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Union at 120: Retail central
Emerging as Mantecas prime shopping area
An architect’s rendering of part of the Union Crossing shopping center. - photo by Image Contributed
There was a time in the late 1980s that planners scoffed at the idea of houses let along retail south of the Highway 120 Bypass.

The tunnel vision for Manteca’s future was based on the premise that the freeway was an uncrossable barrier when it came to development due to the private sector being reluctant to extend water and sewer lines.

It was against that backdrop that the proposal was advanced that the land was only suitable for industrial uses and trucking firms much like that lines Interstate 5 in the northeast part of Lathrop.

That all changed when Atherton Homes – along with other developers who saw the long-term potential for developing south of the 120 Bypass – invested money upfront to extend critical trunk lines. That led to a rethinking of the area south of the Highway 120 Bypass. Today, it is what developer Mike Atherton likes to call “The Book End Design” referencing two major business parks – Austin Road on the east and Tara on the west – with housing in between. And at the heart of it all is what is emerging as ground zero for South County retail – the Highway 120 Bypass and Union Road interchange.

On Tuesday night, the City Council gave final approval for 450,000 square feet of retail known as Union Crossing. The 48.5 acres of retail and restaurants is being pursued by developer Bill Filios on the southwest corner of the Highway 120 Bypass and Union Road interchange. He has indicated site work could start on the first phase as early as the winter of 2010 with the third phase targeted for completion by 2014.

Of course, it all depends upon the market.

Across the street is the 787,000-square-foot Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley anchored by Bass pro Shops and JC Penney. The Hampton Inn Suites is expected to be completed early next year along with the Red Robin restaurant that just got underway last week.

Ground is also breaking on three more buildings of 250,000. When combined with already built but empty in-line store space it will represent the Lifestyle Outlets at Manteca. Craig Realty has already lined up a number of tenants with announcements expected as the year winds down. The first stores are due to open in February or March.

By converting the bulk of Orchard Valley to an outlet mall, it opens opportunities for Union Crossing to snare other retail that wants to be located near a large draw such as Bass Pro Shops and JC Penney.

Craig Realty’s Steve Craig, who also had a hand in the designing and marketing of the outlet malls in Napa and St. Helena, has noted the drawing power of Bass Pro Shops with customers traveling from a 100-mile radius, a perfect fit to upscale malls that have the same drawing range. Making Manteca even more appealing for Craig is the fact it is the center of the third largest 100-mile radius market in the country. Manteca has 17 million consumers within 100 miles topped only by New York and Los Angeles.

Craig, though, said the growing economic muscle and demographics of the Northern San Joaquin Valley with its 1.2 million consumers was reason enough to partner with Poag & McEwen on the Manteca retail project. And right at the center of it all is Manteca.

Union Crossing is in three phases
Union Crossing consists of three phases with 399,700 square feet of retail and 55,300 square feet of restaurant space. Altogether, the 450,000 square feet is the equivalent of almost four Manteca Target stores in terms of retail space.

The first phase will be on the north side of the extension of Atherton Drive and will consist of 225,800 square feet of retail broken into spaces ranging from 3,500 to 31,400 square feet. There will be 987 parking stalls.

The second phase will be immediately south of the Atherton Drive extension. It will consist of178, 000 square feet with lease space from 5,000 up to 65,000 square feet to accommodate a supermarket. There are 777 parking spaces in the second phase.

The final phase has 46,200 square feet of retail with space between 5,000 and 19,700 square feet. There are 312 parking spaces.

Before a building permit is issued, Union Crossing would have to pay its fair share of widening Airport Way from two lanes to six lanes from Yosemite Avenue to Woodward Avenue. They would also pay for part of the widening of Union Road from Daniels to the Highway 120 Bypass as well as Union Road from the freeway to Woodward Avenue to four lanes. The developer would also be required to pay toward the widening of Union Road from Woodward Avenue to Peach Avenue.

The developer also will eventually have to pay for traffic signals at Daniels Drive and Union Road after the Union Road interchange is widened.

The land has to be annexed to Manteca. It is within the sphere of influence which means it has already been identified as a logical annexation to the city.