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FEZ site work in 2016
Water, sewer, drains being put in place
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Work will start in early 2016 extending water, sewer and storm drain lines to serve the City of Manteca’s envisioned 218-acre family entertainment zone (FEZ) regardless whether a deal has been inked for a 500-room hotel with accompanying indoor waterpark and conference center.

The improvements — being funded with part of the remaining redevelopment agency money earmarked for that specific purpose — are needed to make the overall project “shovel ready.” The goal has been to convert the city-owned wastewater treatment plant land into uses that generate money for municipal coffers as well as provide more jobs.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin said Monday that McWhinney Development — the Colorado-based firm that Manteca has an exclusive negotiating agreement with for the 30-acre water park resort portion of the project through June 30, 2016 is still proceeding.

McLaughlin said McWhinney has been contacted by several other resort operators about stepping in and running a waterpark and hotel if Great Wolf ultimately opts not to do so.

Great Wolf last month indicated their new CEO wanted to do his “due diligence” and examine other options before making a final commitment. They are actively exploring options in the Bay Area. McWhinney has always been the developer of the proposed Manteca water park while Great Wolf would be the operator after it was built. Great Wolf representatives have made it clear Manteca is still in consideration.

Given that the certified environmental impact report specifically addressed a 500-room hotel, a 75,000-square-foot indoor water park, a 15,000-square-foot outdoor waterpark and a 30,000-square-foot conference center for a resort, McLaughlin said it could take just six months after McWhinney inks a deal with a water park resort operator to start construction. All that is left to do is the specific building plans and the development agreement.

Someone starting from scratch in the Bay Area would need to take two years to go through the EIR process Manteca already has and that’s assuming there is land already zoned specifically for a 500-room hotel with resort -style features

Meanwhile the city will put in the infrastructure. Staff is now working on finalizing plans for the work with an expectation for it to go to bid in January.

McLaughlin noted the main sewer, water, and storm lines can be put in place even without the exact alignment of the Daniels Street extension to McKinley Avenue being adopted.

The city manager said another water park operator may want a different hotel configuration built or require more than 30 acres that the city has currently approved for such a purpose.

“We do want the resort to stay on one side of (Daniels Street),” McLaughlin said.

The lines will be placed in such a manner that they will be either under a future roadway or parking lot.