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If not a Save Mart at Main & Atherton then what is it?
The rendering of the proposed 40,000 square foot supermarket

Almost a year ago when plans were submitted for the proposed Marketplace at Main Retail Center at Atherton Drive and Main Street, the renderings used Save Mart as the name of the anchor tenant.

Save Mart for years had talked about opening a Save Mart store in Manteca similar to locations now in Ripon, Lathrop, and Salida/Modesto.

The 18.4-acre project was scheduled to be reviewed by the Planning Commission 11 months ago. It was pulled from the agenda at the last minute

The project is back before the commission on Thursday at 6 p.m. with two significant changes.

The 50,071-square-foot structure originally planned for Save Mart has been slimmed down to 40,000 square feet. The renderings also have dropped Save Mart’s logo.

At the same time, the junior anchor building has ballooned up from the original 38,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet. That is more space than the primary tenant supermarket.

It doesn’t necessarily mean Save Mart is no longer the potential tenant.

However, new Save Mart stores are typically 45,000 square feet. Even so, that doesn’t preclude Save Mart from moving forward with a smaller foot print.

Other major chains have different sizes they are currently building.

*Whole Foods stores are 25,000 to 50,000 square feet.

*Sprouts Farmers Markets stores such as the one that has just opened in Lathrop average 28,969 square feet.

*Safeway stores are 46,000 square feet. It is highly unlikely they’d build  a second store that close to their existing South Main store — or even abandon the location for a new store given it is next to Walmart that is a major traffic magnet.

*WinCo stores such as the one in Tracy average 70,000 to 90,000 square feet.

Developers don’t break ground on shopping centers on speculation. They always have at least the anchor  tenant lined up plus other parties interested in leasing smaller store space, developing a fast food pad or locating a gas station or cash wash.

Given the size of the junior anchor, the developer (California Gold  Development Corp.) may also have a retailer lined up to fill that space.

The Atherton/Main property is not the only site south of the 120 Bypass in  the hunt for a supermarket.

Plans have been submitted to develop a commercial center on the northwest corner of Atherton Drive and Airport Way with a supermarket as an anchor.

There is also a project on the northwest corner of Union Road and Atherton Drive being shopped for a supermarket adjacent to Living Spaces.

Making Manteca attractive for another supermarket is its continuous sustained annual growth of between 2 and 3 percent that added more than 2,000 residents last year making it the fifth fastest  growing city in California in 2022.

The Marketplace at Main Street in its reconfiguration also has 25,000 square feet in additional retail and dining  space.

It includes three freestanding fast food-style restaurants with drive-thru lanes, a car wash, and two separate areas for small retail stores.

One of the two retail areas will be a freestanding building while the other will be between the supermarket and the junior tenant.

The original plans had only two fast food pads and indicated one could be a McDonald’s. While it is not clear that is still the case, it is plausible given the separation from the other three McDonald’s in Manteca and the close access to freeway traffic as well as the booming south Manteca neighbors.

If it opens a year from now when the city’s population is expected to reach 90,000, Manteca will have one McDonald’s for every 18,000 residents.

Based on current populations Tracy has four McDonald’s or one for every 22,800 residents and Stockton has 14 or one McDonald’s for every 23,000 residents.

It will also be the second McDonald’s in Manteca with quick access to the 120 Bypass. The other is two miles away off of the Airport Way exit at Daniels Street.

The plans also call for a car wash. It will be located along South Main Street.

There are 15 car washes now in Manteca with a 16th one under construction  as part of a Chevron station being built on the southwest corner of Union Road and Atherton Drive.

If the Marketplace at Main car wash is built as well as another car wash proposed as part of a complex on the northwest corner of Airport Way and Daniels Street, it will bring the city’s total for car washes to 18.

The city’s conditions of approval will allow Manteca officials to shut down the drive-thru lanes at any time  the queues of the fast food restaurant interferes with traffic on Main Street or Atherton Drive.

That will allow the city to avoid a repeat of the Chick-fil-A debacle at Yosemite Avenue and Northwoods.

The location for a retail is appealing not just because of existing development and close proximity to the 120 Bypass as well as being on the city’s main north-south arterial, but because the Griffin Park neighborhoods are now under construction on South Main that will add 1,301 households.


Improvements on

South Main Street

The traffic bottleneck on South Main Street from the 120 Bypass to Woodward Avenue will  partially be improved by the project.

The developer is being required to acquire the right-of-way and then build two southbound lanes from Quintal Road to Atherton Drive as a condition of approval.

That is in addition to full-width street improvements along South Main Street that borders their property.

The developer, under city codes, has the option only to construct half width improvements south of Atherton Drive. If they go for that option they will still need to acquire the right-of-way on the city’s behalf for eventual widening of South Main.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email