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Mayor DeBrum: Manteca also lacks executive style housing

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POSTED March 28, 2017 12:45 a.m.

Affordable housing isn’t all that is lacking when it comes to new Manteca neighborhoods.
Executive-style housing — crucial to luring many sought after employers— is non-existent in Manteca.
Mayor Steve DeBrum pointed that out during Friday’s goals workshop the Manteca City Council conducted at the Manteca Transit Center.
“Right now people have to go to Modesto, Ripon or Tracy (Redbridge),” DeBrum noted.
The lack of executive-style housing has been viewed as a major hurdle for Manteca to cross since at least 1997 when longtime Manteca Realtor Tom Wilson brought it up during Vision 2020 Task Force workshops arguing it was needed as a city goal.
Firms that help companies expand or relocate place a premium on executive-style housing being available to help communities lure tech or many white collar employers.
While DeBrum offered no specific suggestions other than to note it needs to be a goal for the city to pursue, it may prove to be a tough challenge.
The 9,600 plus homes in various stages of the approval process in Manteca are designed as typical tract homes with most lots able to accommodate McMansions. Ripon, Tracy, and Modesto have neighborhoods with half acre lots and bigger that are designed specifically for executive housing.
It might be more effective for Manteca to rely on the 900-pound gorilla in the 209 housing market — River Islands at Lathrop.
The planned community of 11,000 homes that is well into having 600 plus homes built in just over two years is pursuing arguably what could end up being the most sought after executive-style housing sites in the 209.
River Islands will offer the 209 region’s largest concentration of executive-style home with 990 lots atop a 300-foot wide levee with access to a 17-mile continuous greenbelt park featuring commanding views of the San Joaquin River.
River Islands is using those homes as well as a $5,000 per home fee collected at the close of escrow to be used to pay down the cost of development to lure employers to the planned community’s envisioned 350-acre business park.
That fee — along with the housing mix and lifestyle Cambay Group is creating in the 4,800-acre project and efforts to secure an Altamont Corridor Express station adjacent to the business park — could be the key to help Lathrop do what no other Northern San Joaquin Valley city has done. And that is to create a large business park devoted exclusively to research and development, office headquarters and laboratory space.
Language approved by Lathrop voters expressly prohibits distribution centers at River Islands.
Breaking the mold of San Joaquin County being the domain of distribution centers either moving out of the Bay Area or opting to locate close to it and be able to serve the Sacramento market at the same time is being done by design.
The strategy of Cambay Group is to develop a desirable community with easy access by passenger rail to the Bay Area to serve as an enticement for firms that want to move out of the high cost Bay Area to take advantage of a pool of 80,000 workers — many of whom are in the tech fields — that commute each day from the Northern San Joaquin Valley to San Jose, the Silicon Valley, and San Francisco. The ability for a reverse commute with an ACE station at the business park’s edge is expected to add to the appeal.
Equally important to their strategy is providing executive housing options in a bid to sell employers on River Islands as a well-planned community to work, live, and play with easy access to the Bay Area.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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