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BLD epicenter of 2016 growth
$250M in private, public projects on the table
TACO BELL NEW1 12-31-15
Mantecas third Taco Bell has opened on Daniels Street east of Airport Way. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin

Where will ground zero for non-residential growth be in Manteca during 2016? 

Try the Big League Dreams sports complex. It sits smack dab in the middle of a half radius of development that could end up being in excess of $250 million in private and public investment in southwest Manteca.

It got a start last month as Ulta Beauty opened in a new add-on building at Stadium Retail Center and Manteca’s third Taco Bell started filling orders next to the nearby McDonald’s. Work also started in December on Manteca’s 11th car wash — and second Prime Shine location — on Airport Way between Daniels and Wawona. Plans for a Sizzler Restaurant to be built behind Taco Bell and McDonald’s were approved last month as well with construction expected to start soon.

 But the real big work will start in the coming months.

A chunk of Manteca’s remaining $50 million in redevelopment funds is financing the extension of Daniels Street to McKinley Avenue as well as paying for sewer, water and storm system extensions. It is all designed to jump start development of the 210.7 acres of city owned land west of Costco and BLD as a family entertainment zone.

And the crown jewel is a 30-acre site that has environmental clearance for a 500-room resort hotel with a 75,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, a 15,000-square-foot outdoor waterpark, 37,500 square feet of restaurant space, and a 30,000-square-foot conference center.

Whether it will be Great Wolf seizing the opportunity is debatable. Back in October after a new CEO took over the firm, he wanted a review of all pending investments including the Manteca location.

That didn’t faze the development firm of McWhinney that promptly started entertaining possible partnerships with Great Wolf’s competitors eager to jump on the extensive market research that had been done and the fact three to four years of tedious environmental work has been completed. Add to the fact the city’s infrastructure work that will start in the next few months and the 30-acre site is essentially shovel ready.

All that is left is a final site plan that would just require Planning Commission and City Council approval as well as a final development agreement.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin confirmed Wednesday that McWhinney is actively in contact will all potential users of the 30-acre resort hotel site including Great Wolf. She expects to see some movement in the coming two months on the site.

Also moving forward is the $1.2 million extension of Milo Candini Drive from where it ends at the northern edge of the city-owned BLD sports complex to Yosemite Avenue. That is expected not only to provide traffic circulation for the FEZ project but also open up city-owned land on both sides of the extension for business park development.

 Work is also underway to convert McKinley Avenue at the 120 Bypass into an interchange. The city is now working on right-of-way acquisition and design using $7.5 million in RDA funds, federal transit money, and regional transit fees to do the current work.

The city also has funds budgeted this year for adding a left turn lane all the way down Airport Way between Daniels and Yosemite as the first phase of work to widen the corridor to eight lanes.


FEZ designed for

recreation, dining

 The FEZ concept is designed to build on the success of Big League Dreams, Bass Pro Shops and Woodward Park (in the form of soccer tournaments) in attracting regional visitors’ dollars to Manteca. 

There would be 62 acres set aside for indoor and outdoor amateur sports activities. That’s in addition to 28.5 acres for the expansion of the BLD complex and the creation of multiple use fields with the primary emphasis on soccer. The fields, just like BLD, would be operated and games booked by a private sector partner. And just like the BLD fields, the multi-use fields would be available for free use by the public weekdays before 4:30 p.m.

The project also envisions a stadium built around an internationally sized field.

It also is aiming to tap into a younger market that is developing in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and the growing trend of families to take vacations built around their children’s sport activities.

The heart of the FEZ would be a manmade lake. The EIR notes that is the preferred option for an area that would otherwise end up being used as a storm retention basin.

Some 33 acres could accommodate up to 337,000 square feet of restaurants and retail.

The sports portion is proposed to include an indoor arena designed for basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and cheerleading competition. 

Other sports envisioned include a BMX track, a race course for mini-electric race cars, and a hard surface skate park.

The city is hoping to encourage private sector partners to offer activities such as miniature golf, family arcade games, laser tag, and ball crawl. Significant facilities could include a rock climbing wall, ropes course, zip line, and a flow-ride facility that creates waves for surfing and similar uses employing boards.

Microtel has processed plans through the City of Manteca building department for a $4 million budget hotel with 57 rooms. The site is at 1083 S. Airport Way is immediately north of a city owned parcel bordering Daniels Street, Milo Candini Drive and Airport Way.  Developers are reportedly waiting for movement on other projects in the area before moving forward.


County center

still on radar

San Joaquin County agreed several years ago to locate a satellite county center in Manteca to serve Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, and Escalon. The city spent $3.8 million for 10 acres on Daniels Street where it intersects with Fishback Road. The land, which backs up to the 120 Bypass and is near the Airport Way interchange is being sold to the county for a dollar in exchange for building a satellite center.

County officials have $660,000 set aide to do preliminary work for development plans they hope to tackle in the next several years. The preliminary vision calls for two buildings covering 150,000 square feet or roughly the same size of the 145,000-square-foot Lowe’s that had been proposed for the site.

Money flowing in from county facilities fees collected on new growth is critical to fund the actual construction. For the past seven years, the only measureable growth has been in Manteca where 300 to 400 homes have been built annually. Construction is now picking up in Lathrop and Tracy.

The plan calls to locate satellite offices for human services, health service including a clinic, child support payments, agricultural commissioner, assessor, and tax collector to serve residents in the fast growing South County. It could create as many as 400 jobs.

 It is questionable whether courtrooms will be built there but if they are offices for the public defender, district attorney, sheriff’s department, and probation department will also be included in the complex.

Manteca beat out Tracy for the satellite center due in part to its location but also thanks to the deal Manteca made. The city agreed to sell the site to the county for $1 plus freeze building fees at the 2009 level at $1.5 million.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email