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Council nixes sale of 13.7 acres believing once Great Wolf opens it will be worth even more
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The City of Manteca is sitting on 13.7 acres that based on current market values is worth an estimated $20 a square foot.

The land on the northeast corner of Daniels Street and Milo Candini Drive across from Big League Dreams is part of a larger 56-acre parcel purchased in 1966 for $39,000 to provide for future expansion of the municipal wastewater treatment plant.

That 13.7 acres purchased for 0.017 cents per square foot 53 years ago could be worth $20 per square foot or $11.9 million based on 3.1 acres immediately to the east that sits on the northwest corner of Daniels Street and Airport Way that has a broker value of $2.3 million.

The bottom line is the 13.7 acres that cost $9,541 per acre based on the overall price for the 56 acres Manteca bought in 1966 for $39,000 could be worth $11.9 million today. That reflects almost a 1,250 percent increase in value.

Staff suggested that the City Council might want to add the 13.7 acres to an upcoming auction of former redevelopment agency property to cash in on the elevated value that is the direct result of the city’s having built the Big League Dreams and made it possible for Costco and the Stadium Retail Center to locate in the immediate vicinity as well as landing the 500-room Great Wolf Resort indoor waterpark now under construction.

The City Council on Tuesday — led by Councilman Gary Singh — nixed the idea.

Instead they want to wait until after Great Wolf opens in mid-2020 in the firm belief that the land will fetch much more than $11.9 million after the indoor waterpark resort expected to draw 500,000 plus people a year is up and running.

Singh said even if the economy softens it is highly unlikely land prices on prime retail/commercial locations around the Airport Way/Daniels Street will backslide due to its regional position as a visitor and shopping draw.

Mayor Ben Cantu predicted once Great Wolf opens the area nearby will “bust loose.”

The city is currently obtaining updated appraisals for the smaller 2.3 acre parcel to the east that is part of the RDA property auction. If the appraisal matches the broker value the city would realize roughly 15 percent of $345,000 of the auction proceeds. That’s because state law that is forcing the sale of surplus RDA property requires sale proceed to be divided among 10 local taxing agencies in  proportion to what they get of every $1 of property tax that is collected.

The biggest benefactor if the 2.3 acres sells for $2.3 million would be the Manteca Unified School District. Given they receive just over 50 percent of every dollar in property tax collected locally, the MUSD cut would be $1.15 million.

All of the proceeds from the future sale of the 13.7 acres would belong to the city.

Staff is currently trying to get a legal opinion of what the money could be used for once the 13.7 acres is sold. It was purchased with the intent of using it for the wastewater treatment plant expansion. But since it predates state ballot initiatives that led to the establishment of enterprise funds that separated wastewater, water, and solid waste services from the general fund it might be able to be used for other purposes.

City Manager Tim Ogden noted depending upon the legal opinion it could be used to make a major dent at addressing the widening of Airport Way north from Wawona Street to Yosemite Avenue and beyond. If it has to be used for sewer-related it could help keep a lid in rates for a number of years or fund capital improvement projects connected to the wastewater treatment system.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email