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SSJID ponders buying Sedan Estate

District is interested in 184 acres, not mansion

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SSJID ponders buying Sedan Estate

The SSJID may retain an appraiser to value the 184 acres – but not the 30,000-square-foot home shown above – that is part of the Sedan Estate.

Photo contributed/

POSTED July 26, 2009 2:58 a.m.
The imposing 184-acre Sedan Estate – complete with a 30,000-square-foot mansion visible for miles – is being pondered for possible purchase by the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.

The board meets Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the district office, 11011 East Highway 120, to possibly hire an appraiser for the Division 9 pressurized irrigation system southwest of Manteca as well as the Sedan Estate property.

The request for professional services indicated the appraisal would be of the land and vineyards only. Some 147 acres of the land are planted in producing Chardonnay grapes.

The property is currently listed for $9.9 million. It is considered prime by a number of developers for future Manteca residnetial development over the next 10 to 20 years as it is contiguous with the Manteca city limits.

In a previous story, the Bulletin was told by real estate experts that the land was the main attraction. Even the firm representing the property owner half joked that the purchaser would get the mansion free given the land’s value. There have been people interested in buying the residence as a home. The property over the years has attracted interest from developers including the original buyer of the property where Michael Hat built the house and planted grapes that wanted to build homes. Another developer wanted to build homes and break off the mansion for use as a clubhouse in the center of an envisioned 18-hole golf course.

Although SSJID officials did not elaborate in the agenda material for Tuesday’s meeting, they have been quietly looking for a new headquarters building for several years.

The current location is already being pushed to the max just for the water operations.

If the district succeeds in securing the right to provide retail power to Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon in a bid to lower utility rates by a minimum of 15 percent across the board, they would need more space.

Future road alignments have a four-lane road cutting close to the 30,000-square-foot house and tying into Manteca and Ripon streets. That would make it a central location for SSJID and the bulk of its future and current customers.

Before it could be used for a headquarters, the three-story building would need renovations. The district, though, may simply build its own structure and either sell or raze the home if the board ultimately decides to proceed with trying to acquire the property. Regardless, the district could easily carve out a 20-acre segment for its headquarters and water-power yards and then sell off the remaining land for farming or development to ultimately help pay for the acquisition and any construction.

Commercial brokers have indicated the 184 acres is a strong long term investment for either farming or development. That means whoever buys it and holds on to it is banking on a strong return in the future.

The house that is the highest profile mansion in the Northern San Joaquin Valley has always attracted attention

When all is said and done, though, the true lure of the property is the land that consists of three parcels – 104 acres, and a pair of 40-acre parcels. It is in a 40-acre minimum zoning for agriculture.

The buyer – if they ultimately just wanted the home – could easily hold onto the land taking advantage of the eight ton per acre Chardonnay grape production then sell off two of the parcels as development moves south toward the proposed 1,050-acre Austin Road Business Park in the next 5 to 25 years.

The parcels happen to border the proposed east-west extension of McKinley Avenue that will ultimately parallel Woodward Avenue about a mile to the south and connect with the proposed $120 million Austin Road interchange midway from the existing interchange and Olive Avenue in Ripon.

The district has ample reserves as it has been stockpiling its share of earnings after expenses of operating the Tri-Dam Project to gear up for purchasing and upgrading the PG&E system should they succeed with getting the green light to acquire that as well. In a typical year, SSJID nets over $10 million from selling wholesale power from the Tri-Dam system

Based on studies, the district essentially has the cash on hand to do all of that plus other projects including the Division 9 work.

However, the district has a track record of making sure they get the most out of the money which means instead of paying cash on some projects they have looked at various options such as at the solar power farm where at one time they considered a partnership with a private entity to take advantage of tax credits.
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