By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Employment center closer to downtown Ripon
The 423 acres being converted into vested lots at Austin Road Business Park are on the bottom right hand corner of where Austin Road and the future east-west Antone Raymus Expressway would intersect. The blue represents employment centers, the dull orange general commercial, the pink commercial mixed use with residential, the yellow low-density residential and the dark orange high-density residential. - photo by Rendering contributed

The first lots have been approved to start luring what is expected to be between 3,000 and 6,000 employment center jobs as part of the massive Austin Road Business Park project.

The Manteca Planning Commission last week approved creating 32 lots ranging from 3.5 to 20 acres plus a remaining 138.8-acre parcel among 423 acres in the southeast portion of the 1,049-acre development.

Project partner Bill Filios noted “the size can accommodate just about any need from a 50,000-square-foot building up to 2 million square feet.”

The largest distribution center in Spreckels Park is the 560,000-square-foot Ford Motor Parts Distribution Center.

“This is a huge step for us,” Filios said. “It will allow us to market the project.”

Already there are three proposals that have been floated for the high-profile business park with quick access to the West Coast’s two major north-south commerce corridors — Interstate 5 and Highway 99 — while also having easy freeway access to the Bay Area.

City of Manteca Economic Specialist Don Smail noted having the lots with infrastructure makes the project “extremely marketable.”

“You can have all the lines on a map you want but what is really needed to attract employers are vested lots that are ready to build,” Smail noted.

The partnership already has about $5 million invested in the Austin Road Business Park.

Filios said the partnership is looking for the first tenant to be of a large enough size that it justifies the group investing $16 million to make the first parcel buildable.

That would include extending sewer and water lines, improvements to Austin Road, landscaping, and the first segment of the Antone Raymus Expressway that will ultimate connect with a new freeway interchange on Highway 99 between Manteca and Ripon.

The entire project has been annexed into the City of Manteca. The business park moving forward as the first phase would actually be closer to downtown Ripon than downtown Manteca. It also would be within the Ripon Unified School District. The Ripon schools would benefit from property taxes but would not have any students generated from the initial phase.

The housing aspect of the 1,049-0acre project is expected to generate 1,983 students with 58 percent of that number anticipated to live within the boundaries of the Ripon Unified School District.

It would take two kindergarten through eighth grade schools and 16 new high school classrooms to accommodate the students at full build-out of the project between the Manteca and Ripon unified school districts.

Developers have previously indicated the initial houses are at least 5 to 10 years away after the project break grounds.

The first phase will also include construction of the northern extension of the Olive Avenue Expressway, a major thoroughfare designed to move traffic as Ripon grows to the west. The Olive Avenue Expressway would T-intersect with Antone Raymus Expressway just west of the proposed interchange.

The project will straddle Austin Road as it runs south toward a point several miles north of West Ripon Road. It will require the extension of Atherton Drive south of where it now T-intersects with Woodward Avenue.

Austin Road Business Park is the biggest project ever undertaken in Manteca. Besides including 8 million square feet of business park use, it involves 5,026 housing units — enough to accommodate a seventh of Manteca’s existing population — and 3.5 million square feet of general commercial on about 26 times the square footage of the Manteca Costco store.