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RFPs sought for Downtown housing/retail project

Mike Conway

Post Date:07/07/2016

City Seeks Proposals for Downtown Housing/Retail Project Contacts

Frank Quintero, 209 385-6827

David Gonzalves, 209 385-6858

Taking advantage of UC Merced's Downtown Center project and demand for apartments in Merced's Downtown, the City of Merced Office of Economic Development is issuing a Request For Proposal (RFP) for a housing/retail project near the Merced Civic Center.

The 1.4 acre project area consists of three City-owned parking lots, and the Fluetsch and Busby Building, along N Street between W. 18th and W. 19th Streets. The City's vision calls for construction of retail and office on the lower floor, and apartments on the remaining two stories.

'The City of Merced has not taken on a project like this since Redevelopment was dissolved in 2012,' said the City's Director of Economic Development Director Frank Quintero. Similar projects constructed in Downtown Merced include the Merced Lofts and Merced Theatre restoration, which were completed by the former Merced Redevelopment Agency.

'The Request For Proposal will be made available to experienced multi-family and mixed use developers,' said David Gonzalves, Director of Development Services. The RFP was issued on Wednesday, July 6, and is due back to the City by Friday, August 26.

According to City Manager Steve Carrigan, five experienced development companies have expressed interest in the project. 'The City is looking for ways to build momentum in Downtown Merced, and the Downtown Commons project is a ripe development opportunity,' said Carrigan.

Other projects taking place in Downtown Merced include UC Merced's 65,000 square-foot administration building as part of its 2020 Project, a new Starbuck's drive-thru at Martin Luther King Jr Way and W. 16th Street, and Les Schwab Tires is under construction near the Starbuck's site.

'If people live and work in the Downtown Merced, they will eat and shop in Downtown Merced,' said Carrigan. 'Once this project is completed, we will be looking for other development opportunities to enhance Downtown Merced.'

Once the proposals are submitted to the City, an internal team will evaluate the proposals for factors including completeness, experience, and design. Staff anticipates that the project will take approximately 18-months to complete. An official kick-off date has not been determined.

'As previously shared with the Council, the City desires to be its own economic engine, the Downtown Commons is the first step in the right direction,' said Quintero. Copies of the Request For Proposal are available by contacting:

Mark Hamilton at hamiltonm@cityofmerced.org, or,

City's website at https://www.cityofmerced.org/services/bids_n_rfps/default.asp


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