Merced Gateway retail center moves closer to construction phase

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Merced city leaders plan to finalize a project that would create a retail-based shopping center, called Merced Gateway. (KFSN)

There are currently 70 acres of land that sit empty off Highway 99 in South Merced. But Merced city leaders plan to finalize a project that would create a retail-based shopping center, called Merced Gateway. Monday night, city council members voted 7-0 to approve an environmental review of the site.

The shopping center would be similar to others off Highway 99 and Interstate 5, according to Merced City Manager John Bramble. He says the idea is for it to be walkable, but also attractive to drivers passing by on 99 or exiting in that area for UC Merced. The city is pursuing separate plans to expand Campus Parkway toward the university.

Bramble calls Merced Gateway the most important community project the city has had in years, and will provide convenience to Merced residents.

"...so that they have some place to go that they don't have to travel to Fresno or Turlock or Modesto," he said. "And obviously for the city it's revenue that will be very important as we go down into the future for just providing general city services."

"You want a nice setting you know, and for that you have to go to at least Atwater," said Kristin McHaney. "It's not really here."

McHaney lives near the site of the project, and is all for it, considering it takes her 20 minutes to get to Target.

"I think it would be helpful because then I could do some shopping here while I'm waiting in between classes," said Breana Karbeling, a Merced Community College student who commutes from Modesto.

Bramble says to his knowledge, the developer hasn't signed any deals.

The project includes restaurants and could eventually include residential areas. Monday's city council meeting is expected to move the project one step closer to construction, which could start 18 to 24 months from now.

Related Topics:
financemallshoppingretailrestaurantsdevelopmenthighway 99environmentconstructionmerced countyMercedU.C. Merced
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