The Villa Motel is one of two motels in Fresno purchased by the city. Image via loopnet.com.
Written by Edward Smith
The Fresno City Council on Thursday approved the purchase of two motels in downtown Fresno for immediate use as transitional housing for the homeless — even before the spring escrow closing date.
In a 7-0 vote, council members agreed to pay the combined $5.73 million to purchase the Ambassador Inn from 1804 s. Olive Ave. and Villa Motel at 817 N. Parkway Dr.
The Ambassador Inn with its 56 units sold for $3.3 million and the Villa Motel with 51 rooms sold for $2.43 million.
Rooms at the Ambassador Inn are larger and in better condition, which explains the higher price, said Tim Orman, chief of staff for Mayor Jerry Dyer, who recently announced he would leave office Jan. 31.
Orman assured the board that the purchase price was below market value.
Both hotels are currently in operation. The city of Fresno would use its own money to buy the motels, as opposed to similar projects funded by the state’s HomeKey project.
The City of Fresno is reportedly seeking HomeKey funding to renovate properties at a later date, according to city staff.
Although escrow isn’t expected to close until April 1, city staff said housing for the homeless could begin February 1. It will be run by the non-profit group Elevate Community Services.