City staffers are accepting comments on the nearly 80-acre retail and housing project called Merced Gateways, a planner said Monday.
The environmental impact report is available for viewing at City Hall or online, according to Bill King, the city’s principal planner. He said the city will take comments in writing on the 77-acre Merced Gateways, a project that includes more than 600,000 square feet of retail space toward the eastern edge of town.
“We’re in the process of having the (environmental impact report) out for its 45-day public review,” he said. The comment period will end Aug. 29.
Last year, the council approved two agreements with the developers of Merced Gateway and a consulting firm, which are steps in a long process before buildings start to go up at parcels at the northeast and northwest corners of Campus Parkway and Coffee Street.
Along with retail space, there will be room for about 180 apartments, according to plans.
We’re in the process of having the (environmental impact report) out for its 45-day public review.
Bill King, the city’s principal planner
The project has heard some naysayers, who argued it would lead to a sprawling city that would not benefit downtown businesses. But, city leaders have called it an opportunity to improve Merced’s economic outlook.
For a few years, the council has agreed to make the center its top priority, because Campus Parkway is expected to be an increasingly busy roadway as UC Merced continues to grow. That means the center also has the potential to bring hundreds of jobs to town if it is built out.
The plans show space for more than 20 retail stores, restaurants and fast-food eateries, as well as a fire station.
Area leaders intend for Campus Parkway to eventually connect UC Merced to Highway 99, as well as connect to the Atwater-Merced Expressway.
The plans could go before the Planning Commission as early as November, King said.
The report is available on CD in the Planning Department of City Hall. It’s also available for download from the city planning division’s website.
Thaddeus Miller: 209-385-2453,