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Manteca chasing 1,370 jobs in 2013
Big lure is 17 million consumers within 100 miles
The Union Pacific intermodal operation is the reason why Centerpoint Properties is bullish on Manteca. - photo by Photo Contributed

Manteca’s pitch for 1,370 jobs - enough to cut the city’s current 12.3 percent unemployment rate in half - could start turning into reality in 2013.

•Centerpoint Properties’ 3.1 million square-foot intermodal facility in northwest Manteca is expected to ultimately create 600 permanent full-time jobs. That is in addition to 800 temporary construction jobs.

•Great Wolf Resort’s proposal to build at least a 400-room hotel and indoor water park with conference center could employ 570 workers with 414 of those positions being full-time. The project could provide up to 1,000 temporary construction jobs.

The combined permanent job generation - if they were all filled by Manteca’s currently unemployed - would almost cut the number of jobless adults in Manteca that is currently at 3,400 in half.

Mayor Willie Weatherford noted municipal staff is working closely with Centerpoint Properties to clear the way for ground to break on infrastructure for the $175 million project on 168 acres directly east of the Union Pacific intermodal facility. The firm - which is owned by the California Public Employee Retirement System - has being generating strong interest in the site from potential tenants. It is feasible, if ground work starts in January, the first tenant could be in position to start hiring by the end of 2013.

What is making the Manteca project appealing to potential users is its location adjacent to the UP facility preparing to expand from 220,000 lifts to 700,000 lifts a year. A lift refers to the loading or unloading of a truck trailer for the rail-to-truck - and vice versa.

Users are expected to have large logistics and distributor needs that require tearing down products and either repackaging or reassembling and then preparing them for distribution. The project will have direct access to the UP yard to significantly reduce the potential impact for truck traffic.

Included in Centerpoint’s tenants nationwide are Wal-Mart Stores, DSC Logistics, Georgia Pacific, Potlatch, Sanyo Logistics, Partners Warehouse, and others.

Rail intermodal trailer and container moves have more than doubled since 1989 going from just under 6 million a year to 12 million.

Manteca is also at the heart of the third largest market — 17 million consumers — within a 100-mile radius behind New York-Long Island and Los Angeles. It is what attracted Bass Pro Shops to Manteca. That means trucks can travel to and from the distribution center to stores serving 17 million consumers easily within an eight-hour drive.

The site is virtually smack dab at the midway point Highway 99 and Interstate 5 accessed by Lathrop Road. It is also connected to the Highway 120 Bypass directly via Airport Way, which also provides access to Stockton Metro Airport.

Colorado-based McWhinney Real Estate Services - the firm that wants to build the $200 million resort - is now in exclusive negotiations with municipal leaders to develop a 30-acre city-owned site west of Costco for the hotel and water park. A decision on whether to proceed or walk away will be made by November.

Weatherford pointed out Manteca may tap into some of the remaining $40 million in redevelopment agency funds set aside for economic development to help cover the cost of some of the public infrastructure such as the extension of Daniels Street as well as sewer and water lines to open the site for development.

McWhinney is attracted to Manteca for the same reason as Centerpoint Properties - the 17 million consumers within a 100-mile radius. The firm is also bullish on Manteca’s proximity to the Bay Area market and how Big League Dreams has been luring teams from both the Bay Area and Sacramento. Being on the primary access route from the Bay Area to Yosemite National Park that has 4.1 million visitors a year is also a plus.

It is expected to take about 18 months from ground breaking to opening if a Great Wolf Resort is built in Manteca.