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1,397 construction workers will earn $76.3M
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A rendering of the 500-room hotel and indoor water park.

Work on the $180 million Great Wolf Lodge seen as an economic game changer for Manteca is expected to start as early as Monday.

City staff issued the grading and staging site permit for the 500-room hotel and indoor water park resort minutes after the City Council Thursday approved a plan that would allow construction to proceed with temporary improvements to the French Camp outlet canal that drains a good portion of Manteca.

Escrow is set to close today on the sale of 29 acres of city property immediately west of Costco that fronts the 120 Bypass and borders the future extension of Daniels Street to McKinley Avenue.

The initial economic impact on Manteca will be 1,397 construction jobs needed over the next 18 months to build various phases of the destination resort. Labor costs are projected to be at least $76.3 million

Clearly most of the skilled jobs needed to build the resort won’t be Manteca residents although most will come from the greater region while those with needed specialty skills for unique aspects of the water park are likely to come from other parts of the country.

That will translate into long-term hotel room bookings and increased business activity as everyplace from restaurants to gas stations.

Once built, Great Wolf will create 350 fulltime equivalent jobs — 250 fulltime and 250 part-time positions. It will be the second largest private sector employer in Manteca behind Doctors Hospital of Manteca. Great Wolf has indicated they will conduct job fairs in Manteca a number of months ahead of the projected early 2020 opening.

At the same time the 500,000 annual visitors Great Wolf expects to draw to Manteca will provide synergy for the city to snare private sector investment in restaurants and other entertainment style concerns in the family entertainment zone that includes the Big League Dreams sports complex. Based on Great Wolf Lodges elsewhere, the resort will increase business at existing restaurants, other businesses, and especially entertainment orientated concerns ranging from Delicato Vineyards wine tasting room and Bass Pro Shops to AMC 16 Showplace Theatre at Orchard Valley.

 Between Great Wolf and Big League Dreams — the two family entertainment zone anchors — they will attract a combined 1 million annual visitors to Manteca.

What the council

did on Thursday

Thursday’s council action addressed potential flooding issues during construction.

The city is in the process of addressing an overall plan for the French Camp outlet canal that drains much of the existing city’s storm runoff by sending it to the San Joaquin River at an outlet point near Stockton’s Weston Ranch neighborhood.

The canal — from where the city’s storm drains release water into it at the western end of Daniels Street — is open except for where it passing in culverts under roads as well as the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

The Great Wolf site is somewhat lower than the outlet canal that currently cuts through the city owned property that’s connected with the wastewater treatment plant. The biggest “choke point” is under the railroad tracks before McKinley Avenue where water goes into two culvert pipes.

While there is no known history of the canal overflowing, the potential is still there until such time a master plan for the outlet canal is completed storm drains are put in place before Daniels Street is extended.

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District that has to sign off on an easement for the escrow to close, was worried about being exposed to potential liability should the Great Wolf construction site get flooded before the permanent French Camp outlet canal improvements are made.

The interim solution is for the city to build a 2-foot levee on the north side of the canal that can be seen from the end of Daniels Street for the 1,000 feet or so it runs across city property between Daniels Street and the railroad tracks. Should flooding occur it would only impact land that is used currently for corn raised by a farmer for silage using recycled wastewater. 

Community Development Director Greg Showerman noted in the event of a usually wet winter next year before work can be done on Daniels Street, the city could tightly manage releases from its numerous storm basin retention basins into the outlet canal.

All of the storm basins in Manteca are designed to handle the run off of a pair of back-top-back 10-year storms lasting 48 hours apiece.

The city also took steps to provide SSJID that Manteca will assume any potential liability in the interim.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email