THE $35,000 QUESTION
Is Partnership worth having help Manteca hunt for jobs?
The San Joaquin Partnership in the first six months of this year pitched three properties in Manteca to six prospective employers.
One was for a Centerpoint Business Park spec building now moving through the planning process that’s dubbed “Project Laurie” and is envisioned to cover 1,199,997 square feet that put Manteca in the hunt for 920 to 1,266 jobs at the 190 acre site at Roth Road
and Airport Way.
Another was for a possible tenant for an existing building on Dupont Court in the Spreckels Business Park that would have 12 to 24 workers.
The other four tenants were directed to the 88,533-square-foot former electronics assembly building at 400 Industrial Park Drive to consider.
The six prospective employers were among 85 firms on the Partnership’s “hot client list” involving 85 concerns working with the organization from January to July to re-locate, expand or launch a start-up business. That means Manteca only had available space or spec projects far enough along to meet the needs of 5 percent of all businesses actively shopping one of the hottest spots in Northern California for distribution and supply firms — South San Joaquin County.
It is against that backdrop that the Manteca City Council on Tuesday will revisit whether to contribute $35,000 to the San Joaquin Partnership to help bring jobs to San Joaquin County. The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
The proposal to send the
Partnership $35,000 was slammed in a June budget workshop by Councilwoman Debby Moorhead after she asked, “what have they (the Partnership) done for Manteca?”
No one at the time could answer Moorhead’s question about specific jobs the Partnership helped bring to Manteca despite the city investing more than $600,000 in the organization since the early 1990s.
That led to a dialogue with Partnership representatives in July where the organization that’s credited with helping San Joaquin County land well over 10,000 new jobs since the 1990s.
To answer Moorhead’s question as to why the likes of Amazon, United Parcel Service, and a multitude of other firms seeking to locate distribution centers and other business park style operations in San Joaquin County to serve the richest regional economy in the county that surrounds the San Francisco Bay are bypassing Manteca, the Partnership produced brutally honest numbers:
►Of 11 million square feet of existing industrial space in the county, only 212,000 square feet of 1.8 percent of the overall total is in Manteca. Ready-to-convert building shells are critical for firms that
need to move or expand within months and not years.
►Of the 16,176 acres countywide of vacant industrial land, only 844 acres— or 5.2 percent of that total is in Manteca. And more than half of that is part of the Austin Road Business Park that stalled, due in a large part, by the city’s inaction on a development agreement that caused the original partnership to disintegrate.
►Not only does Manteca have limited office space, but there is no “Class A” space critical to snag Bay Area concerns looking for high profile offices that could soon join the exodus of distribution to San Joaquin County.
Council members concurred that a number of Manteca residents benefit from jobs the Partnership helps locate in Lathrop, Tracy, and Stockton. But they still wanted to see jobs brought to Manteca through the Partnership effort.
The Partnership didn’t take claim for 317 plus jobs that are coming to Manteca in the coming months:
►217 jobs 5.11 Tactical is relocating from Modesto and Lathrop to a 404,657-squarefoot distribution center now under construction on Airport Way south of Roth Road. The firm expects to eventually generate additional jobs in Manteca.
►100 plus jobs for an Amazon Prime distribution center opening within two months in a 91,134-square-foot facility on Louise Avenue in the Pacific Business Park. Almost all of those jobs will be new.
As for additional large-scale spec building space that is the hottest real estate commodity, Manteca has three projects moving forward.
►One is the nearly 1.2 million square-foot Laurie Project building.
► Scannell in Spreckels Park is pursuing a new 285,000 square foot spec building.
►Pacific Business Center next to the Manteca Unified office complex on Louise Avenue is pursuing a new 585,000 square foot spec building.
In addition two existing concerns are expanding.
►BF Funsten is in the process of finishing a 68,000-suare-foot addition to their flooring distribution center on South Main at Industrial park Drive. They are a major Manteca sales tax generator and currently employ 198 fulltime workers.
►S►nnyValley Meats is now expanding. They currently have 260 fulltime employees.
Construction is underway for the new home for 5.11 Tactical in northwest Manteca.