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City needs industrial, office space

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Work continues Friday on the new 404,657-square-foot distribution center being built for 5.11 Tactical in northwest Manteca at Airport Way and Roth Road.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED July 15, 2017 12:35 a.m.

Why are the likes of Amazon, United Parcel Service, and a multitude of other firms seeking to locate distribution centers and other business park style operations in San Joaquin County to serve the richest regional economy in the nation that surrounds the San Francisco Bay bypassing Manteca?
The San Joaquin Partnership has the brutally honest numbers.
uOf 11 million square feet of existing industrial space in the county, only 212,000 square feet or 1.8 percent of the overall total is in Manteca. Ready-to-convert building shells are critical for firms that need to move or expand within months and not years.
uOf the 16,176 acres countywide of vacant industrial land, only 844 acres — or 5.2 percent of that total is in Manteca. And more than half of that is part of the Austin Road Business Park that stalled, due in a large part, by the city’s inaction on a development agreement that caused the original partnership to disintegrate.
uNot only does Manteca have limited office space, but there is no “Class A” space critical to snag Bay Area concerns looking for high profile offices that could soon join the exodus of distribution to San Joaquin County.
The San Joaquin Partnership is making a presentation to the City Council Tuesday at 7 p.m. after Councilwoman Debby Moorhead during the council budget workshop balked at sending the non-profit $35,000 to help bring jobs to Manteca and nearby communities
“What have they done for Manteca?” Moorhead asked during the June 8 meeting.
No one could answer Moorhead’s question about specific jobs the Partnership helped bring to Manteca despite the city investing more than $600,000 in the organization since the early 1990s.
The dialogue concerning Moorhead’s objection to funding the Partnership again prompted Councilman Richard Silverman to point out Tracy and other cities such as Lathrop were cleaning Manteca’s clock when it came to landing jobs in the red-hot distribution center sector of the economy.
Cleaning Manteca’s clock might qualify as a major understatement.
Of the available space for business park type employers an inventory of existing space that is 5,000 square feet or larger shows Stockton has 52 percent of the overall total or 6.1 million square feet, Lathrop 18 percent or 2.1 million square feet, Tracy 12 percent or 1.4 million square feet, Lodi 10 percent, of 1.1 million square feet, unincorporated parts of the county 6 percent or 680,000 square feet, and Manteca 1.8 percent or 212,000 square feet.
As for existing, planned and future land set aside for industrial uses Manteca has one-seventh that of Stockton, just more than one-fifth of Tracy, under a half of Lathrop and even a third less than Ripon.
That said, a number of Manteca residents count on business park jobs that Stockton, Tracy and Lathrop land. Data provided by the Partnership shows that when NUMMI closed in 2010 — the joint General Motors/Toyota assembly plant in Fremont and has since been reopened by Tesla —  25 percent of those in San Joaquin County that relied on NUMMI paychecks or on one of their suppliers lived in Manteca. That’s 25 percent out of 1,144 supply employees that lived in the county and 808 of the actual plant workers that lived here.
The Partnership report notes Manteca is starting to see movement.
uThe 404,657-square-foot 5.11 Tactical distribution center is now under construction in North Manteca. The roots of 5.11 Tactical run deep in the 209. The firm traces its name and mission back to 1968 to an enterprise founded by mountain climber Royal Robbins of Modesto. During a climb in Yosemite National Park be realized the pants he was wearing were not suitable for climbing. So he decided to come up with is own pants that had better function and durability and added them to a company he owned that was producing booths and clothing.
The firm had just 5 employees 13 years ago. Today there are 551 employees worldwide. Their foray back into the company’s roots several years of supplying recreation enthusiasts is helping send their annual global sales past the $300 million mark. They have started expanding into retail locations with 13 stores so far with an aggressive game plan to open one to two stores a month over the next few years.
They offer more than 900 products with more than 13,000 distinct type of items for sale.  The firm’s products run the gamut from clothing, gloves, boots, holsters, knives, watches, and slings, to packs. Their products are used by law enforcement, private military contractors, the Armed Forces, and civilian customers ranging from shooters and hunters to hikers and backpackers.
uCenterPoint is moving forward with a 551,575 square foot spec building near 5.11 Tactical. It is the first phase of what ultimately is envisioned as a 1,199,997-square-foot building is being proposed in two phases on a 63.29-acre parcel.  The overall 191-acre Manteca CenterPoint property is approved for up to 3.1 million square feet of buildings. It offers direct access to the Union Pacific Railroad intermodal facility on its western flank and is within 10 minutes of Stockton Metro Airport, Interstate 5 and Highway 99.
uScannell in Spreckels Park is pursuing a new 285,000 square foot spec building.
uPacific Business Center next to the Manteca Unified office complex on Louise Avenue has just secured a 90,000 square foot logistic tenant and is pursuing a new 585,000 square foot spec building.
uBF Funsten is in the process of finishing a 68,000-square-foot addition to their flooring distribution center on South Main at Industrial Park Drive. They are a major Manteca sales tax generator and currently employ 198 fulltime workers.
uSunnyValley Meats is now expanding. They currently have 260 fulltime employees.
uCrothall Health Services (an industrial laundry) opened at CenterPoint in 2014 with 89 workers and one shift. They are now running seven days a week with two 10-hour shifts and 285 fulltime employees.
The council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m., at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email

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