Executives with Bitwise Industries — a valley tech hub based in Fresno — announced expansion plans for a technology campus in downtown Merced during a big reception at the Multicultural Arts Center on Tuesday night.
Construction will begin on a roughly 8,000-square-foot facility at 1635 M St. — at the corner of M and Main streets — before the end of the year. The location is right across from the historic El Capitan Hotel that’s being remodeled as a new hotel for the downtown area.
Expected to open by early 2021, the Bitwise building will support coding classes from Geekwise Academy, custom software provider Shift3 Technologies and collaborative workspaces in downtown Merced.
Channelle Charest, executive director of growth for Bitwise, said establishing a footprint in downtown communities in the midst of revitalization is part of their expansion model.
“Merced is at a unique moment with major investments in its downtown, a world-class university and a large population of first-generation college students living alongside immense human potential woven throughout the region,” Charest said in a statement. “Our goal is for Bitwise to join in that work by catalyzing a local technology industry, connecting untapped talent to opportunity in tech, and wrapping it all in an inclusive and inspiring community. We’re excited to be a part of what’s happening in Merced.”
Of the 8,000 feet, anywhere from 40-50 percent will be leasable office space geared toward tech startups and related businesses of all sizes. Lease terms are flexible — anywhere from 1-5 years or longer depending on the size of the space, Charest added.