Up-and-coming Meriam Park

Buildings are popping up like flowers in Chico’s fast-growing neighborhood

Driving down East 20th Street toward Bruce Road, one can’t help but feel like the area is on the cusp of awesomeness. The first building to go up was the courthouse, and it seemed like forever before ground was broken on the other pieces of the Meriam Park puzzle. But now things are going up fast, and I predict that six months from now the landscape on that edge of town will be very different indeed.

This past weekend, the Veteran’s Administration of Northern California’s new Outpatient Clinic held its ribbon-cutting ceremony. It’s super energy-efficient, having received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating. The best part: It will employ 50 additional staff (for a total of 150), so the agency will be able to provide more services to local vets.

There’s more going on in the vicinity, too. I got a tour of The Kitchen, the “makerspace” commissary kitchen. It’s impressive—so much stainless steel! Everything is brand-new and squeaky clean, as only a few tenants have claimed their corners. The first, naturally, was Pacific Culture, owned by Carlos Gonzales, son of Meriam Park developer Dan Gonzales. While I was there, with Director of Business and Development Nicole Carter, we ran into John Ralston and Ryan Poirier, owners of The Joker’s Bakery. They’re stoked on the space.

“The ovens have allowed us to improve our efficiency so that we can bake nearly twice as many cakes in about half the time,” Poirier told me. (More of their cheesecake is never a bad thing.) Plus, the plan is to create a sort of co-op among the Meriam Park businesses. So, when Daycamp Coffee Co. opens up around the corner, expect to see Pacific Culture kombucha and slices of cheesecake. (And maybe sushi and other deliciousness, too? Japanese Blossoms is also a Kitchen tenant.)

In the same building as Daycamp, which is owned by Dan Gonzales and slated to open soon, is Da Capo Style House (see “Evolving style,” this page). And next Friday (Aug. 30) there will be a ribbon-cutting at Xytogen BioTech Lab, which specializes in stem-cell-based skin care.

Also in what’s being called the Tank District—the “social center”—is the bones of a century-old barn, recently moved from a property off of Meridian Road. That, Carter explained, will be an event space. Think food truck rallies and weddings, she said. And in the Dwell District, across the street, apartments are already completed, with more on the way. Apply online for The Quads at MP—two bedrooms for $1,550-$1,600 (go to meriampark.com/quads for more info).

Get your learn on I’ve written in this space about Michael DaRe’s business classes through Oroville Adult Education, and they’re expanding. DaRe is now teaching single classes focused on management skills. They’re on Wednesdays through Sept. 4, and cost just $20. He’s still teaching four- and eight-week-long classes as well. Go to orovilleadulted.com or michaeldare.net for more info.