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Home  /  Why Merced /  Commercial Areas  / Downtown

  • Recent Investment: UC Merced Downtown Center and ongoing restoration of El Capitan and Tioga hotels and Mainzer Theater.

  • Good fits: Niche retail, professional services, entrepreneurial start-ups, restaurants.

Downtown Looks Ahead

Recent investment in Downtown Merced is putting a new shine on our historic buildings and creating proud new icons for this century. The building boom is drawing more customers downtown, from a growing daytime workforce to those seeking after-hours entertainment.


Downtown Merced is the center of:

  • Government (county and city)

  • Finance and banking

  • Arts and entertainment (galleries, live performance theaters)

  • Fine restaurants, cafes, and family restaurants 

  • Professional office space and UC Merced's Downtown Center

Phone us at 209-385-6827

Recent Downtown Investment

UC Merced Downtown Campus Center

UC Merced's Downtown Center opened in 2018 and will eventually house 370 employees. The center is designed to integrate teaching and research, as well as sparking partnerships with the local community. Approximately 30 nonacademic departments will locate here, including the Venture Lab, which promotes entrepreneurship and tech transfer. The ground floor includes classroom space and two large conference rooms.

Location: N & 18th streets


  • 67,400 sf

  • 3 stories

  • 2 classrooms

El Capitan Hotel

Once a 33-room hotel that catered to guests stopping over on their way to Yosemite, the El Capitan is being restored and repurposed as a 100-room boutique hotel. The original hotel building and an annex will be expanded and fully connected. Ground level will feature a courtyard with meeting rooms, a restaurant, and retail space. Construction began in February 2018.

Location: 1715 M Street


  • Boutique hotel

  • 74,000 SF

  • 100 rooms

Tioga Hotel

Built in 1928 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Tioga Hotel once catered to Presidents and movie stars. It fell into disrepair for many years, but is now being restored to provide downtown residential units ranging from studio to 2-bedroom apartments. Construction began in June 2018.

Location: 1715 N Street


  • 73,670 SF

  • Downtown residential

Mainzer Theatre

Originally a movie theater built in 1937, the Mainzer is undergoing renovations that will result in a theater, showroom, and bowling alley. With its location adjacent to the Merced Multicultural Arts Center and 3 blocks from the Tower Theater, this project will strengthen the downtown's position as a culture and entertainment center.

Location: 655 W Main Street


  • Live theater, bowling

  • 11,250 SF

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