Irma Olguin Jr. speaks to the press in June, with co-founder Jake Soberal appearing via teleconference from Bakersfield, on the announcement of their Kern County expansion. Photo by Donald A. Promnitz
Written by Gabriel Dillard
Bitwise Industries announced expansion plans for another San Joaquin Valley community.
This time, it’s Merced, where construction will begin on a roughly 8,000-square-foot facility at 1635 M St. before the end of the year. Expected to open by early 2021, the 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. Construction is underway on a project in downtown Bakersfield that will have about 40,000 square feet, with hopes for a summer 2020 completion.
“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% 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.
Merced city leadership is excited about the tech hub’s move.
“Revitalizing Downtown, supporting education for all citizens and developing job opportunities in one of the most exciting industries in the world, are key initiatives where Bitwise and the City of Merced are deeply aligned,” stated Mike Murphy, mayor of Merced. “We can’t wait to see the new Bitwise Merced location and to welcome them into our community.”
The expansion south and now north of Fresno comes after Bitwise has bolstered its own footprint in the downtown area, with currently four facilities totaling 250,000 square feet.