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What should replace Fulton’s Folly? What could boost the Tower District?

photo(60)As you may recall, Fulton’s Folly Antique Collective in the Tower District closed last month after 32 years. The owner sold the building and the new owner is currently looking for a tenant. Yesterday rumors were flying around Facebook that a Dollar General was going to take over the space. Building owner and local businessman Troy Collins says they’re not true. “I haven’t talked to Dollar General. I haven’t talked to any of their representatives. … I don’t know anything about it.”

Collins is talking to several people interested in the space, mostly restaurant and bar types or other entertainment venues. But it begs the question: What would fit in that building? At 9,500 square feet, it’s a decent-sized space for the Tower District.

Collins is also thinking big about the neighborhood and its potential. “That [building] could be a catalyst to redevelop the Tower District,” he says. “If the right thing goes in there, it could really get things rolling.” He’d like to get an attraction that would be powerful enough to draw people from north Fresno and their spending. So, blog readers, what do you think? What would be a good fit for that space? And what — if anything — can accomplish Collins’ vision of revitalizing the Tower District?

Responses to "What should replace Fulton’s Folly? What could boost the Tower District?"

Tara hamilton says:

An organic and local grocery store with prepared foods to go.

Christine says:

I’m with Tara. Healthy food!

Julius says:

#1 — Local organic grocery store.
#2 — Indie used/new bookstore w/ cafe.
#3′s — Neo-burlesque bar? Bowling alley? Karaoke bar w/ private rooms?
#4 — Children’s Nightcare Center that parents drop off their kids at for the evening. Open from 5pm-3am. Pay by the hour.

Hopefully it’s not occupied by a big corporate chain…

Britt says:

Yes, please bring a healthy grocery store to Tower!

Kim says:

A DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant. There is no Italian food that I know of.

Stephen says:

Oggi’s.

Crossing Van Ness/Maroa can reveal many a splendored thing.

MsJoey says:

I think they just need to know their demographic. A Trader Joe’s would be ideal. Or a local grocery store of the like.

Sharon says:

I agree. Trader Joes.

Larissa says:

A really nice bookstore with cafe, outlets for computers, and a nice kids section! I moved here from San Antonio TX a few months ago and was disappointed with how few bookstores there are here.

Traci Arbios says:

What about an amusement of some sort?

bradley says:

For the 100th time, a Trader Joe’s is not going to move in there. Two main reasons:
1. No parking. The city’s requirements for grocery stores is the reason there’s gigantic parking lots in front of grocery stores. Our best chance for a good grocery store vanished when 1) Dollar Tree moved in and 2) Tower Market took over Drug Fair.
2. Wrong demographic. While some people in the Tower district like to pretend they live in Fig Garden, the people who actually live in the Tower are lower middle class and below. Lots of struggling families that would benefit more from a WinCo before they would a TJ’s. Our average gross household income is half that of the state average. TJ’s needs you to make more money Tower District before they will even START to consider you.

Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in 2004: $28,342 (Individual Income Tax Returns)
Here: $28,342
State: $58,600

Austin Dozier says:

The point about income I don’t get. Tower Market is full of overpriced name brands and/or crap. Whenever I look for something there, it’s consistently about double the price it should be. All I get there now are are potatoes (which are surprisingly the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere) and milk. I realize they probably have some higher rent to compensate for, but it’s still ridiculous. I think they only survive because they’re the only option nearby.

Heather P says:

I think part of boosting the Tower is complementing the things that are already here, rather than adding more of the same. Right next door to that space is Good Company Players 2nd Space theater. Other small theaters in the Tower struggle with the double edged sword of having a bar and/or live music next door. The noise from bars – especially if they have DJs or live music – can bleed into the performance space and seriously distract from the performance. But it is great having someplace nearby for a pre- or post-show cocktail.

2nd Space alone brings around 300-500 people a weekend into that building, most from Clovis and the North Side. When you add in event-goers from the Tower Theater, Roger Rockas, the Broken Leg Stage, the Voice Shop, Severence. . . Perhaps something to enhance the experience of people visiting the Tower for live entertainment? Relaxed, low-key places for people to gather before or after a show at one of the many Tower District performing arts venues are pretty thin on the ground. There are a few places that are good for after-show conversation in the Tower, but not enough of them, in my opinion. Most are pretty loud and feel like they MUST have loud music after 9 p.m. That gets frustrating when you want to actually TALK to and enjoy your friends.

Although, I like the idea of a bookstore/cafe, too. I love Hart’s Haven, but a terrific indie-bookseller in Tower would be welcome.

bradley says:

So, with that out of the way, my ideas?

1. New restaurant sounds good. The restaurant mix in Tower has gotten stale and all of the existing ones have gotten lazy with the lack of competition. One that serves breakfast is preferred – our breakfast options suck.

2. Good hardware store. Cobb’s is the closest at Palm and Shields, but it’s selection is limited. With all the aging housing stock in the area, home improvement is constant in the Tower.

3. Music Venue. Fresno needs more stages for bands to play on.

4. Pet Store. Tower loves its doggies and kitties and gila monsters.

5. 24hr Fitness. Centerpoint just needs to be burned to the ground but we have no other fitness center close by.

Stephen says:

I agree with the ladies – I’d even like to see an indoor farmer’s market.

Trader Joe’s would be awesome, tho they’ve already said before they wouldn’t build another store. i think they’re crazy…why not drop your store right in the middle of your target market?

Karen says:

What a relief! Thanks for the legwork.

What type of business would I choose to occupy the space? Something that meets the needs of the community, and doesn’t already exist. A decent affordable grocery store that also carries fresh local produce and prepared meals would be nice. The space is the right size for something akin to a Fresh and Easy or Trader Joe’s, both of which are much less expensive than Save Mart. Trader Joe’s occupies more than one store per city in other areas of California. Why not Fresno? Hardware would also be good, but please – NO gyms, big box specialty stores, or drug stores. Believe the space was originally a department store, Ollenberger’s, and also sold fabric. A minimum of 24 parking spaces exist, plus on-street parking.

To the new owner, Thanks for asking.

Duke Feist says:

Restaurant….The city is lacking a GREEK RESTAURANT…Lemon soups would be nice….How about a Ruby Tuesday….Fish and Chips (just not Long John Silvers)

Kim B says:

I agree the restaurants have to up their game.i would love to see A place that excels in making a healthy soups and salads using local produce and a modern clean atmosphere .

gerard says:

1. Local grocery store, with a organic section.
2.An Indian Restaurant
3. A pot café (once marijuana becomes legal)
4 Karaoke bar

Karen H. says:

WHAT FRESNO~THE TOWER DISTRICT ~NEEDS IS ANOTHER RESTAURANT LIKE THE “DAILY PLANET”. WE NEED A DINNER HOUSE THAT HAS LIVE MUSIC WHILE WE EAT WITH GREAT FOOD . FRESNO,IN GENERAL, IS LACKING THIS TYPE OF VENUE. WE DO HAVE A FEW RESTAURANTS WITH LIVE MUSIC,BUT THE FOOD IS SUBPAR. LIVE DINNER MUSIC WITH GREAT FOOD AND GREAT DRINKS DRAWS A HUGE CROWD!

Tony G says:

95% of the restaurants in the Tower District have lost my business over the last 13 years. As already stated- lack of competition. AGREED! Also, customer service in the Tower is GARBAGE! It just seems like they simply don’t care! There is not much “new money” in the Tower, therefore financially sustaining a business is extremely hard work now a days. I personally would like to see something entertaining go into Fultons Follies building. A new breakfast place would be nice… Hopefully Irene’s would close down…

Terry Rose Andrews says:

An Italian restaurant with smooth Jazz playing through out the night! With up and coming local talent, and a Special guest once in a while the real deal!!! A real bistro to have your AM coffee brewed to perfection, with a continental breakfast. That would bring outsiders and locals to a touch of Class! I know I would visit a little more often!

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