The Merced City Council unanimously approved a General Plan amendment on Tuesday night to pave the way for a developer to create a small village of medical office buildings, retail shops, fast-food restaurants, a daycare facility, a gas station, a 3-story hotel and even some trendy, market-rate apartments on 21.5 acres on vacant land at Yosemite Avenue and G Street, across from the Raley’s Shopping Center and Merced College, in the ever-growing northern section of town.
“I’m really excited,” District 6 Councilman Delray Shelton told the developers who are based in Fresno and linked to the Waffen family that has created the overall subdivision in this particular part of Merced.
“Thank you for choosing Merced,” he added. “This fulfills the need for the people. It’s going to complement life for the people, and you are giving hope to the people that they have always wanted — and that’s obviously more living space and retail.”
A representative for the developers, Dirk Poeschel of Fresno, called it a progressive project that gives new life to land that has been vacant but surrounded by development for decades.
Once fully developed, the site known currently as “Yosemite Crossing” would include the extension of Sandpiper Drive from Yosemite Avenue to Mercy Avenue, and a stoplight on G Street near the northern limit of the project, closer to Mercy Medical Center.
The ambitious project still has to go through some more planning requirements and permitting, but Poeschel indicated that it was possible they could break ground on the project around this time in 2021.
The strategy is to build the site in three phases — first the retail shops, restaurants and gas station; then the hotel, day care facility and medical offices; and finally the apartments for people to rent and immediately enjoy the surrounding amenities.
To appease neighborhood concerns in the nearby residential housing area directly to the east of the site, the developer agreed to place restrictions on illuminated signs. They also removed the possibility of a car wash over noise issues.
The city’s Planning Commission already unanimously approved the project application during a meeting back in early December.
More on this and other City Council news in upcoming issues of the County Times!