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428 apartments next to amenities
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Construction starts this month on arguably what will end up as Manteca’s most desirable apartment complex.

The 428-unit Valencia Place complex being built on 20 acres immediately east of Bass Shops between the 120 Bypass and Atherton Drive will be Manteca’s first major apartment complex within easy walking distance of four high profile categories of amenities — restaurants, a 16-screen cinema, a fitness center, and an elementary school.

And given how quickly the 151-unit Tesoro complex completed earlier this year filled up in just a few months, expectations are the same when the  first 236 apartments are expected to be ready for occupancy in late 2021.

The complex is being built by a group of local investors that involves Mike Atherton. They have already built two complexes with 451 units — Paseo Villas and Tesoro.

Unlike what happens with most typical larger apartment complexes, the group is retaining ownership of their complexes rather than selling them shortly after they are built. They are also managed by a local regional property management firm — Garibaldi based in Stockton.

That has several benefits. Not only are they attuned to what is really happening in the rental market and build accordingly but they also take huge pride in ownership given most of the investors will at least drive by the complexes once a week.

“It is why Paseo Villas (the 300-unit complex on the northwest corner of Atherton Drive and Van Ryn Avenue) looks as good as the day it opened,” noted Ron Cheek who is performing engineering work for the project that represents an investment in excess of $80 million.

Paseo Villas first started renting 13 years ago.

Cheek said because investors are local and have a stake in the community they approached the Manteca Unified School District for inclusion in a Mello-Roos district to help pay for school facilities as well as paying the school district growth fees. There is no requirement for builders to do so.

Out-of-area corporate builders routinely resist efforts to help finance schools by encumbering future homeowners to pay their fair share of the school housing impacts created by housing projects they profit from building. Many of the corporate builders have been allowed by the Manteca City Council to use the Statewide Community Infrastructure Program (SCIP) to pay for infrastructure such as sewer, water, and streets. In doing so bonds are sold and assessed against property just like a Mello-Roos district.

Atherton Homes, Raymus Homes, and several area firms that build homes in Manteca pay for such improvements upfront. As a result their homes tend to be a bit less expensive by bringing the per month cost of buying a home down as it doesn’t include a SCIP bond repayment.

SCIP financing has been cited by other communities as a hindrance when they try to pass bond issues for recreation improvements and such given homeowners see the SCIP payment on their tax bill and conclude they are already being heavily taxed.

Being built in

two phases

The complex is being developed in two phases with the first 236 units built on the southern edge of the 20 acres along Atherton Drive and the second phase of 192 units bordering the 120 Bypass. Each phase — while designed as one large complex — will have its own community center, swimming pool, tot lots, family areas and park/drainage basin with fenced-in dog parks.

Cheek noted that two phases make the project more manageable given the specialty subcontractors needed to build apartment complexes are significantly fewer in number than for tract homes.

He praised the city for working with developers on Tesoro to allow units to be rented as buildings were completed and the area safely secured for occupancy while work was completed on the rest of the site. That helps ease issues that may arise during the construction process that impacts the feasibility of building apartment complexes.

The gestation period of an apartment complex such as Valencia Place is lengthy. The entitlement process with the city typically takes a year if the land is property zoned and there are no issues with developing the site as is the case with Valencia Place. It takes another six months, if things go smooth, to get building plans in place. After that it is a two year period to build the complex.

From the time developers decide to proceed to the first tenant moving in it is nearly a 4 year process.

Cheek noted the partnership is already working toward building more apartments at other locations in Manteca.

“They are in it for the long haul,” Cheek noted.

Complex will look

similar to Tesoro

The architectural nuances of Valencia Place will borrow heavily from the Tesoro design pedigree — the complex on the northeast corner of Van Ryn Avenue and Atherton Drive.

It will also have the same amenities.

The gated Valencia complex will include the largest concentration of studio apartments ever built in Manteca. The 42 studio apartments would account for a 10th of the overall unit total and would consist of 515 square feet apiece.

Valencia Place will also include 140 one bedroom and one bathroom units with 727 square feet, 222 two bedroom and two bathroom units with 1,040 to 1,105 square feet, and 24 three bedroom and two bathroom units with 1,279 square feet.

There will be two main entrances. One would be from Atherton Drive directly across from Tinnin Road. The other would be from Lakeside Drive— to the east of Bass Pro Shops — roughly midway between the fence bordering the 120 Bypass and Atherton Drive. There will be two gated exits for residence only along Lakeside.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email