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Work may turn 2-story eyesore into downtown game changer
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The Sycamore Arms Apartments at 108 Sycamore Avenue at Yosemite Avenue has been the subject of restoration work during the last several weeks with a fresh coat of paint and insulation being removed from the building. - photo by GLEN KAHL /The Bulletin

It’s been 31 months since a fire caused by the homeless using the boarded up Sycamore Arms efficiency apartment complex extensively damaged the two-story structure downtown at Yosemite and Sycamore avenues.

And it’s been seven years since the Great Recession forced the closure of the Kelly Brothers Brewing Co. & Brickyard Oven Restaurant at Yosemite and Grant avenues.

Now work is starting on restoring economic life to both structures that Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum noted could be the start of a new era in downtown.

The current owner of the Sycamore Arms building — Nasir Shaghel — is planning on creating office space in the upstairs to replace what were once 14 efficiency apartments with two shared bathrooms and a common area with computer access.

As for the bottom floor, he is looking at bringing in retail and entertainment venues. Among the uses reportedly being looked at are maybe a wine bar and a bakery.

Meanwhile the building that served as the linchpin for downtown Manteca for decades — the former El Rey Theatre that was converted into the brewing company and restaurant in 1998 — could take on that role again.

Private investors are working on a plan to turn the former movie house in the 100 block of East Yosemite Avenue into an events center.

Plans call for a grand staircase and other touches to turn it into a regional center for special events.

 Crews have been working on the Sycamore Arms building removing debris and filling dumpsters

The popular Scoop News Stand and Ice Cream counter was located in the front of the building as late as the 1960s.