As part of UC Merced’s commitment to help revitalize downtown Merced, PHA was engaged to study and recommend solutions for locating administrative space in vacant, city-owned buildings downtown. The University occupied space in the Parcade Building—a parking structure located across from the new UC Merced Downtown Center—with the idea of creating an innovative business incubator that brings the capacity and infrastructure of the University of California to support graduates interested in launching a business. The existing 6,100-square-foot space was a dark, outdated maze of offices and low ceilings separating the street from the ground level of the parking structure.
PHA transformed the space into UC Merced’s Venture Lab, a place for people who want to explore entrepreneurship with resources to help them develop skills and create opportunities. Resources include free legal advice, co-working space, meeting spaces, workshop spaces, and coaching.
Key features include state-of-the-art technology, meeting spaces with video conference capabilities, open offices, private offices, and shared spaces to maximize efficiency. PHA has transformed the space into a light-filled, modern workspace that meets the UC’s high standards for sustainability, technology infrastructure, and community engagement.