Downtown Merced lumberyard makes way for stores

12/27/2013 9:18 PM

12/27/2013 11:03 PM

Crews have been taking it apart piece by piece since November, and pretty soon the decades-old lumberyard in Merced’s downtown will fade away in favor of stores, according to city staff.

The 398 W. 16th St. building, which was most recently BMC West Building Materials, sits on almost 3 acres between 16th Street and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. It’s also bracketed by Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Canal Street.

The lumber yard was a “mainstay for decades,” according to David Gonzalves, director of development services for the city, but “succumbed to the economy.” The building has been empty for more than five years.

Pasadena-based Halferty Development Co. purchased the property in early 2013, according to city records.

The company has plans to build a 9,180-square-foot Family Dollar store, a 3,000-square-foot minimart and gas station and a 9,000-square-foot third building for an as yet undetermined use. The developer will upgrade the adjacent intersections.

“It’s a very good sign that our economy is turning around if people are willing to invest dollars in new building,” Gonzalves said.

Residents will be able to see more commercial development in the new year, he said.

The former BMC building went through an asbestos abatement process, Gonzalves said, because the substance was found inside. Many of the other materials in the building are being recycled.

There has been a lumberyard on that plot of land since 1906, said Herb Wood, a registrar with the Merced County Courthouse Museum.

Cross Lumber, as it was first called, had a K Street address before the 16th Street one. That was back when K Street continued until it hit the railroad tracks, Wood said.

In 1951, a major fire burned much of the building and it was replaced. “I can’t tell you whether it burned all of it or not,” he said. “But I do think it burned that building.”

The lumberyard changed names a few more times before it BMC West took over.

Another Family Dollar, being built by Davis-based Boos Development, is planned for 21st Street and Yosemite Park Way.

Family Dollar is a general merchandise retailer, not a chain that sells all items for a dollar or less.

Family Dollar has more than 7,100 outlets across the country, according to its website.

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