Back in the late 1980s, Velma Melmac and Manteca became the butt of jokes in the San Francisco Chronicle comic strip “Farley”.
Phil Frank created the pedal pusher wearing, chain smoking, sassy character named Velma Melmac with a tattoo on her forearm whose last name was inspired by indestructible dishware created in the 1950s.
In Farley’s world Melmac lived in Manteca — a place of mobile home parks, modular home sales, and trailer and RV dealers.
His conclusion about Manteca was reached by the only “exposure” those heading from San Francisco to the Sierra got back then when they turned off the Highway 99 freeway and headed east.
That has changed.
The mobile home parks and RV sales are still along East Highway 120 (East Yosemite Avenue) minus the modular homes sales that relocated to Atherton Drive along the 120 Bypass west of Airport Way.
Where that modular home sales lot once stood between Vasconcellos and Pestana avenues is the site of a proposed gas station, convenience store and fast food restaurant.
It will join a hotel, two fast food spots and the newer home of Manteca Trailer and RV built since the comic strip ended.
And the site where the modular home sales lot relocated along Atherton Drive is going to be joined with another parcel to accommodate the construction of four-story, 117-room Courtyard by Marriott.
A negative environmental declaration for the hotel is before the City Council when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001, W. Center St.
That means the first commercial endeavors San Francisco travelers will see when they pass through Manteca will be two hotels — the Courtyard by Marriott and the 500-room Great Wolf resort and indoor waterpark.
And in an irony Farley might have enjoyed, the indoor water park resort markets itself as the San Francisco-Manteca Great Wolf Lodge.
Courtyard by Marriott is owned by Marriott International. One of Marriott's mid-priced brands, the hotels are primarily targeted to business travelers as well as accommodating traveling families.
The proposed hotel adjoins an envisioned commercial complex that includes a potential anchor supermarket being proposed on the northwest corner of Airport Way and Atherton Drive.
The project dubbed Manteca Crossing will also include:
*A Maverik gas station with 14 fueling stations, 8 commercial fueling stations, and a 6,140-square-foot convenience store with 38 parking spaces.
*220 parking stalls situated around the 55,000-square-foot major tenant building developers indicated they are targeting a supermarket as the tenant.
*47,200 square feet of additional retail and restaurant space with 291 parking stalls. There will be eight buildings including one with a wraparound lane that can accommodate a coffee or fast food drive thru.
There are now 1,026 hotel rooms in Manteca with the biggest being the 500 rooms at the Great Wolf Resort.
Construction has started on a four-story, 101 room Staybridge Suites on the southeast corner of Daniels Street and Fishback Avenue near the 120 Bypass and Airport Way interchange.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com