Moffat Boulevard for years was the proverbial back door to Manteca.
After its glory days of being the southern Highway 99 entrance into Manteca that sent Highway 99 to Main Street where it jogged north ended with the opening of the current freeway alignment in 1955, the corridor started a 50-year downhill slide.
The third oldest part of Central Manteca southwest of the heart of downtown at Yosemite Avenue and Main Street, however, has been going through a slow but sure urban renewal for the past 16 years.
The latest involves the Manteca Unified School District buying a home that has come up for sale in the 500 block of Mikesell Street for $475,000.
The school board will be asked to finalize the purchase when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they meet via Zoom due to COVID-19.
Acquiring the 8,276-square-foot lot that includes a house and a shed is part of a long-range plan to further secure the Manteca High campus and acquire additional space.
Altogether there are six parcels with seven homes along the south side of the block that back up to and even side with the Manteca High campus.
The plan is when opportunities arise to buy the remaining homes the district will pursue possible purchases. The district will use its share of redevelopment agency pass through money to complete the purchase at 534 Mikesell Avenue.
MUSD Community Outreach Director Victoria Brunn indicated the district will weigh either renting the home out until other nearby homes are acquired if it can legally do so under state law or tearing it down after buying it. Brunn said that decision has yet to be made.
The district more than a decade ago used RDA money to buy a small motel on the southeast corner of Sherman Avenue and Moffat. Shortly after acquiring it they tore the motel down.
The land will now be incorporated into the new student parking lot with a 10-foot high masonry fence blocking it off from the adjoining Pacific Mote.
The district has indicated when opportunities arise to purchase other property fronting Moffat that backs up to the campus they will consider doing so.
Transformation of the
area started 20 years ago
Urban renewal in the southeast portion of the central district started almost two decades ago when the City of Manteca used redevelopment agency funds to buy the old Union Ice Company, an upholstery shop, the former San Joaquin Farm Advisor’s South County office, and several vacant parcels between Moffat Boulevard and the old Tidewater Southern Railroad right-of-way.
In their place are now the Manteca Transit Center, the Manteca Veterans of Foreign Wars hall, a city water treatment facility, the Tidewater Bikeway and a mini-park like storm retention basin.
This past week the City Council used $350,000 in federal transit funds to buy the former Manteca Recycling Center for expansion of the transit center parking lot when Altamont Corridor Service starts stopping in downtown in 2023 as part of the extension of commuter service to Ceres.
The city is also in the process of working with the owners of the two-story home at 336 Moffat Boulevard to purchase the property as part of the transit center parking expansion endeavor. The owners bought it in 2019 for $256,500. Zillow indicated it may be worth $303,000 today.
It is clear that they cannot buy a comparable four bedroom, two bathroom home in Manteca with 1,384 square feet for the market price of their home. It is why the city is using the California Relocation Assistance Law. It will allow the city to buy the land at the at-market appraised price and keep the property owners whole.
That means when they find a comparable home to buy in Manteca the program will allow the city to pay the owners anywhere between $80,000 to $210,000 on top of the market price for their home to allow them to get into a comparable home elsewhere in the city. The city would also cover relocation costs such as moving expenses.
The purchase price, making the owners whole financially when buying comparable property elsewhere in Manteca, and the relocation costs will come out of a $2.8 million federal transit grant the city received.
When the transit center parking lot expansion is complete the south side of Moffat at a point across the street from Eckert’s will have been transformed from an area that just other two decades ago was home to a number of dilapidated buildings where the homeless hunkered down and often started warming fires that got out of control and a magnet for illegal dumping and trucks parking illegally on city owned property.
Twenty-one years ago Moffat Boulevard was one of the last few left exits for northbound traffic traveling Highway 99 through the Central Valley.
Once motorists crossed over southbound traffic on an arching bridge they were dumped onto Moffat. They then traveled toward downtown pass the smelly Moffat Feed Lot where cows were fed sugar pulp, the back side of the sugar beet refinery, an aging railroad crossing at Spreckels Road, a nightclub, and aging commercial ventures.
They were all along a corridor where the asphalt that had been laid directly over the concrete for Highway 99 poured in the 1920s was buckling, sidewalks non-existent and curbs and gutters were rare.
There are now modern business parks, a modern church with a sweeping architectural canopy, more than 300 trees, crisp pavement anchored by curbs, gutter, and sidewalks, a separated bike path, a recreation park with a state-of-the-art BMX track and the $6.9 million transit station.
The “missing link” between Spreckels Avenue and what had been the dead-end of Industrial Park Drive has been put in place to help take traffic pressure off downtown arterials.
The private sector has made either upgrades in recent years including new buildings for California Welding Supply as well as the Manteca Veterinary Clinic.
And on Sherman Avenue two new homes are going up to replace older homes that had been torn down.
The $42 million project now underway that re-orientates the front of Manteca High toward Moffat complete with a new 2,250-seat gym and a new swimming pool will further transform the Moffat Boulevard corridor.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com