Word on the Street: Work begins on Marketplace at El Paseo

The Fresno Bee — April 21, 2013

Heavy graders have begun shoving dirt around on the former fig orchard that eventually will become the Marketplace at El Paseo, more than two years after the Fresno City Council approved the development.

A blue fabric fence surrounds the work taking place on about 75 acres on the south side of Herndon Avenue at Bryan Avenue, east of Golden State Boulevard. A steady stream of trucks flowed in and out of the site one morning last week.

Among the latest tenants to announce plans to move into the center when it opens next year is Burlington Coat Factory, which already has one store on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno. Burlington's 60,000 square-foot store is planned to be a new prototype for the company.

Other confirmed tenants, according to Retail California broker Lewis Smith, include Target, Marshalls, Old Navy, Ross, Famous Footwear, Anna's Linens, Petco, Tilly's, Sleep Number, McDonald's and Panda Express.

N3 Real Estate Partners of Texas recently announced that the company, along with Rich Development Enterprises and Gryphon Capital, had partnered on closing the purchase of the property and start of construction on the $60 million development.

The El Paseo project has been a point of contention in a feud between Madera County and the city of Fresno over growth along and near the San Joaquin River and the Fresno-Madera county line.

Fresno sued Madera County over its proposed 5,200-home Tesoro Viejo project, across the river from north Fresno, over concerns that it would put additional strain on traffic, air quality and infrastructure in the region.

Madera County, in turn, retaliated with a suit against Fresno over the El Paseo project expressing many of the same fears.

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