Businesses closing down due to Merced renovation projects

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Another restaurant is closing in Merced. However, city officials say more businesses could be on the way.

City officials say they have more than 40 business and housing projects in the works.

However, the city says with the growing university population, they're seeing a lot of interest from people wanting to do business in town but they do say it will take time.

Another business closing its doors.

Weeks after a downtown Merced restaurant announced its closure, The Bobcat diner announced it is also closing down.

"We learned about its closure by word of mouth and we checked their website, and other sites and learned it was closed. Unfortunately they didn't file any notice with the city of Merced.
We knocked on the door, and tried calling the one answered," said Merced City Economic Development Director Frank Quintero.

The business was open for a little less than two years.

Across town, Gerardo Olvera says he's closing the Cinema Café because he wasn't included in ongoing downtown renovation projects.

"It makes me sad. Ive been here for 19 years. I feel sorry for my employees too, said Cinema Cafe owner Gerardo Olver.

However, city officials say they've been trying to help the business owner stay open.

"We introduced him to our network of resources. We introduced him to our realtor listing properties in downtown Merced," said Quintero.

But while more businesses seem to be leaving, Quintero says more folks are actually wanting to open their doors in Merced.

That's mainly because of the ongoing downtown renovation, and the university expansion.

"We're a university community. With that is going to come a transition of businesses. Business type and business services. We're in that tranisiton right now," he said.

Quintero says along with plan for Campus Parkway, the building across from the El Capitan project was bought by the developer. However the city couldn't confirm what will open.

The Merced call expansion will also bring new options focusing more on entertainment, food, and specialty shopping, Quintero said.

The mall expansion plans will be dicussed during nect week's city council meeting.

Meanwhile, Olvera says he's looking at new possible locations to reopen his doors in the future.

City officials couldn't tell us names of interested businesses at this time.

They do say they're also getting interest from people wanting to fill up some empty store fronts here in Downtown, however, many of them are wanting to wait until the downtown renovation is finished.
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