Realtors Association moving headquarters across town
The Merced County Board of Realtors will be moving into a larger, more modern Merced office location at 3190 M Street, a couple blocks north of Olive Avenue, sometime toward the end of the year.
Longtime residents might recognize the building on site as the old Citibank branch.
The board has been at its current location — 635 W. Main St. — for about a quarter of a century.
According to Board President Allen Sietsema, parking space was the major factor behind the move.
“We are super excited about the transformation that is happening downtown,” Sietsema told the Times, “but we knew when the El Capitan Hotel and the Tioga Hotel came into play, we were going to be squeezed out of parking.”
The two landmark hotels are undergoing extensive restoration and are expected to bring in a considerable number of clients and residents. The nearby Mainzer Theatre is also being remodeled for a new era of entertainment use. The Realtors offices are located next to the Arts Center, and the closest parking spaces are located along Main Street, or behind in the city’s Shannon Parcade structure. Civic Center employees use the top floor of the Parcade, and Times sources say the city might lease a section to the new El Capitan for valet parking. A three-level parking structure around the block on 18th Street is dedicated to West America Bank customers, and employees of the UC Merced Downtown Campus and the Merced College Workplace Learning Resource Center.
Sietsema said his association has a membership meeting only once a week — early Tuesday mornings. Though the meetings are well-attended in a large conference room, the association didn’t have much leverage to argue for more reserved parking in nearby city-operated locations.
He said the association had studied various parking alternatives over the past three years. They had looked into the idea of acquiring a vacant lot across Main Street; however, the property owner(s) did not express interest in selling for that purpose.
The Realtors Association does owns the Main Street building after acquiring it in the mid-1990s with the help of a city redevelopment loan. Plans to sell the building are already in place.
Meanwhile, escrow was closed in June on the M Street location to the north. Association members and clients will have some three dozen parking spaces to choose from on the lot, as well as space along nearby Collins Drive.
Sietsema said the association does plan to have its annual Affiliates Appreciation luncheon inside the new office building toward the bottom half of September. The location won’t be fully operational at that point, but they expect to showcase the new space for all to see.
The Realtors Association has three full-time employees on site, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is (209) 725-2165.