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Manufacturers put Lathrop in prospect list for new location
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While Lathrop may be drawing a huge amount of interest from companies looking to use it as a distribution base for their customers, logistics isn’t the only industrial sector that may be on the horizon.

Could manufacturing be coming back to Lathrop?

While companies like In-N-Out, JCPenney, Home Depot, Food 4 Less, and others have relied on the city’s prime location with easy access to both of California’s main north-south freeways, approximately 67 percent of the active industrial businesses that have been in contact with the City of Lathrop through economic development outreach have been from the manufacturing sector – a major nod to a city that was long known for housing a float glass manufacturing facility and a major fertilizer plant.

That fact was one of several that was highlighted in the economic development update that was presented to the Lathrop City Council earlier this year – information that only begins to scratch the surface of the growth and expansion currently taking place.

In addition to adding a pair of national companies to the Phelan Gateway project – the Berkshire Hathaway-owned Johns Manville Company, which manufactures insulation, and supply-chain support company Hollingsworth – the city will also soon be home to a Jamba Juice, a Dutch Bros. drive-thru location, a Sonic Drive-In, a Blue Rain Car Wash, an additional Chevron Gas Station, and a Fairfield Inn and Suites Hotel.

But all that business is intended to serve the abundance of rooftops – in all configurations – that are coming to the community.

While the city is known as the home of River Islands – which will be home to 15,000 homes when fully completed – it also recently brought a 146-unit apartment complex, the Towne Centre Apartments, online to provide additional multi-family housing for the community. The 204-unit Mossdale Apartments is also currently under construction to provide even more options to people in the community looking for housing.

Last year, according to the report, River Islands sold 545 homes while Stanford Crossing – the development currently underway near Lathrop High School – added a total of 310 homes.

In total, Lathrop issued 1,122 residential housing permits in 2021 – a 186 percent increase from the 392 permits that the city issued in 2018. After only a slight increase to 408 permits in 2019, Lathrop more than doubled that amount with 826 in 2020 followed by the bump to more than 1,100 last year.

And while communities across San Joaquin County saw unemployment numbers rise during the outbreak of the community, Lathrop fared better than most during the early days of the pandemic – not exceeding the state’s unemployment average until July of last year when 7.7 percent of the community was looking for employment compared to an average of 7.6 percent of Californians. The average for San Joaquin County, at that time, was just under 9 percent, and at the end of 2021 Lathrop was a full percentage point below the rest of the county with only 5.6 percent unemployment.

At the beginning of this year nearly all employment sectors in the community were hiring, and with more companies coming online over the course of the next 12 months – and even more in the coming years as massive industrial projects inch towards completion – employment opportunities for the community are likely to be abundant.

According to the year-end treasurers report included in the council packet for the February meeting, Lathrop ended the 2021 year with just under $209 million in investments and cash being held by the city, and nearly $39 million in investments that are held by trustees tasked with stewarding the city’s money.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.