Grand Opening Celebration of The Lofts at Fort Visalia!

Grand Opening Celebration of The Lofts at Fort Visalia!

Posted on December 28, 2023

On December 7th, SHE hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for The Lofts at Fort Visalia, the nonprofit’s new 80-unit multifamily complex located at 340 E. Oak Ave. in downtown Visalia.  

“The grand opening of The Lofts, on such a historically significant site, is cause for celebration. It’s a new and exciting chapter for several community organizations, as well as our downtown quadrant,” shares City of Visalia Mayor Brian Poochigian. “Most importantly, it’s a celebration of growth and new beginnings for the community members who will call this space home.”   

The community offers affordable rents between approximately $300-$1,100/month for studio, 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom units. The Lofts reserves 40 units as Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units, supporting formerly unhoused residents or those at risk of homelessness. All incoming PSH residents will move into a fully furnished apartment and receive Welcome Home Kits. 

One of the new residents who recently moved into her new apartment, Yolanda Guerrero, shared her journey. After losing her husband of 32 years to a motorcycle accident, Yolanda moved in with her daughter. Her income prevented her from getting her own apartment or getting a loan for a house. “I tried reaching out to so many places, but it’s hard to get housing that is affordable,” said Yolanda.

Once she was able to move into her new home at The Lofts at Fort Visalia, she felt excited for a fresh start. “It has been life changing. I thank you all, and I am so happy to have a home.” 

The Lofts will be home to the Visalia Arts Consortium and My Voice Media Center, organizations that previously had an office on the “lumberyard” site.  The new shared space is approximately 2,500 square feet and includes offices, storage, an acoustic center for My Voice Media Center, and a large central gallery for Arts Consortium programs and community events.  

“I am very grateful to all of the partners who have come together in order to create The Lofts at Fort Visalia and especially the forward-thinking leader in this effort, Self-Help Enterprises,” said Ampelio Mejia Perez, Executive Director of The Arts Consortium. “Through this collaboration, our community will not only enjoy low-cost housing, but they will also have increased access to the arts and to mental health services.”  

The celebration included the dedication of the Peter N. Carey Gallery, who worked at Self-Help Enterprises for over 40 years, including serving as SHE’s third President/CEO for nearly 25 years. The Lofts celebrates the intersection of affordable housing, community partnerships, history, and art, all of which embody Peter’s life of service and impact in Visalia and the San Joaquin Valley region.  

“The Lofts is truly a community asset, linking to Visalia’s history while investing in our present and in the future,” said Peter Carey. “It represents the very best of community development, and I feel incredibly honored to be a small part of it.”  

The location of The Lofts is believed to be the original site of the fort that was constructed when settlers came to this region and established Visalia as a community. Visalia Heritage prepared special project elements celebrating the site’s history, including a diorama of the original Fort Visalia and historical information on display in the Fort Visalia Heritage Room in the leasing office and Fort Visalia plaza.  

“The Grand Opening of The Lofts at Fort Visalia represents a wonderful collaboration between Self-Help Enterprises (SHE) and Visalia Heritage – one that can serve as a model for future joint efforts,” expressed Visalia heritage member and local historian Terry Ommen. “Thanks to SHE, this very important Visalia site will be marked forever. This project reflects an appropriate and effective melding of Visalia Heritage’s respect for the past with SHE’s hope for the future. Visalia Heritage looks forward to other community opportunities to make the richness of Visalia’s past a part of the town’s future.”  

“The Lofts at Fort Visalia is the realization of a dream that SHE envisioned for this underutilized site for over a decade,” said Tom Collishaw, President and CEO of SHE. “It combines history, the arts, and desperately needed housing in a vital space that adds to the economic vitality and culture of downtown Visalia.”  

Learn more about The Lofts at Fort Visalia 


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