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AKF plays key economic role
Firm involved in five major Manteca undertakings
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Spreckels Park, The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley, Del Webb at Woodbridge, and Big League Dreams are – without a doubt – the biggest economic game changers in Manteca in the past 10 years.

All except BLD have one thing in common - AKF Development.

And now for their second act of the 21st century, AKF Development is playing key roles in two projects that have the potential to step up Manteca’s economic game even further. They are the 1,037-acre Austin Road Business Park and the proposed $200 million Great Wolf Resort with 600 hotel rooms and a 70,000-square-foot indoor water park and accompanying 110-acre family entertainment zone.

“We have a big interest in seeing Manteca succeed,” said AKF partner Bill Filios who has worked here since 1998 when he joined Atherton-Kirk as a partner as they were ramping up to tackle turning the shuttered 362-acre Spreckels Sugar Park into the economic driving force of Manteca at the dawn of the century.

The latest role that is grabbing a lot of attention is the high profile Great Wolf Resort project. The firm was retained as a consultant for the city to develop 130 acres of surplus sewer land. The city staff was hopeful that they’d come up with a water park that could operate in tandem with Manteca’s investment in the BLD sports park.

AKF did that and more. They went searching for the best possible addition to Manteca and found it in Great Wolf Resort. Filios – who had an extensive career as a dealmaker for Spanos Development before joining AKF  – was able to get Great Wolf to look at Manteca. The end result is a proposed deal that could bring 500 permanent jobs to Manteca, 1,000 construction jobs, and make Manteca a vacation destination.

Confident access issue can be worked out
Filios is confident the city and Great Wolf can hammer out a deal that accommodates local access to the indoor water park.

“It is important to keep an eye on the ball,” Filios said.

That “ball” is not just 500 jobs but between $4 million and $6 million in room tax for the municipal general fund to pay for city services ranging from public safety to parks and streets that the Great Wolf Resort would generate on land that is now surplus sewer plant acreage.

The city is also working on a second 40,000-square-foot outdoor water park adjacent to BLD as part of the 100-acre family entertainment zone.

AKF is also one of the major players in the Austin Road Business Park. The acreage involved has been approved for annexation to the city.

The impact of the project generally south of Highway 99 saddling Austin Road is so big it will:

•Possibly require a re-alignment of Highway 99.

•Generate 10, 200 residents or about a seventh of the existing population of Manteca.

•Convert 1,037 acres from farming and rural residential use to urban development.

•Impact Ripon Unified schools even bigger than Manteca Unified schools as most of the residential would be within Manteca city limits but within the Ripon Unified district. The number of students going to Ripon could easily exceed the current enrollment of Ripon High.

•The potential to create up to 13,000 jobs - or close to 50 percent of the existing jobs in the city.

•The residential portion alone represents the potential of creating $1.02 billion in today’s dollars.

• 84 acres of commercial mixed use that will blend high density residential with commercial uses designed to encourage a valley version of the much acclaimed Santana Row development in San Jose that combines commercial and retail to create a neighborhood where people can live and walk to stores, entertainment, and other diversions.

Both projects could conceivably be under construction in some form by 2012.

AKF also helped put together the land deal between local property owners and Poag & McEwen for the Union Road and Highway 120 Bypass project that brought Bass Pro Shops, JC Penney, Best Buy and the lifestyle mall in its initial development phase to Manteca.

They also put together the Union Ranch project and lined up Del Webb at Woodbridge to develop 1,408 age-restricted homes for seniors.

AKF made it possible for Manteca to snag 2,000 more jobs
But the project that AKF is probably the most know for is the one that turned an economic lemon - the closes Spreckels Sugar plant - into lemonade.

No other developer would touch it and banks were hands off. AKF was able to team up with the Manteca Redevelopment Agency to make it happen. The $6 million plus loan that the RDA made to help put in critical infrastructure such as sewer lines and streets was paid back within two years with interest a number of years ahead of schedule.

The project turned the loss of 120 permanent jobs into more than 2,000. It also significantly expanded the city/s property tax and retail sales tax base. By doing so it generated the RDA funds needed to put $10 million of infrastructure improvements in to allow the development of the Stadium Retail Center by the private sector plus access BLD that also benefitted from a $28 million RDA investment.

“It (Spreckels Park) shows what you can do with the right private-public partnership,” Filios said.

Prior to Spreckels Park, AKF was known only as Atherton Homes. Their first Manteca project was Springtime Estates in the triangle formed by Louise Avenue, North Main Street and Highway 99.

They also were the firm that sold Manteca the 52 acres that now constitute Woodward Park for a dollar. Atherton Homes built several neighborhoods around the park and south of the 120 Bypass. They are now building Union Ranch East north of Lathrop Road.

AKF also built Paseo Apartments and is in the process of putting together a deal for 151 more apartments designed for workforce housing.