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McKinley/120 Bypass epicenter for $2.5B in potential growth
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Drive down McKinley Avenue today from Yosemite Avenue to Woodward Avenue and you’ll be on a narrow country road with aging homes and vacant fields.
There are no clues that the land that borders McKinley Avenue could — in less than two years — spur the start of more than $2.5 billion in construction between 3,916 proposed homes; a massive 65-acre indoor waterpark resort and hotel; and 5 million square feet of business park buildings.
But the groundwork is already being laid to allow the building of enough homes to house fourth-fifths of the City of Ripon’s current 15,700 residents, the securing of a 750-room destination hotel that would be the largest hotel ever built in the Central Valley, and enough business park spec base to accommodate five Tracy-sized Amazon distribution centers.
Key to the effort is building the McKinley Avenue/120 Bypass interchange.
Manteca in the past few months has been buying up property needed to make the interchange happen. An agreement to purchase another parcel along McKinley is before the City Council during their 4 p.m. meeting Tuesday that is taking place three hours earlier due to national Night Out activities.
The meeting also includes spending another $7,500 on financial and legal experts for the negotiations involved with trying to finalize a deal for an indoor waterpark, hotel, conference center, outdoor waterpark, and other amusements on 65 city-owned acres west of Costco. The resort — along with the city’s envisioned family entertainment zone — borders Daniels Street that will be extended to connect with McKinley.
The city has invested $133,000 so far in negotiations and analyzing the potential resort deal. That is in addition to $8 million to put in place infrastructure needed to develop the family entertainment zone and resort.
The $8 million was spent from leftover redevelopment bond funds. Part of the $12 million already set aside for the McKinley interchange is also from the bond proceeds. The rest so far are from a San Joaquin County regional transportation fee and a federal grant. The city has yet to identify where exactly the remaining $18 million will be secured to build the city’s first partial cloverleaf interchange. One source, when it is adopted, is the updated Public Facilities Implementation Fee for major roads that will include funding for some of the work.

McKinley interchange has
2020 completion timetable
The council’s target is to break ground in 2018 and have the interchange completed by 2020.
The project will be built in phases. The initial construction would have all left turns from McKinley Avenue to 120 Bypass onramps go through signalized intersections just as they currently do at the Airport, Union, and Main interchanges. When the loops are completed northbound McKinley Avenue traffic will be able to get onto westbound 120 without going through a traffic signal as would southbound McKinley to eastbound 120.
A full cloverleaf interchange — which is not being proposed — eliminates the need for any traffic signals
McKinley Avenue would also be widened to four lanes.
The interchange has the potential to create development that is the closet to a housing-jobs balance yet in Manteca. That’s because abutting the west side of McKinley Avenue north of the 120 Bypass is the Lathrop city limits and the 384-acre Lathrop Gateway Business Park.
It includes over 5 million square feet of building space. The majority of the 165 acres of limited industrial uses and most of the 83 acres of service commercial space will depend on the creation of an interchange at McKinley Avenue. The project’s 57 acres of commercial office and accompanying freeway commercial is clustered around the Yosemite Avenue interchange north of the 120 Bypass.
The McKinley interchange is critical for the Lathrop Gateway Business Park.
It is bordered on the south by the Union Pacific tracks that carries Altamont Corridor Express trains and serves as the city limit line between Lathrop and Manteca. The northern border is Yosemite Avenue/Vierra Road with the Union Pacific tracks that swing by Simplot serving as the western boundary.

McKinley interchange is
also part of current south
Manteca traffic plan
The McKinley Avenue interchange is also part of the long-range circulation plan for Manteca south of the 120 Bypass where more than 60 percent of the city’s population is expected to be by 2040.
McKinley Avenue is envisioned to head further south and then swing to the west to connect with a proposed interchange on Highway 99 midway between Austin and Jack Tone roads as part of the Raymus Expressway corridor.
The economic impact is staggering. If the 3,908 homes are built and sold for at least $400,000 each it will represent $1.6 billion in new housing. The original resort the city was negotiating for with Great Wolf had only 500 hotel rooms on half the acreage and carried a construction price tag in excess of $200 million. Based on what developers are now spending to build spec buildings alone that have unfinished interiors, Lathrop Gateway Business Park has the potential to exceed $200 million in construction investment alone.
None of that includes general commercial zoning the city has put in place immediately south of the interchange that would accommodate 750,000 square feet of retail or roughly the same space as The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley anchored by Bass pro Shops at Union Road and the 120 Bypass will have at buildout.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email