The Merced City Council asked city staff to begin looking into the building at 3033 G St., where the Merced Sun-Star is located, as the next headquarters for the Merced Police Department.
The city has land near Yosemite Avenue and G Street for a new station, but the council decided earlier this year that the location may be better for retail or commercial use. City staff recommended that the council pick a new site before selling that land.
City staff estimated the cost to buy the G Street building and land, as well as add a locker room, to more than $5 million, a significantly cheaper price than the other options on the table.
The council has not voted to purchase that or any other building, but asked city staff to look into the details. Councilman Kevin Blake expressed his support for the plan, noting the ticket price. “I think it’s a bargain,” he said.
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$5 millionWhat city staffers estimated they might spend on the purchase
Chief Norm Andrade told the council that the headquarters on 22nd Street is inadequate. “It’s a disgrace that a professional organization like this works in a place like that,” he said Monday.
Andrade said the Sun-Star building is a good compromise because it has room for growth, is still being used and is centrally located. He added that the headquarters should be away from the noise created by passing trains. He said the building has quick access to G Street and Olive Avenue, major thoroughfares that lead to highways.
The Sun-Star building has been on the market for some time as the company looks to relocate its office somewhere within the city of Merced.
Conversations are in the early stages, said Ken Riddick, publisher of the Merced Sun-Star. The news of the building being placed at the top of the city’s list came as a surprise, he said in a statement.
“As a business that is continually changing, we will discuss any opportunities that help us to be better positioned in the future,” he said. “After all, the Sun-Star has been part of the community for a long, long time.”
As a business that is continually changing, we will discuss any opportunities that help us to be better positioned in the future.
Ken Riddick, publisher of the Merced Sun-Star
John Sagin, the city’s senior architect, said the building constructed in the 1970s would likely need some work. But, he said, the costs would be low.
He pointed to the building’s warehouse, large vault and generally open office space as benefits. The city staff would need to do further research to understand all of the upgrades necessary, he said.
At 5.4 acres, the site is larger than the minimum recommendation of 3.5 acres. City staffers also said constructing a new building would cost more than $20 million.