Yes. The City encourages commercial development within its Redevelopment Areas, which cover much of central and south Merced. Individually-tailored financial agreements are available in these areas. Some other areas in Merced are also within the Merced Enterprise Zone, which offers certain state income tax benefits. The City also allows deferral of capital impact fees until time of occupancy, rather than upon issuance of building permit.
What are City fees like?
City building fees and local school fees are comparable to other California localities. Sewer and water fees are based on actual usage. In 1998, the City adopted impact fees for traffic, public safety and other capital needs. These fees are driven primarily by traffic generation characteristics of developments. Commercial development is not subject to park impact fees.
Upon request, City staff will provide you with a fee estimate for your specific project. This takes about three days.
What is the process for development of new commercial sites?
The City has areas designated for commercial development through its General Plan. In areas already "straight zoned" for industrial development, usually a Site Plan Review is required (staff process without a Planning Commission hearing). This will take from two to ten days, generally. In north Merced, most commercial sites are within Planned Development (PDs) and approvals require Conditional Use Permit (CUP) with public hearing before the Planning Commission. The typical CUP takes about five weeks.
The City encourages developers to contact us early to understand the process for any individual property.
Does the City encourage industrial development?
Yes. The City’s three industrial parks are well planned, with all the services required for numerous industries. The General plan supports their continued development.
Is there a point of contact for new business?
It's probably good to start with the City's Economic Development Office. Staff are knowledgeable in the area of industrial development. Economic Development staff can serve as liaison with other City resources for you. Call the Department at 800/723-4788 or 209/385-6827, fax us at 209/723-1780, or e-mail us.
What is projected for the next five to ten years for Merced?
Two major trends will affect Merced retail and office development very positively over the next five to ten years: the development of the University of California, Merced and the increasing integration of Merced with the Bay Area economy.
UC Merced is already underway, with a rapidly growing staff and an increasing number of majors and programs. The current student population exceeds 1,800 students and will be building gradually to over 25,000 in the coming decades. The University brings higher-paying jobs and the potential for different, more upscale retailing.
Not to be overlooked is the inevitable integration of Merced with other northern Valley communities into the greater Bay Area. Some already commute to jobs in the East Bay; this will increase as time goes on and commuter rails is extended into the Valley.
The combination of these trends has resulted in Merced being projected to have the fastest income growth in California over the next decade.