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BLD set in motion Airport/120 retail
Shoppers at the Stadium Retail Center. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Manteca’s hottest spot for shopping and recreation — the Stadium Retail Center and Big League Dreams — was anything but 12 years ago.
The land that fronts the 120 Bypass was part of Manteca’s waste water treatment plant and was used to grow corn for silage to feed dairy cattle. There were a handful of small parcels — some with homes — that bordered Airport Way. The area was so far off the beaten track that Manteca Police used part of it for a shooting range.
That started changing in 2005 when ground broke for the Big League Dreams sports complex.
Today Airport Way and Daniels Street is at the epicenter of retail and restaurant growth. The original Stadium Retail Center was built in 2007 and Costco a year later. In the past 18 months all of Manteca’s new retail construction has taken place in the area. That encompasses three new dining spots — including a Sizzler’s Restaurant — a car wash, and additional space at Stadium Retail that allowed an Ultra Beauty to open. Now a 12,400-square-foot Petco will break ground in the coming months at the Stadium Retail complex as well as a gas station/car wash/convenience store across Airport Way in the Stadium Retail Square.
And if Manteca secures a destination indoor waterpark resort for 60 acres of city-owned land west of Costco that could boost between 500 and 750 hotel rooms depending upon the operator, commercial real estate brokers believe retail interest in the area will accelerate.
That’s due to five things:
uThe drawing power of a destination resort.
uThe high traffic count on the 120 Bypass
uBig League Dreams’ track record of attracting almost 500,000 spectators annually in addition to team players.
uThe high volume of Costco.
uManteca’s growth rate that is consistently adding 1,000 to 1,200 new consumers annually.
The development to date — as well as the potential of a destination resort waterpark and the envisioned family entertainment zone it would anchor — was made possible by redevelopment agency bond proceeds.
It included $29 million to build the city-owned BLD sports complex; $10 million to acquire right-of-way, install infrastructure and extend Daniels Street west of Airport Way; $2.3 million for primary work for the proposed McKinley Avenue and 120 Bypass interchange; and $8 million for an infrastructure project now being wrapped up that is key for development of a waterpark as well as the rest of the family entertainment zone.
The area may also see another $3.2 million plus in RDA money invested in improvements including $1.2 million to extend Milo Candini Drive to West Yosemite Avenue and $2 million for a community park component of the family entertainment zone.
When the dust settles, some $53 million in RDA funds may end up being spent in the area making it the biggest overall transformation of an area using development bond proceeds.  It will essentially convert a wastewater treatment plant site into a thriving retail and recreation center.
And it is all next door to a wastewater treatment plant that in the coming years will be doubled in size to serve additional growth.
New treatment technology and the city’s decision to buy land south of Manteca along Hays Road for possible surface disposal of treated wastewater made it possible to convert the city owned land into retail uses.
In 2014, a real estate broker estimated that the city had increased the value of each acre of wastewater treatment plant land being converted to other uses by at least 10-fold.
There is also a deal in place for San Joaquin County to build a 150,000 square foot South County satellite center on land secured by the city. The plan calls for locating satellite offices for human services, health service including a clinic, child support payments, agricultural commissioner, assessor, and tax collector to serve residents in the fast growing South County. It could create as many as 400 jobs.
It is questionable whether courtrooms will be built there but if they are offices for the public defender, district attorney, sheriff’s department, and probation department will also be included in the complex.
The extension of Milo Candini Drive is designed to improve traffic circulation as well as open up an area for business park development.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail