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Austin job center closer to Ripon’s downtown than to central Manteca

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POSTED December 12, 2013 1:22 a.m.

Austin Road Business Park could emerge as the top concentration of non-public sector employment for Ripon residents.

That’s because the industrial/business park portion of the 1,050-acre project is closer to downtown Ripon than it is to downtown Manteca.

The bulk of the 9,134 direct jobs the project is expected to generate between the business park and retail portions are also closer to Ripon’s downtown than to central Manteca.

It’s a misnomer that a job located in a community means it will be filled by a resident of that community.

A San Joaquin Business Partnership employment survey in 2002, as an example, showed that Manteca residents held almost 25 percent of all manufacturing and Sharpe Army Depot jobs at the time in Lathrop.  Manteca was followed by Stockton and then Lathrop.

The employment survey was conducted by the Partnership after several council members questioned the wisdom of the City of Manteca investing $30,000 a year to support Partnership job generation efforts for the county when no jobs as of then had been secured by the agency in Manteca. That has since changed.

At one point when the now-defunct Indy Electronics was the largest private sector employer in Manteca in the early 1990s more than 60 percent of the jobs were filled by Stockton residents. Five years after Yellow Freight opened in Tracy following its decision to drop its primary goal of building a terminal at Main Street and the 120 Bypass the largest segment of their drivers lived in Manteca. Yellow Freight was the focus of a rancorous municipal debate that latest nearly a year in the late 1980s over where growth should go in Manteca.

Bill Filios, one of the managing partners of Austin Road Business Park, notes any job creation is good for the region as a whole whether it occurs in Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, Tracy or Stockton.

Austin Road Business Park has 274.9 acres dedicated to heavy industry and 65.1 acres to business parks.

That is enough to generate more than 8 million square feet of industrial/business park use or space equal to 17 times the coverage area of the Ford Motor Parts distribution center on Spreckels Avenue.

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