Mayor's Office

Downtown Revitalization

Downtown Revitalization

Downtown Fresno is becoming a place where it makes business sense to develop property, open a store or restaurant, live, or locate an office. The market will continue to respond, bringing more investment and development to Downtown Fresno.

State of Downtown

Since 2011, the Mayor has delivered a ‘State of Downtown’ address early in the year to celebrate accomplishments and preview what is in store for Downtown.

Watch video of 2016 address

Past State of Downtown Addresses

Downtown Plans and Code

Features of the Downtown Plans

Careful design and land use are critical elements of successful downtown revitalization. Design policies that are not oriented toward pedestrian-friendliness, the restoration and use of vacant historic buildings, a high-density mix of uses, and 24-hour activity can do more to harm revitalization than help.

  • Created user-friendly development rules through a new “form-based code” that helps developers design good urban projects from the start, and eliminates haggling that adds extra time, money, and frustration to the development process.
  • Set the City’s course for building infrastructure (such as water, sewer, and transit) Downtown, based on where, when, and how densely development is to occur. This vision for development will in turn be guided by economic analysis of Downtown’s ability to support new development and various new uses. Presently, inadequate infrastructure (due to a lack of vision on land use) is a major cause of additional cost and uncertainty for developers.
  • Dramatically reduced study times and costs for each individual new project, by assessing the environmental impacts of additional development intensity upfront.
  • Determined the future of Fulton through the Specific Plan and, through the accompanying environmental impact report, take the appropriate legal steps to implement the vision that stakeholders and the community adopt.
  • Planned land uses, transit connections, and development financing around the High-Speed Train station coming to the vicinity of Mariposa and H Streets, in order to maximize the revitalization potential of this major regional facility.
  • Set standards for the design of buildings and streets that create a sense of certainty about the quality of future development and future property values, thereby encouraging greater investment.
  • Determined parking policies that maximize the user’s ability to park once and visit multiple Downtown destinations.
From the Archives

Timeline of Fulton Mall history from the 1950s to the present.

Article about Fulton Mall in Planning, the American Planning Association magazine, July 2012

Publicly Owned Art in Fresno, a 1973 publication that includes description of the Fulton Mall’s collection

Fresno and the Mall, a 1960s retrospective on the effort to construct the Fulton Mall and other downtown projects

Downtown Fresno and the Fabulous Mall, a 1960s marketing brochure for the Mall, its merchants, and the surrounding area

A City Reborn, the 1968 video by Victor Gruen Associates promoting the separation of vehicles and pedestrians in urban planning, and the Fresno Mall

Grant Funding

Construction funding application to Fresno County Measure C TOD program, December 2013

TIGER funding announcements from U.S. DOT and from City of Fresno, and video of announcement on Fulton Mall with Secretary Anthony Foxx, September 2013

Application for construction funding to U.S. DOT TIGER program, June 2013:


Letters of support

Preliminary engineer’s estimate

Benefit-cost analysis

Pre Construction funding application to FHWA’s Transportation, Community and System Preservation Program, December 2011

The Mariposa Plaza Activation Project and the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program:

Complete application, January 2013

Funding announcements: from NEA and from City, July 2013

Design and Engineering

How will the rebuilt Fulton better support local businesses, welcome more visitors, and retain the best of what’s there today? The project’s landscape architects are working from initial concepts toward final design and engineering. For detailed information, download the design document called the Fulton Mall Reconstruction Project Alternatives Analysis Report, or see the City’s February 2014 Downtown Revitalization newsletter for highlights.

2010 Fulton Corridor Specific Plan Design Workshop

Fulton Corridor Specific Plan Community Action Committee

The Fulton Corridor Specific Plan is new City policy that will guide downtown development and investments in infrastructure. A 21-stakeholder Community Advisory Committee was been appointed to make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on alternatives for the Fulton Mall and other Specific Plan contents.

On September 27, 2010, the City hosted a discussion of alternatives for the Mall’s future with national experts on landscape history and retail planning. Video is available of the expert presentations, a description of each alternative, and later public comment. On October 19, 2010, the Community Advisory Committee voted to recommend three options for further study.

On October 14, 2011, the City released a public draft of the Specific Plan which included a chapter dedicated to the Fulton Mall. The chapter summarizes the history of pedestrian malls in the U.S., the history and existing physical and economic conditions of Fulton, and analyzes the three options for the Mall’s future at a programmatic level.

For more background, see Mayor Swearengin’s presentation on the Fulton Mall to other mayors and design professionals at a national Mayors’ Institute on City Design conference on July 22, 2009. Watch the Fulton Mall transform through the eyes of a local designer as seen at the first annual State of Downtown Breakfast in January 2010.Watch the video of nationally known pedestrian mall expert Henry Beer and other speakers addressing the 2013 State of Downtown Breakfast.

April 17, 2012 Scoping Meeting Presentation

A Citizen’s Guide to NEPA

November 8, 2011 FCSPCAC Agenda

November 1, 2011 FCSPCAC

November 1, 2011 FCSPCAC Meeting Minutes

October 25, 2011 FCSPCAC

October 25, 2011 Meeting Minutes

November 1, 2011 FCSPCAC Agenda

October 18, 2011 FCSPCAC Final Meeting Minutes

October 19, 2010 Final FCSPCAC Meeting Minutes

September 14, 2010 FCSPCAC Final Meeting Minutes

October 25, 2011 FCSPCAC Agenda

Fulton Mall Assessment as a Cultural Landscape

Fulton Mall Alternative Plans: Economic Impact Analysis

October 18, 2011 FCSPCAC Agenda

October 19, 2010 FCSPCAC Meeting Minutes

September 14, 2010 FCSPCAC Final Meeting Minutes

FCSP Chapter 1 – Introduction

FCSP Chapter 2 – A Vision for Downtown Fresno in 2035

FCSP Chapter 3 – Plan Framework and Goal

FCSP Chapter 4 – The Fulton Mall

FCSP Chapter 5 – Priority Development Projects

FCSP Chapter 6 – Building and Development

FCSP Chapter 7 – Historic Preservation

FCSP Chapter 8 – Public Realm

FCSP Chapter 9 – Transportation

FCSP Chapter 10 – Utilities

FCSP Chapter 11 – Implementation

FCSP Appendix

FCSP Final Market Analysis Report

Utilities Existing Conditions Report

June 13, 2011 Presentation to Joint Session of FCSPCAC and DNCPCAC

June 13, 2011 Joint FCSPCAC and DNCPCAC Agenda

High Speed Train Station Area Concepts

October 19 2010, FCSPCAC Fulton Mall Alternatives Selections

October 19, 2010 Fulton Corridor CAC Presentation

October 19, 2010 Fulton Corridor CAC Background Information

October 19, 2010 FCSPCAC Agenda

September 16, 2010 City Council Presentation

September 15, 2010 Planning Commission Presentation

September 14, 2010 Fulton Corridor CAC Presentation

June 8, 2010 FCSPCAC Presentation

April 20, 2010 FCSPCAC Meeting Minutes

April 20, 2010 Downtown Neighborhoods Existing Conditions Analysis Report

March 9, 2010 FCSPCAC Meeting Minutes

March 9, 2010 FCSPCAC Presentation

FCSP Community Advisory Committee Members

Presentation to City Council

October 20, 2011 Mayor’s description of Fulton Mall options

October 20, 2011 consultant description of FCSP and DNCP documents

Environmental Impact Report

An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is being prepared by the City of Fresno, as lead agency, under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Draft Environmental Impact Report
public comment period closed January 13, 2014

Draft EIR appendices:

All appendices

1.2-1.5: Comments received

Appendix 2: Historical Resources

Appendix 3: Visual Impact Assessment

Appendix 4: Air Quality Report

Appendix 5: Biological Resources Report

Appendix 6: Paleontological Resources Report

Appendix 7: Hazardous Materials Report

Appendix 8: Sole Source Aquifer/Water Quality Analysis

Appendix 9: Community Impact Assessment

Appendix 10: Noise Study

Appendix 11: Traffic Study

All of the above Draft EIR documents together (one large file)

Response to Comments on the DEIR (final version, part of the Final EIR)

Related Entitlements

The Mall Project and several related entitlements (Plan Amendment Application No. A-13-008 and Conditional Use Permit Application No. C-13-160) are being evaluated in the EIR. Certain elements come under the jurisdiction of various local boards and commissions. Upcoming hearing dates include the following. Be sure to check back here for updates.

Airport Land Use Commission of Fresno County
When: Monday, December 2, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
Where: Fresno COG offices, 2035 Tulare Street, second floor

City Council District 3 Plan Implementation Committee
When: Monday, December 2, 2013, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Fresno City Hall, Meeting Room A

City of Fresno Historic Preservation Commission
When: Monday, December 16, 2013, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Fresno City Hall, Meeting Room A

City of Fresno Planning Commission
When: Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Fresno City Hall, Council Chamber

City of Fresno Planning Commission
When: Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Fresno City Hall, Council Chamber

Fresno City Council
When: Thursday, February 27, 2014, 5:00 p.m.
Where: Fresno City Hall, Council Chamber

Federal Environmental Documents

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), as the federal agency funding the project, would ordinarily serve as the lead agency for federal environmental studies. In California, FHWA has an agreement with Caltrans, the state department of transportation, assigning lead agency duties to Caltrans.

As they become available, Caltrans will post federal environmental documents on its District 6 website, and we will endeavor to link to those documents here.

Documents prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Department of Transportation Act Section 4(f):

Draft Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) Evaluation

Documents prepared under National Historic Preservation Act Section 106:

Finding of Adverse Effect

Historic Property Survey Report

Land and Water Conservation Fund Act documents Section 6(f)(3), relating to the existing “tot lots”:

City of Fresno Stewardship Conversion Request

Nomination to the National Register of Historic Places

The Fulton Mall was nominated in 2008 to the National Register of Historic Places. The Mall was formally determined eligible for the National Register in 2010, but it cannot be listed on the Register because a majority of private property owners object. Because of its eligibility for the National Register, however, the Mall is now listed on the California Register of Historical Resources.

The documents below relate to the historic nomination process.

Nomination text

Fact sheet prepared by the City’s Historic Preservation Project Manager

Letter from the State regarding the nomination

City Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) staff report for the April 5, 2010, hearing

Letter from HPC stating the Commission’s recommendations on eligibility and listing

Letter from Mayor Swearengin stating her objection to the listing

City Council resolution of objection to the nomination adopted April 15, 2010

Response from the State Historic Preservation Officer to Mayor Swearengin, sent April 23, 2010

Mall property owners supporting and objecting to the historic listing as of April 12, 2010

Notification from the State of the Mall’s eligibility for the National Register and listing on the California Register of Historical Resources, sent September 2, 2010, to Mayor Swearengin

Downtown Neighborhoods Community Advisory Committee (DNCAC)

The Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan (DNCP) is the community’s tool for guiding the successful regeneration of Downtown Fresno and its surrounding neighborhoods.  It is a visionary document that lays out the community’s long-term goals for the Plan Area and provides detailed policies concerning a wide range of topics, including land use and development, transportation, the public realm of streets and parks, infrastructure, historic resources, and health and wellness.  Along with the accompanying form based Downtown Development Code, the DNCP is intended to protect Fresno’s oldest neighborhoods, while encouraging and accommodating future development, in a manner that contributes to a stronger and healthier community for everyone.

The DNCP consists of an introductory chapter, followed by eight chapters that cover a wide variety of topics related to the revitalization of the Downtown Neighborhoods.  Please click on the below links to access each individual chapter:


Chapter 1 – Vision

Chapter 2 – Urban Form and Land Use

Chapter 3 – Transportation

Chapter 4 – Parks, Open Space, and Streetscape

Chapter 5 – Infrastructure and Natural Resources

Chapter 6 – Historic and Cultural Resources

Chapter 7 – Health, Wellness, and Community Development

Chapter 8 – Implementation

Additional resources that informed the creation of the FCSP include:

DNCP Economic and Demographic Overview

The Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan (DNCP) Process

The DNCP is the result of an intense public process that involved input from over 300 residents, business owners, and property owners.  The evolution of this Plan is based on extensive community input throughout each of the following six phases:

In this phase, the Consultant team learns everything about the Community Plan area, including its physical, economic, regulatory, and political aspects through in-field analysis, review of existing regulatory documents, and meeting with the City’s various departments, agencies, and stakeholders.  The information is compiled into several reports, posters, and PowerPoint presentations, and presented to the Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan Community Advisory Committee (DNCPCAC) and the community during several public meetings and workshops.

This phase concluded in early May 2010.

Visioning and Design Workshop
In this phase the information and input received during the previous Discovery phase is translated into physical form and draft policy recommendations during a week-long Visioning and Design Workshop.

The Visioning and Design Workshop process is a method of public participation that brings all interested parties (municipal officials, developers, business owners, and community members) together for a series of days in which everyone with a stake or interest of any kind participates directly with the design team to develop and review ideas about the project at hand.  The process is completely interactive and sees each of the plan’s components developed simultaneously in response to issues and needs posed by its various participants.  City Staff are involved throughout and help facilitate input from a person or group that needs to be heard on a particular subject.  In this way, the ‘feedback’ loops are ongoing and immediate, keeping unproductive or inappropriate results from being developed.  At the end of each day, the design team summarizes what the Design Team, City Staff and the participants studied, achieved, and decided upon that day for the community’s review and comment.

The Visioning and Design Workshop occurred May 10–May 15, 2010.

The intent of this phase is to compile, describe, and distill the various strategies, outlines, illustrated ideas, methods, desired outcomes, codes, and implementation measures produced during the Visioning and Design Workshop, refine them as necessary and provide all of the materials for review by the City, the DNCAC, and the public.  This Phase focuses on producing any refinements to any of the diagrams, drawings, memos, etc., that will be used in the Specific Plan document.  The Consultant presents to the FCSPCAC and DNCPCAC the vision, policy recommendations, and implementation measures that were generated at the Charrettes.  The CACs gives their final input prior to the consultant team beginning the Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan document.

“Unpacking” occurred in June, 2010. 

Community Plan Preparation
In this phase, the Community Plan document is compiled through the generation of several successive drafts.  The plan provides:

The policy foundation for the Downtown Neighborhoods plan area, including a public realm and private realm tune-up, with a strong emphasis on supporting  community development objectives;

Implementation tools calibrated to the Downtown Neighborhoods;

A Form-Based Code that is structured to be extensible over time, and capable of calibration to a variety of neighborhood circumstances.

The Consultant team released the public draft of the Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan in mid-September, 2011 for review by the Community Advisory Committee and the community. 

Environmental Review
This phase is devoted to the generation of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Assessment (EA) in order to address the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), evaluating the potential environmental impacts of the combined Community Plan/Specific Plan/Neighborhood Code project.

The Notice of Preparation was released with the Public Review Draft

Public Hearings and Plan Adoption
This phase is devoted to navigating the final Community Plan, Specific Plan, Development Code, and EIR through the public hearing and adoption process and is comprised of a series of workshops and hearings with such bodies as the Planning Commission, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the City Council.  The final product is an adopted Community Plan, Specific Plan, Development Code, and EIR.

Final adoption has occurred