New property aiming to provide better housing for UC Merced students

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- UC Merced is now bustling with more than 8,800 students. Most are required to live on campus for their first two academic years.

"I found it very convenient to get to class because I could wake up at almost any time and just walk to class, and the convenience is really nice," says student Kevin Wong.

But for those who later choose to move out into the community, the rental market can be challenging due to low vacancy rates.

That's why Shamrock Acquisitions is now developing a 17-acre property off Yosemite Avenue and Lake Road into the Merced Station, a housing facility geared toward students. It will feature 15 residential buildings with 270 units.

The two, three and four-bedroom floor plans will create a total of 885 beds. The land is located about two miles from the university, which will make it the closest off-campus option.

"It's going to not only provide additional housing for students who want to live near campus, but it's also going to ease some of the pressure that our residents feel near Bellevue Ranch because there aren't enough student housing units today," says Merced Mayor Mike Murphy. "So they're all living together in homes and neighborhoods that weren't really designed for that."

The Merced Station plans include a large clubhouse with study spaces, a fitness facility, and a pool. The property will also offer high speed internet, a market, a coffee shop with a drive through and a casual dining option. A dog park will also be included.

The developer says prices will be comparable to on-campus housing at UC Merced, which range from about $10,400 for a quad to more than $13,600 for a single per academic year.

"I think it's a good thing because I feel like this campus is growing and more people are going to be interested in coming here, and so they need to accommodate for all those people coming," says student Marcos Garcia.

The project is expected to create about 500 jobs, and the company says it just signed a $2 million contract with a Merced-based pipeline and utilities company this week. Construction is scheduled to be complete next summer.
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