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New life for old business park?

Silverman sees job potential in Manteca Industrial Park

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New life for old business park?

BR Funsten has just added 68,000 square feet to its flooring distribution center in the Manteca Industrial Park that employs 119 fulltime workers.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/


POSTED July 23, 2017 11:12 p.m.

Be nimble, be quick.
Manteca City Councilman Richard Silverman believes that philosophy needs to replace the decades old mantra of “job, jobs’ jobs” that hasn’t gained all that much traction for employment center development in Manteca.
“We aren’t being nimble enough from what I understand when it comes to (landing jobs),” Silverman said of the city’s review process regarding approving projects especially compared to Tracy and Lathrop. “Business has to be nimble to succeed. The city needs the ability to be nimble too.”
And instead of just focusing on mega-distribution centers like Amazon, Home Depot, and such, Silverman says he wants it all — small, medium and big businesses.
“And it needs to be done right,” Silverman added.
Silverman during a council discussion last week  on why Manteca is bringing up the rear compared to Lathrop, Tracy, and Stockton when it comes to landing large distribution centers offered the suggestion that the city go back and rework the Manteca Industrial Park that has some vacant parcels and empty buildings.
“It’s got the plumbing (sewer and water) and streets already in,” Silverman said.
And while the Manteca Industrial Park can’t accommodate 400,000–square-foot plus distribution centers, it can handle medium and small operations.
Given the Manteca Industrial Park’s location near the high profile 120 Bypass and Highway 99 interchange, it is the ideal location for concerns that are looking to consolidate operations in Modesto, Stockton, and Tracy that serve the 1.3 million people in the San Joaquin County/Stanislaus County market. Manteca’s central location to those three cities is what brought Frito-Lay and JM Equipment here. Both closed down and consolidated locations in Modesto and Stockton. There are other consumer and retail orientated delivery firms in Manteca that handle everything from bottled water and dairy products to mass produced pastries that serve the two counties from Manteca.
While Silverman wants the city to look at all opportunities, making a concerted effort at strengthening the Manteca Industrial Park makes a lot of sense from the councilman’s perspective.
uThere is vacant land as well as several empty buildings.
uInfrastructure is in place.
uThere is room to grow where the orchard is now located on the south side of Industrial Park Drive along the 120 Bypass. It is already zoned for a business park.
uThe triangle bounded by Manteca Industrial Park, the railroad, and Industrial Park Drive is an “island” in the county. While the owner has made it clear for now he wants to continue farming, the city has pre-zoned it for business park uses in its general plan for the future.
uIt is on an existing STAA route for longer trucks that runs from the 120 Bypass and Main Street, down Industrial Park Drive and Spreckels Avenue, and then down East Yosemite to Highway 99.
uIt is contiguous with Spreckels Business Park.
Silverman said the city needs to think out of the box to be competitive.
“The Kmart store doesn’t have to stay retail,” Silverman said.
The 107,489-square-foot building on Northgate Drive that is off the beaten path for retail will be vacant when Kmart closes in the coming month or so. It is essentially a large shell building with minimum partitioning making it a possible location for non-retail ventures.
Manteca, unlike Tracy and Lathrop as well as Stockton, does not have a lot of vacant spec building space available to lure distribution firms and others that not only do not own their own buildings any longer — they lease — but they also want to move quick, often in six months or less.
Stockton has 5.5 million square feet of industrial space available, Lathrop 2.1 million square feet, Tracy 1.4 million square feet, Lodi 1.1 million square feet, the county 680,000 square feet and Manteca 212,000 square feet. The situation will improve somewhat as there are now plans moving through the approval process that would add three spec buildings in Manteca with a combined 1.3 million square feet. That said one developer is breaking ground on building 3.1 million square feet of spec buildings in Stockton.
In terms of available land zoned for business parks or job centers, Manteca trails everyone else including Ripon coming in at 5.2 percent pf the 16,716 acres countywide already set aside, planned or are current developed as a business parks.
Manteca’s portion comes to 844 acres of which 350 acres are in the proposed Austin Road Business Park. The other concentrations are along Airport Way from Lathrop Road to Roth Road, and between the proposed extension of Milo Candini Drive that ends at the northern end of the Big League Dreams sports complex to Yosemite Avenue and Airport Way.
 There are areas pre-zoned for business parks bounded by the railroad tracks that run on the north side of the Manteca United district complex on Louise Avenue, Airport Way and the Lathrop city limits up to Lathrop Road as well as a sliver that goes north to Roth Road.
Silverman said it would be problematic adding business park zoning south of the 120 Bypass, noting the city would want to keep heavy traffic movements along the freeway.
He said there may a possibility for industrial zoning along the Highway 99 corridor.
Manteca is in the process of updating the general plan that serves as the blueprint for growth.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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