Flood of building permits in Merced a sign of growth

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- City of Merced building officials are on their way to issuing 3,000 building permits, which is more than they've issued since the economy took a hit in 2008.

"At one point the city of Merced was seeing over 1,000 home permits pulled per year, then it fell off the cliff and went to 17 in one year," Director of Development Services Scott McBride said.

Since January of this year, the city has issued more than 800 permits.

"That's total permits including re-roofing, single-family homes, multi-family homes, tenant improvements," Building Chief officer Denise Frazier said.

City officials say the majority of the permits being pulled are for new single and multi-family homes, which they say will in turn help with the city's low vacancy rate.

"The vacancy is about 1 percent so that's really tight, and we do need to expand more, to give more opportunities and approve affordability," McBride said.

The growth stems from UC Merced's 2020 expansion project. Economic development officials said new downtown business is also a contributing factor.

Employees said with more people buying new homes comes more commercial growth.

"The new construction in Merced provides an opportunity for us to draw new retailers to the community. As the building construction industry expands, you are going to need more hospitality, which means more hotels and restaurants. It has a multiplier effect that we're starting to see in the community," Merced Economic Development Director Frank Quintero said.

Commercial growth is already underway with the remodel of the El Capitan hotel.

There are also plans for a new shopping center near the Campus Parkway exit.

The city is hosting a builders forum on Thursday, April 19, to invite builders to see the area, and hopefully bring more growth to Merced
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