Demetri Filios is working to step up Manteca’s retail game.
And he needs help in delivering the win sooner, than later.
Filios is working on a project for Bianchi Ranch Partners, a group of Manteca-based businessmen.
And — judging by social media chatter on what Manteca needs and doesn’t have — it’s something that more than a few people want.
The project is Union Crossings.
It consists of 94,500 square feet of envisioned retail and free-standing pad space.
That is smaller than the 125,900-square-foot Target store in Manteca’s Spreckels Park
And that is a significant point.
What Filios is pursuing is what he likes to call an “upper end” shopping experience.
By upper end, don’t confuse it with upper scale or even stabs that Stockton and Modesto have taken at the concept back in the last half of the 20th century with Lincoln Center and McHenry Village, respectively.
Those centers, especially Lincoln Center, do have the genre of shopping experiences Filios is convinced Manteca is ready for.
That’s based on south Manteca’s dynamic growth that is only exceeded by a rapidly increasing household wealth as reflected by 6-year-old tract homes just over a mile away from Union Crossing that sold for $450,000 new now closing escrow for $775,000.
Concerns such as a specialty grocery store like Trader Joe’s, restaurants a cut above such as Papapavlo’s Bistro & Bar, and specialty stores that can be found at Lincoln Center is what Filios has in mind.
The envisioned retail center on the southwest quadrant of Union Road and the 120 Bass across the street from Orchard Valley anchored by Bass Pro Shops in recent years has snagged the interest of chain stores as they weigh options for more focused expansion.
But with what is planned on Atherton Drive — a mile to the west at Airport Way and a mile to the east at Main Street — Filios believes the Union Crossing location is perfect for a specialty grocery store in the pedigree of Trader Joe’s, Nugget, Whole Foods, or Sprouts.
As such, the center has been redesigned.
The big box space suited for a WinCo has been jettisoned.
Instead, the main anchor space has been slimmed down to 33,000 square feet the with the secondary anchor coming in at 22,000 square feet.
Those two options are tailor-made for specialty or natural food grocery stores.
The rest of the center’s store space and free-standing pads have been reoriented to deep-six the mold of a big box surrounded by little guys to create a street view that is less parking lot and more inviting by showcasing retail and restaurant space along two major streets that are serve the growing south Manteca area.
“It’s right-sized,” Filios said of he new layout for the retail center.
As such, it dovetails into the national trend for smaller store footprints located in centers in communities where there isn’t just growth but upward movement in household income.
And Manteca — along with Tracy, Lathrop, and Mountain House — fits such a scenario thanks to positioning themselves to serve as the go-to place when people with Bay Area sized paychecks want to relocate to buy not just more home, but to do so in communities that are family-orientated.
The reasons why Filios — as well as commercial brokers that work with chains — are convinced the Union Crossing endeavor is the best location in the Northern San Joaquin Valley that the state Department of Finance projects to continue to be the second fastest growing region in California for decades to come — are reflected in hard numbers and identified demographic trends.
More about that in a bit.
What they believe will help Manteca get more attention with corporations that are deciding where to expand in a new retail environment that rolls out less brick and mortar locations than they have in previous decades, is customer interest.
That’s where Manteca residents who want places like a Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, or a restaurants that are a couple of cuts above the Golden Corral genre enter the picture.
All retailers of consequence that are on the “why-don’t-we-have-one-in-Manteca list” compiled from social media postings, have corporate websites.
They invite feedback via emails
And the feedback they are interested in is if there is significant interest from people in a community to see one of their stores or restaurants locate nearby.
Some stores — such as Trader Joe’s — actually have pages where you can recommend where they should consider expanding to next.
Clearly, significant email response alone won’t get stores and restaurants signing leases.
But given Manteca with its growth is already on most firms’ radars, it can carry significant weight.
“If does catch (a retailer’s) attention if they get a lot of emails in their in box from a community that wants to see them open a store,” noted Nicole Key, executive director for The Econic Company that handles commercial property throughout the Bay Area and Northern San Joaquín Valley.
Key, who has worked bringing commercial developments and leases together for 13 years, noted Manteca is at point where Tracy was a few years ago with rooftops — the number of households — at a critical tipping out where opening location pencils out well.
The Union Crossing site on the edge of California’s first converging diamond interchange designed to maximize traffic flow that was completed several years ago and is centrally located on the 120 Bypass.
But more importantly, it is centrally located in the developing commercial area south of the 120 Bypass where the population since 2021 has been growing at almost a 10 percent clip.
As a bonus, it is centrally located to Manteca as a whole based on approved development plans for the next 20 years.
But perhaps more enticing is the average household income south of the 120 Bypass — $122,750 a year.
That’s $40,00 more than the overall city’s average income It’s more than Tracy’s overall household income of $118,891.
And based on active subdivisions that are churning out homes in the $600,000 to $950,000 range that are still enjoying brisk sales, that figure will only keep climbing.
There are 7,178 lots approved for development among the 15 active subdivisions south of the 120 Bypass.
They will swell the population south of the 120 Bypass that was at 23,776 in 2021.
There is within a:
*mile radius 12,923 residents with a population that is growing at a rate of 7.6 percent with a median household income of $104,821.
*three mile radius 74,762 residents with a population growing at a rate of 5.55 percent with a median household income of $83,959.
*five mile radius 117,128 residents with a population growing at a rate oi 6.25 percent with a median income $87,759.
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