Campus Pointe sketchy at best

When I first heard a movie theater was going up near Fresno State, I was thrilled. Then I got a car, and River Park wasn’t quite as far away as it once was.

That near-campus 14-screen super-ultra-megaplex is still in the works as part of Campus Pointe, the still-pending development project to be nestled between the Save Mart Center and Highway 168.

If the suits in charge of the project ever met on campus, they must have flown in by helicopter — there’s no way they could drive here and think Fresno State needs more traffic.

A quick look at one of several official Campus Pointe press releases has me wondering — just how much “overflow classroom space” will the theatre provide during Oscar-release season?

Even if the theatre promises to show “art films” how exactly will it make any money, or a small enough deficit that the hotels and apartments nearby will cover it with profits?

Numbers and details, beyond acreage, number of rooms, and barest specious economic impact are scarce. President John D. Welty quotes a 2005 survey that reported Fresno State provided more than 6,500 worth of full-time jobs, and had a $500-million-plus effect on the regional economy.

What’s projected for Campus Pointe?

Swimming through the sea of old press releases, there’s some help in this particular one, but not much. It makes the claim that each student living off-campus spends an average of almost $10,000 in the local economy. Will Campus Pointe really make $1 million for every hundred students as it claims?

I’m thinking that just because students live off-campus doesn’t mean they don’t live locally already. I’m thinking that near-campus living within spitting distance of a highway might not be as attractive as it sounds. I’m thinking mixing public and private funds and efforts tends to be a legal nightmare.

Even if it isn’t subsidized by state funds, as a press release in defense of the project claims, how much say exactly does Fresno State have in the project? How much say will Fresno State retain once it gets off the ground? Do we just hold the lease? How much will go to whoever invests in the Hyatt, and so on?

How? How much? They’ve already bored us to death with what, where, when and with their reasons why.

These press releases are months old, but just because the sound and fury has died down doesn’t mean it’s over. It’s almost impossible to find out anything, much less anything new.

I Googled Kashian Enterprises, the dudes to whom that land parcel is leased. To no avail, by the way, but that might be because they’re a local developer whose biggest controversy so far has been Campus Pointe. Fair enough.

Then I found that Lance-Kashian & Company, a related firm, has a Web site. It was very helpful.

Maybe there are details of the plan somewhere, but I’m skeptical. If Campus Pointe were so great, you’d think the nuts and bolts would be easier to find.

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