. Short sales dropped from 5.3 percent in July and 10.2 percent a year ago to 4.6 percent in the latest month. Equity sales, or non-distressed home sales, stood at 91 percent in August, down from 90.3 percent the prior month and 84.6 percent last year. Housing inventory increased for all homes in August. The unsold inventory index for real estate-owned homes, or number of months to deplete the supply of homes at the current sales rate, went from 2.5 months in July to 2.8 months in August. The index for short sales rose from 5 months in July to 6 months in August, while the index for equity sales went from 3.9 months to 4.1 months.

 URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/13954-distressed-sales-down-in-fresno-kings-counties 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Monday, September 15, 2014

During drought, pool construction at five-year high

Source: The Business Journal
Written by Hannah Esqueda

Water is the topic on everyone’s minds this summer. Where to get it, how to conserve it and how much is left are common questions residents and municipalities are asking each other. But as the statewide drought deepens, some have begun asking another question — are swimming pools in poor taste? For some communities the answer has been yes, and dozens of cities and water districts throughout the California have increased regulations on pool construction and maintenance. Some communities have even placed an outright ban on building new pools. Local pool construction companies, however, don't believe their products are wasteful and say business is booming despite the drought. “It takes less water to fill a pool than to keep a lawn green,” said Brian Smart, owner of Dreamscape Pools in Clovis. Smart has been in the pool construction business for 40 years and said he has seen several droughts. “The drought hasn't done anything to my business. We've seen others before and it's never been a problem,” Smart said. Dreamscape Pools has done 25 construction jobs this summer, the ideal workload for his small business and a recent high compared to the past few years. Despite the drought, pool construction businesses throughout the Central Valley have seen a busy summer and records indicate that there have been more pool construction permits issued this year than any other time in the last five years. So far this year, 605 permits have been issued for residential swimming pool and spa construction jobs in Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties. All together, those permits represent more than $19.9 million in construction work. That's a $4 million increase compared to the 538 permits issued last year during the same time period. In 2010, before the drought began, those numbers were even lower, with only 399 permits issued between January and September. While this trend flies in the face of the drought, it makes sense economically, said Ben Bogdanof. Bogdanof co-owns Vineyard Pools in Clovis with his brother Jeff. The two said the market is finally starting to recover from the recession and people are once again spending their money. “People have just been holding on to their money year after year and now’s the time when they're finally feeling confident,” Ben Bogdanof said. “It also helps that the banks are kind of lightening up their [loan] regulations too.” Before this year, most pool customers couldn't get a loan from the bank and had to have the cash upfront, he said. According to permit records, most pool construction jobs carried out this year range between $23,000 to $65,000. Spring and summer are the busiest times of year for pool construction and Vineyard Pools is on-track to complete more construction jobs than last year, Ben Bogdanof said. “You always get a lot of people calling in after the first heat wave of summer. It usually decreases a little after the Fourth of July,” he said. Despite the steady work pace, Jeff Bogdanof said the company has been keeping a close eye on the drought this summer and is wary of any regulations the local governments might take in response. “We're trying to get [jobs] as we can because we're aware something might happen further down the line,” he said, referring to actions taken by dozens of local governments throughout the state. In August, the Santa Margarita Water District announced it would no longer allow customers to fill or even top-off swimming pools saying water is needed elsewhere. Months before that ban, the southern California town of Montecito put a moratorium on new pool developments until the lake where the community gets its water is back to a normal level. Fresno County has not enacted any sort of ban on pool construction but could decide to do so if the drought worsens, said Will Kettler, manager of development services. “There are instances in emergencies,” he said. “It would need to be vetted publicly with a [Fresno County Board of Supervisors] vote before we did anything.” So far, Kettler said his department had not received any direction on pool construction bans. He said he did not know whether or not pools use more water than average lawn maintenance practices. But business owners like the Bogdanofs and Smart said most people overestimate the amount of water pools actually need and the fear of wasting excessive amounts of water is unfounded. “After the initial fill, [pools] actually take less water than a lawn,” Ben Bogdanof said. When people build a pool in their backyard they frequently choose to lay down concrete and build a patio as well, he said. That cuts down on the surface area of their lawn and reduces the amount of water used for outdoor yard maintenance. Jeff Bogdanof agreed and said that the industry is trying to combat the image of pools being a huge waste of water. People see an open body of water and it seems like a lot, he said. “I think a lot of it's just in the mind.” To help reassure their customers, Ben Bogdanof said Vineyard Pools has been using additional waterproofing techniques to help make sure there are no leaks and encouraging customers to invest in pool covers. “Pool covers are a huge way to conserve water. The evaporation is significantly reduced meaning less topping off,” Ben Bogdanof said. But, if local communities placed a moratorium on new pool construction, the brothers said it would mean the end of Vineyard Pools and the dozens of other businesses in the area. “We would have to shut our doors and close down. Our employees would have no work,” he said.

URL to original article: http://thebusinessjournal.com/news/construction/13807-during-drought-pool-construction-at-five-year-high 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Friday, September 5, 2014

Construction begins on luxury apartments for seniors

Source: The Business Journal

 Oakmont Senior Living broke ground on a 75,000-square-foot luxury retirement community in Fresno on Sept. 3. The center is located at 5606 N. Gates Avenue and will cater to active seniors in search of resort-style amenities. Reservations are now being accepted for the 56 assisted living and 23 memory care apartments. Construction is expected to be completed by spring 2015. "We like to say that we will be the region's luxury cruise liner of retirement communities with highly skilled chefs, an endless list of fitness and entertainment activities, and a comprehensive catalog of quality care options," Oakmont Executive Director Valerie Epps said in a prepared statement. "Oakmont of Fresno will be a place where seniors can still enjoy the best that life has to offer." The community will offer gourmet dining, on- and off-site recreational and social activities, a library, movie theater, fitness center, salon and day spa, gardens and chauffeured transportation services. Oakmont of Fresno will also offer customized care services like medication management, housekeeping, grooming assistance, dietary guidance escort services for off-site appointments and in-home care. The center specializes in memory care and will offer services specifically for individuals with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, Oakmont Senior Living is family-owned and operated.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/construction/13727-construction-begins-on-luxury-apartments-for-seniors 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CoreLogic: Valley homes prices rose in July

Source: The Business Journal

 Home prices in Fresno were up 7.6 percent in July compared to last year, according to a new report from CoreLogic. Month over month, home prices decreased by 0.6 percent in Fresno. Excluding distressed sales in Fresno, year-over-year prices increased by 7.9 percent, while they dipped month-over-month by 0.3 percent.

 In Madera in July, home prices increased by 10 percent. Month over month, prices increased by 0.7 percent. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased by 15.8 percent, while they increased by 6.1 percent month over month.

In the Hanford-Corcoran area, home prices for July increased by 6.5 percent, while month-over-month prices fell by 0.2 percent. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices rose by 13.6 percent, while month-over-month prices increased by 0.3 percent.

In the Visalia-Porterville area, home prices increased by 11.5 percent in July, while month-over-month prices increased by 1.4 percent. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased by 13.2 percent, while month-over-month prices increased by 2.5 percent. Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 7.4 percent in July 2014 compared to July 2013. In California, prices increased by 10.5 percent in July, or 8.7 percent excluding distressed properties.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/13665-corelogic-valley-homes-prices-rose-in-july

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fresno shopping center sells for $8.05M

Source: The Business Journal

The Mission Village Shopping Center near Fashion Fair Mall in Fresno was sold to a Southern California investment company for $8.05 million. The 52,950 square-foot shopping center, located at the southwest corner of Shaw Avenue and Fresno Street, was purchased by MCS Guardian Properties LLC of Solana Beach, Calif at a sale price of $152 per square foot after 90 days on the market. The seller, who chose to remain private, was represented by Hanley Investment Group of Irvine, Calif. The 5.2-acre property is 83 percent occupied. "Mission Village is located at one of the busiest intersections in Fresno, drawing more than 75,000 car per day," said Eric P. Wohl, senior vice president of Hanley Investment Group, in a release. "The property benefits from close proximity to California State University, Fresno and the newly renovated Fashion Fair Mall, the largest mall in Fresno with over 950,000 square feet of retail space." Built in 1979, the Mission Village Shopping Center is anchored by a new CVS pharmacy. Other tenants in the shopping center include a Fotech Photo Imaging Lab, Samos Kitchen, Toledo's Mexican restaurant, the Korea Mart grocery store, a Curves fitness center and Life Uniform.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/13571-fresno-shopping-center-sells-for-8-05m 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com