When the old McNamara Building on the corner of 18th and Canal was completely destroyed by fire in 1989, many doubted that a new building would be built to replace the old. For two years, the corner lot was occupied only by a fenced-off hole in the ground.
In 1990, the Redevelopment Agency and the McNamara family entered into a development agreement for the McNamaras to rebuild a new building on the site. The project had difficulty securing private financing, and the agreement had to be amended in 1991 to jump start the project.
The Agency loaned $250,000 at 6% interest, and about a million dollars came from other financing sources to complete the package. Construction resulted in a new one-story building, which now is occupied by some of downtown Merced’s finest stores.
The McNamara Building received the 1993 Award of Excellence from the California Association for Local Economic Development.