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Project could create 2,400 Lathrop jobs
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Could 2,400 jobs be coming to Lathrop?

Last week the Lathrop City Council approved a plan that will move forward with annexation plans for 465 acres, 315 of which encompasses the South Lathrop Specific Plan – a segment that is zoned for industrial use and will help the community push forward with its stated goals of attracting more high-profile businesses like Fremont-based Tesla Motors that now operates a manufacturing facility in town.

“We want to give Bay Area companies a cheaper alternative if they’re looking to expand – we want them to be a part of our community,” Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal said. “We need to reverse that commute to the Bay Area and we need to create as many jobs as possible right here because our freeway systems cannot sustain the type of traffic that it is currently handling. We have some people who are spending seven hours in the car just to get to work and back some days.

“When Tesla came to us and said that they didn’t have enough space, we said ‘You have a problem and we have a solution.’ I believe that the South Lathrop project will help us attract more companies and that means more jobs for our residents.”

And the city is banking on a very unlikely partner in order make the project happen.

Heading the project is Richland Development Inc. – a subsidiary of the same company that sparked a fierce lawsuit after plans to build a 3,200-home mega community fell through as the Great Recession hit the area hard – that was settled back in April of 2011. The $500,000 that the City of Lathrop was ordered to pay as a result of the tangled web was picked up by a pair of New York City bond companies that had financed $50 million in order to make the project happen.

Dhaliwal said that the company, which uses a different moniker than Richland Planned Communities, is the same.

The parcel that will be annexed to Lathrop is the same that Richland had initially brought to the City of Lathrop as part of a joint-development with South Lathrop, LLC – extending south of the Highway 120 bypass near where it intersects with I-5, extending from the San Joaquin River east and bordered by the Union Pacific Railroad tracks to the south.

An environmental impact report was completed for the project, and an economic analysis of the project that was completed by the developer concluded that as many as 2,400 jobs could come to the area as a result.

It will now be up to the Local Agency Formation Commission to approve the annexation – which will include the 315 acres needed for the project as well as 99 acres of the nearby Lathrop Gateway Business Park as well as some other assorted property, making the total just of 465 acres.