The 30,000-square-foot Hat Mansion has been offered as a possible site for a new Manteca Library branch by Richland Communities.
The home built by grape broker Michael Hat and the adjoining 184 acres of vineyards was bought by the development firm a number of years ago.
City of Manteca Manager Karen McLaughlin confirmed Richland representatives had floated the possibility of converting the mansion to a library/community center.
The development firm needs to secure a water source before the city can allow the property to be annexed and developed with homes.
Hat, a 1972 Ripon High graduate and successful grape broker, built the mansion that was completed in 1995. It stands south of Manteca in alignment with palm trees that run along Palm Avenue west from Highway 99 toward the Altamont Pass.
The three-story home has a wine cellar, elevator, a 25-seat theater, tennis court and 20- by-80 foot swimming pool. Material used in the interior design includes Brazilian cherry wood, Douglas fir, limestone, granite, marble and custom made stainless steel doors. It has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms.
By the time the mansion was completed in 1995 things started going south in the wine grape industry.
There never were grand parties at the Hat Mansion. The 36-car parking garage beneath the mansion was never filled with Mercedes, Corvettes, Lamborghinis, or Bentleys of party guests.
The mansion — that serves as a backdrop for McMansions being built to the southeast of Woodward Park — is vacant.
McLaughlin noted if a formal proposal is ever made to the city there would need to be an analysis made to determine of the bulking was practical for a library and other community uses plus determine if it would be a cost effective structure to operate for civic purposes on an ongoing basis.
An earlier plan by Richland had called for the mansion to possibly be renovated as a clubhouse for a proposed 800-home age restricted community that they had proposed at one point.
Before Richland bought the property, AKF Development considered acquiring it with the possibility of using the mansion as an events center and clubhouse for a future 18-hole golf course surrounded by single family homes.
The South San Joaquin Irrigation District board at one point pondered purchasing the property. They envisioned building a new corporation yard and possibly converting the mansion into headquarters as part of their plans to expand into retail power. They looked at the feasibility of building a water holding pond for the irrigation system and considered the financial dynamics of leasing or selling the balance to farmers.
But even if the price per acre was a steal and the numbers penciled out well in the long run, the SSJID board considered such a plan ill-conceived because of the wrong message converting the opulent mansion into district headquarters would send.
Hat filed for bankruptcy in 2001. The home was put up for sale and was listed for $12.2 million in 2003.
When the home didn’t sell, it went the way that of other foreclosures — an auction on the courthouse steps in Stockton.
There were two serious bidders —AKF Development and Richland Communities. A bidding war ensued with Richland prevailing at $8 million.
After discovering sewer allocations were years away and the housing market cooling, Richland tried to sell the home and 184 acres for $9.9 million in 2009.
Richland advanced the age-restricted community proposal in 2013.
restaurant in works
for Orchard Valley
The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley is getting another restaurant.
Tato’s Mexican Restaurant is planned for a vacant space next door to Pete’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and opposite of the Banana Republic and across from Guess
You’ve never heard of the name before but you may have enjoyed their food. Tato’s is the first sit-down restaurant of the owners of Taqueria La Costa on Moffat Boulevard across from the Manteca Transit Station that has a solid and loyal following.
Social media postings note the only drawback is that the current taqueria is cash only. Remarks, whoever, were overwhelmingly positive about the taste, freshness and portions.
for Marine & his
Chuck and Teri Palmer need your help.
Or more precisely a Marine whose wife is expecting needs your help.
They were contacted Tuesday by a first sergeant at the Marine Reserve Center located at Sharpe Depot in Lathrop. He informed the Palmers that he has a Marine whose wife is expecting a baby boy, due the end of this month. They are in need of everything from a crib to diapers. He asked if the Palmers knew of anyone that donated such items.
The Manteca couple has placed So we have put a donation barrel at Tammy’s Baby Shoppe in the 100 block of North Main Street in downtown Manteca. If you would like to help this couple, you can take your donations to Tammy’s Baby Shoppe or purchase something there for them today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Marine Reserve Unit will be having a surprise baby shower at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, so the barrel and collection of donations will only be going on until 6 o’clock tonight.
They are also accepting monetary donations, so they can do some shopping for the couple and to also give them a gift card so they can get anything else they may need.
Chuck and Teri Palmer can be reached by emailing email@example.com