Memo to Manteca City Council: When it comes to job generation, the ball is in your court.
If past success stories are any indication, Manteca’s elected leaders are going to have to take a more aggressive role in giving direction and putting the tools in place to pick up the city’s game when it comes to creating jobs.
And there are two fairly short-range ways to do that: Go forward now with the Milo Candini Drive extension and work to pump new life into the Manteca Industrial Park.
The city has $1.2 million left in redevelopment agency bond proceeds earmarked to extend Milo Candini from where it ends at the northern edge of the Big League Dreams sports complex to West Yosemite Avenue. On the east side of the extension to Airport Way and all the way up to West Yosemite Avenue is land zoned for light industrial including one parcel that is about two thirds the size of the CenterPoint project where the 404,000-square-foot 5.11 Tactical distribution center is being built.
There are vacant parcels and several empty buildings in the Manteca Industrial Park — including the 55,000-square-foot former Qualex photo processing building — that the city must sell this year as part of the state breakup of redevelopment agencies.
The Manteca Industrial Park already has infrastructure in place. The extension of Milo Candini would open land east of the wastewater treatment plant for job creation.
Manteca — outside of the fledgling CenterPoint project and the Pacific Business Park that is half built on the site of the former magnesium plant just west of the Manteca Unified School District — has had only two significant success stories when it comes to business park development.
The first was in the late 1970s when the council joined forces with the private sector and created a taxing authority that paid for installation of infrastructure to get the Manteca Industrial Park at South Main Street and the 120 Bypass off the ground.
Once the infrastructure was in place, the city quickly snagged a number of firms including Dana Corp. (where BR Funsten is today), Indy Electronics, Uniphase (the early leader in retail scanning equipment), the Carl’s Jr. distribution center and Kodak’s Qualex division.
It underscores the point San Joaquin Partnership CEO Mike Ammann made during a presentation last week to the Manteca City Council. Cities need shovel ready sites to be in the running for the vast majority of business park style job providers.
The other successful effort was in the late 1990s when the city’s redevelopment agency worked with AKF Development to turn the shuttered Spreckels Sugar plan into a 362-acre multi-use project. Three of the larger business park tenants leasing buildings in excess of 450,000 square feet are Ford Motor Co., Delicato Winery, and Lineage Cold Storage.
The city was able to trade the loss of 125 sugar beet refinery jobs for more than 1,300 jobs between distribution centers, retail, smaller business park employers, food service and health care.
A partnership to develop and market the land along the Milo Candini extension and positioning the Manteca Industrial Park to take advantage of growth opportunities would seem to be the best bets for the quickest results.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org