Daniel Wald knows a solid opportunity when he sees it.
Wald is the San Francisco-based executive managing director of investments for Cushman & Wakefield that Poag & McEwen has secured to sell The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley.
Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum used Wednesday’s State of the City address to announce Poag & McEwen’s decision to sell the high-profile retail center along the 120 Bypass.
That may strike some as strange as major announcements go but Wald knows exactly what he has to market — an emerging sea of 9,700 more rooftops all within 3 miles of the Tato’s Mexican Grill that just opened in the heart of Orchard Valley in the building that is adorned with a pseudo tower in a nod the beloved iconic Manteca High tower torn down on Oct. 3, 1969.
Those aren’t simply future homes sketched out on paper. They are all at various stages of moving through the approval and development process with adequate water and sewer. Someone starting from scratch virtually anywhere else in the region will have to spend upwards of five years navigating the California Environmental Quality Act process and associated pre-development approval hoops. That has positioned home builders enabling to meet the growing demand caused in part by a saturated Bay Area housing market prompting a workforce with some of the biggest paychecks in the country to head east over the Altamont Pass to secure affordable housing to raise their families.
There is no other city that has positioned itself as well in the San Francisco-San Jose-Sacramento megaregion to provide housing needs of a booming Bay Area economy except for Lathrop next door that has 12,000 plus residential home approvals including 11,000 plus at River Islands at Lathrop. As it stands now River islands has levees in place as well as water and sewer to build 4,800 of those homes that will all be within six miles of Orchard Valley.
Going back to those 9,700 homes coming down the pike in Manteca and you are looking at nearly 30,000 more consumers that are all within 3 miles or Orchard Valley.
So why wasn’t Poag & McEwen able to fill the space? They got hit with a double whammy. First Orchard Valley opened just as the housing crisis imploded and the Great Recession started deepening. Despite that Orchard Valley pulled in consumers. Included were those from an average of 300 homes that were being built and sold annually during the four darkest years of the Great Recession. That was more than all of the home building in the rest of the Northern San Joaquin Valley — San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties — combined.
Poag & McEwen shifted from a lifestyle center strategy to trying to wed outlet stores with the regional drawing power of Bass Pro Shops. They managed to secure three outlets and had others lined up until the Premium Outlets of San Francisco — California’s largest outlet mall birth of Los Angeles — moved forward just 35 minutes away in Livermore.
Wald noted sometimes you just need an operator with a fresh perspective.
That said Orchard Valley isn’t one of those shopping centers referred to in the pages of the Wall Street Journal as floundering from the recession and growing strength of the click economy.
That is due in part to the region’s growth and the fact Manteca will benefit from an exodus of families from the Bay Area that are being squeezed out by $1 million plus tract home prices when virtually the same floorplan sells for $550,000 less in Manteca. major national buildings have read the hand writing on the wall and are snapping up approved subdivisions in Manteca to ride the wave.
What also makes Orchard Valley usual is its main anchor — Bass Pro — is situated perfectly for the emerging anti-Amazon.com trend among brick and mortar retailers who are turning shopping into an experience and are doing so with great success.
Bass Pro is way ahead of the curve. It draws shoppers for up to 100 miles who are indulging in their passion, who are seeking the expertise of the store’s staff and want to soak up the ambiance. Even today many shoppers passing through the giant sequoia at the entrance come armed with cameras or whip out smartphones to capture images of the store.
Ward also knows that the 50-mile draw of the Big League Dreams sports complex just down the road is helping fill the 16-screen AMC Showplace theater, the Hampton Inn Suites, and the handful of restaurants that have opened.
Fitness Evolution that is preparing to open in the former 30,000-square-foot Best Buy building this spring fits right in with the new wave of retail/entrainment centers that are holding their ground and then some against online shopping.
While rooftops are critical, Wald sees one other card that Manteca is playing as being “huge” for Orchard Valley’s future — the diverging diamond interchange serving the complex at Union Road and the 120 Bypass that is expected to break ground within the next 14 months.
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