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City Council approves new regional shopping center

Mike Conway

Post Date:08/08/2017

Merced Council approves new regional shopping center

Merced will soon have a new regional shopping center with retail stores, a hotel, theater, restaurants and fast food at Campus Parkway and Highway 99.

Also planned for the 601,127-square-foot center is a 177 unit multi-family housing project. The developer said the plans included a grocery store, sporting goods store and ag supply store.

'This retail center is a big win for our residents,' said Mayor Mike Murphy. 'It will provide new retail, entertainment, housing, employment, and dining options for Merced and the surrounding area.

'It is a well-designed project that we can all be proud of and represents years of work by everyone involved,' Murphy said.

The City Council unanimously approved the Environmental Impact Report and other land use documents at its Monday night meeting. The developers said they plan to break ground sometime next year.

"This is tremendous news for District 1 and the entire City of Merced,' said Council member Anthony Martinez, who represents District 1 where the shopping center is located. 'This project will inject a new buzz into a community that has been ready for something like this for years.'

The project is being developed on 77-acres of land that had been part of the Pluim family dairy from 1928 through 1986. The family joined with California Gold Development Corp., a Sonora-based firm to form the Merced Gateway Development.

'The development team estimates that the $150 million project will generate 800 construction jobs and 900 full-time jobs, and a $30-million payroll by full buildout,' said Economic Development Director Frank Quintero.

It's estimated the center will generate $30 million a year in sales tax, the developers said.

'We regularly hear developers say that Merced has great potential and you can see it with the construction taking place around the City. At City Hall, we believe it's Merced's time,' Quintero said.

The shopping center is intended to be a retail and entertainment hub, with 17 retail stores, 10 restaurants and a movie theater offering a mix of attractions for patrons.

'The timing is perfect for the Gateway Retail project,' Quintero said. 'The face of retail and entertainment is in transition.  Merced has an opportunity to develop a state of the art facility to serve our retail trade area.'

The shopping center is located at the Mission Avenue off-ramp of Highway 99. Campus Parkway runs through the middle of the project, which is bounded by Cofffee Avenue on the west and Gerard Avenue on the north and Mission Avenue on the south. 

The developers plan to built the center in eight phases over 5 years. Plans also include a fire station.

'As retail anchors commit to the project, other retailers, hospitality, entertainment, and service providers will follow,' Quintero said. 'An investment and project of this size will cause commercial users and developers to seek other investment opportunities in Merced such as the Downtown and Merced Mall.  Retail centers rely on a mix of businesses to generate foot traffic throughout the day.'

The owners said they plan to hire local workers to build the project and area subcontractors for work on the center.


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