New residential construction - the barometer of Manteca’s economic health since the start of the first building boom in the 1970s - appears to be holding steady.
Manteca is on pace for its third straight year of the value of construction activity to hover between $75 million and $80 million. It is a far cry from the record year of $191.1 million in new construction in 2002. It also represents a $100 million drop off that started the year the housing bubble started to burst in 2006.
Still Manteca has fared better than virtually every other Northern San Joaquin Valley jurisdiction when it comes to new construction. For the past three years Manteca has still managed to average more than 300 new housing starts a year including apartment complex units. It is the highest number of any jurisdiction in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties.
In the first three months of 2012 - traditionally the slowest time for new housing starts - Manteca has issued 38 permits.
Housing starts traditionally pick up in spring as more people start looking. At the same time developers such as Pulte Homes at Del Webb at Woodbridge are moving ahead or preparing to move forward with plans to create new building lots.
Manteca has racked up $15.7 million worth of new construction in the first three months of 2012 with almost a third of that being the $4.5 million permit for the city’s new vehicle maintenance facility at South Main Street and Wetmore Street.
Sometime in the next three months a $6 million permit will be issued for the new transit station a block to the north at South Main Street and Moffat Boulevard.
About the vehicle maintenance building
The new vehicle maintenance building under construction will replace a wood and corrugated metal building that was erected when Model T Fords were in style. Due to inadequacies in the aging structure garbage trucks and fire engines that can cost $300,000 are worked on under a makeshift canopy that still exposes the vehicle to the elements as it is being serviced.
The new two-tone steel proletarian structure won’t win any architectural contests. Compared, however, to the existing vehicle maintenance building it’ll practically be a Taj Mahal.
The existing facility has two access doors for vehicles. The new building will have 10. That in itself will reduce costs by eliminating time consuming movements of vehicles. Currently vehicles have to be constantly moved due to limited access and “stacked” work areas.
The new building has a design emulating modern-day service centers where parts, equipment, and access are all coordinated. The converted former South San Joaquin Irrigation District building that was once reportedly used as a horse barn has been repeatedly modified inside in Winchester House fashion to accommodate basic work as well as more sophisticated diagnostic equipment.
The new building is part of an overall effort to streamline municipal operations to reduce annual operating costs and to situate the city for at least 20 years of growth.
The tab is being covered by growth fees or charges to enterprise accounts such as water and sewer that have operations making use of various facilities.