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Up next: A new Manteca city hall
Council may opt to spend $100,000 assessing needs, devising game plan
manteca city hall

For the third time in 15 years, Manteca’s elected leaders may take a run at addressing city hall and police department needs.

The first two efforts — a masterplan commissioned in 2004 and the acquisition of a building to renovate as a new police department in 2006 — went nowhere. The city ended up spending nearly $7.6 million and had nothing to show for the money they spent.

And because the city didn’t commission a basic nexus using projected space needs to accommodate growth, the government facilities fees that would be tapped to help fund part of a new city hall were never increased. That means if an increase fee on growth of $300 per housing unit could have been justified and implemented in 2002, the city has failed to collect $3.3 million that could have gone to help pay for a new city hall and police department. The $3.3 million number is based on the fact almost 11,000 additional housing units have been built in Manteca since 2002.

This time around Acting City Manager Miranda Lutzow said all options will be examined including staying onsite, looking at four other sites, and — depending upon a final decision — to either repurpose or sell the existing Civic Center campus.


City will look at up

to five possible sites

Staff is bringing a proposal to hire LDA Partners for $100,000 to devise a new Manteca city hall master plan before the council when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.  It is a follow up direction the council gave to staff in September to assess existing and future space needs and devise a proposal to meet them.

LDA Partners has been involved in several city projects including the Manteca Transit Center, the public works vehicle maintenance building, the animal shelter, and the renovation of the HOPE Family Shelter.

Lutzow said the assessment will include both the police and city hall space needs.

The exact sites LDA Partners will assess include the existing municipal campus location and up to four other sites.

In September a staff report seeking authorization to seek proposals from firms to do the necessary assessment and initial planning identified three potential alternate sites.

They were:

*Placing it at Union Road Park next to the city corporation yard that is adjacent to the golf course and Morezone Baseball Field.

*Repurposing Library Park and Wilson Park.

*Using the city owned parking lot that is in the form of a triangle behind the south side of the 200 block of West Yosemite Avenue and west of South Maple Street that dead ends at the Tidewater Bikeway. The request for proposals notes that the parking lot location would require a parking structure.

Those sites may or may not be what the city provides LDA partners to evaluate.


The 2004 plan had

a $34M price tag

 The city spent more than $120,000 in 2004 on an assessment and preliminary schematics for expanding on the current campus by going up to four stories. At the same time they were also pursuing replacing the existing library with a 30,000-square-foot, two-story structure for $22 million.

The revamped city hall campus in 2004 had a price tag of $34 million and was designed to take care of the city’s needs through 2025.

The council at the time balked at the cost and opted not to pump up growth fees to pay for a new city hall. As for the library they decided to put all of their eggs in one basket and bank on securing a grant to build a replacement library from the proceeds of a statewide library bond. Manteca applied twice for library funding and failed to secure money each time. The city dropped pursuit of a new library at that point.

They did move forward on a possible new police headquarters. The city spent $2.6 million in RDA funds to buy 8.1 acres fronting South Main Street just north of where BR Funsten Flooring is today to build.

The idea was to spend $18 million to develop a criminal justice complex housing police, the Superior Court and district attorney’s offices. The balance of the $34 million — $16 million — was earmarked for the revamp of the Civic Center.

$2.6 million investment

on South Main falls through

The city had worked with the county to devise plans for a satellite Superior Court complex with as many as 25 courtrooms, district attorney and public defender offices as well as a future Manteca Police complex.

Several years later, judges in Stockton pushed hard for a new central court complex to be built first and Manteca thought they found a more cost effective alternative to expand the police operations into a former photo processing plant just around the corner from the South Main Street.

The had city started running out of space at the police station and general offices at the civic center in 2000. Part of the police operations — a large chunk of the detective division — was housed a mile away from the department in rented space secured from the county on Moffat Boulevard until portable buildings were added to the police station to provide office space.

The city in 2004 conducted preliminary negotiations with a property owner on Eucalyptus Avenue across from city hall to build an office suite to city specifications.

In 2006, after staff was instructed to address space needs in a more cost effective manner, the city used Manteca RDA funds to buy the Qualex building at 555 Industrial Park Drive to use as the new police station for $3.6 million. Qualex, with 57,000 square feet, is more than double the size of the current police station built in 1975.


The $4.6 million investment

on Qualex site goes nowhere

After spending almost $1 million on earthquake retrofitting and basic structural upgrades, the council dropped the Qualex project after a state mandate was passed require new police stations with holding cells to have 24/7 correctional officer staffing. That requirement 12 years ago penciled out as a $700,000 annual ongoing cost.

At the same time the Qualex proposal was being pursued, the council had staff explore other options for the city hall that they hoped would be less expensive than the $16 million estimate the consultant gave them.

One included having a developer build a four-story city hall at the envisioned Yosemite Square project proposed at the time on the northeast corner of the Highway 99 and 120 Bypass interchange. The concept was a lease-purchase approach such as was used to build the golf course clubhouse with additional space built that the city could lease and then eventually expand into as Manteca grew.

That approach also included possibly converting the existing Civic Center into a performing arts/recreation/community center complex since the Senior Center was already located there. The existing office space was envisioned for use for recreation programs and what space wasn’t needed was proposed to be leased as office space to provide a revenue stream.

The council at the time also toyed with opening a satellite city hall operation for services that have the highest general public contact — such as paying utility bills — somewhere in the Central District. That way would be more central to transit systems as well as other amenities such as the library. It was also seen as a way to create traffic for downtown businesses.

None of those proposals went anywhere as the housing crisis hit months later.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email