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Manteca: Good & bad economic news all at once
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Manteca’s economy has taken on the characteristics of Sybil.

On one hand, unemployment is at 14.1 percent, a number of businesses are struggling, and foreclosures are picking up  steam.

But then there were 900 jobs created in August- the most in four years - while new businesses are opening, and new home building is surpassing 300 housing units for the fourth straight year.

The latest good economic news includes a building permit being issued for a $750,000 America’s Tire Store on Commerce Drive at Historical Plaza Way, McDonald’s preparing to build two new restaurants and remodel a third, an independent taqueria gearing up to open its third location at the former  Long John Silver’s at Louise Avenue and North Main Street that has been vacant for almost a decade, plus Chick-Fil-A’s also making plans to build in Manteca. That is on top of Oak Valley Community Bank opening a branch last month and F&M Bank preparing to build its first Manteca office at North Main and Alameda.

What gives?

Commercial real estate agents say well-positioned companies are taking advantage of low land prices and low construction costs to expand into markets that are weathering the Great Recession better or that are positioned to come out of the downturn stronger.

Manteca may fit that bill given its location, and the fact 1,200 new housing will have been built and sold in the four years of the Great Recession. That is almost double that for all of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties during the same time period.

And there are signs that an abundance of new business park and retail space is starting to be slowly filled.

A gold and jewelry store just opened in new retail space that has been vacant at Commerce and Yosemite. In addition existing businesses have moved to new locations.

“We have seen an increase in commercial activity,” noted Frederick Clark who serves as Manteca’s Community Development Director.

There are seven permits being issued or in review for new tenant modifications for existing commercial space that have been rented.

Some of the movement is for existing businesses switching to a better location with a better deal for rent. The rest are new ventures.