Marketplace at El Paseo Holds Official Grand Opening

ABC 30 News — March 4, 2014

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After eight years of planning and months of construction, residents in Northwest Fresno can now enjoy several new shops. The official grand opening for Marketplace at El Paseo took place on Monday morning, and they started off their first day of business with 95 percent of their spots already leased.What used to be an old fig farm has now been transformed into the city of Fresno's newest shopping center. Forty new stores and restaurants are a part of El Paseo shopping center, and Northwest Fresno residents say they enjoy the convenience of having these amenities close by.

"It's really close by, so you just get off of the freeway, and you are just here," said Olga Barajas.

But this new development has brought more than just convenience to local residents. The new shopping center created 800 construction jobs and 750 permanent jobs. Java Detour's operations director says they will be looking for 20 people to work at their new drive-thru and sit-down coffee shop.

"Looks like this is the area that is really going to start growing in Fresno, and it's a good spot for us to be in," said Jason Hood.

The project was eight years in the making, and now developers are already looking ahead to phase two.

"We hope to break ground in the next year on that, which would mean that it would come online in 24 months, and we hope to have more entertainment and dining options in phase two," said Gryphon Capital managing partner Chris Shane.

A movie theater is high on the wish list for many Northwest Fresno residents.

"We have to go all the way to River Park if we want to go to a nice big theater. I don't like to go that far; it's too far for me," said Barajas.

The second phase of the project will be built on an empty lot just south of Burlington's current location.

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