Plan for high den­sity hous­ing at cen­ter, if it goes for­ward, is a game changer

Ripon Bulletin - - Front Page - By DEN­NIS WY­ATT

The va­cant store spa­ces at The Prom­e­nade Shops at Or­chard Val­ley could be­come the heart of a low-key North­ern San Joaquin Val­ley ver­sion of San Jose’s San­tana Row.

Poag — the owner of the cen­ter at the 120 By­pass and Union Road in­ter­change — is work­ing on a third rein­car­na­tion of their de­vel­op­ment. This time what started out as plans for a life­style cen­ter an­chored by Bass Pro Shops that then mor­phed into an out­let mall con­cept that was only able to snag three out­let stores could be­come a “vil­lage” com­mu­nity.

The firm is look­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of con­vert­ing park­ing area and un­de­vel­oped store pads into high

sity res­i­den­tial such as apart­ments, con­dos, and town­houses.

If that oc­curs, it would cre­ate a de­mand for a dif­fer­ent as­sort­ment of neigh­bor­hood re­tail, ser­vice and res­tau­rant users.

At the same time de­vel­oper Mike Ather­ton and part­ners are ex­plor­ing a pro­posal to build up­wards of 400 apart­ments on land im­me­di­ately east of the Bass Pro Shops.

De­pend­ing upon the pro­posal that Poag as well as Ather­ton ul­ti­mately ad­vance there could be well over 1,000 high den­sity hous­ing units on the south­east cor­ner of the Union Road and 120 By­pass where the city is mov­ing for­ward with Cal­i­for­nia’s first di­verg­ing di­a­mond in­ter­change.

Such syn­ergy could cre­ate a neigh­bor­hood of 2,000 plus res­i­dents that could walk to ad­di­tional restau­rants, en­ter­tain­ment venues, neigh­bor­hood style shops and ser­vices that could fill the empty store space be­tween the Banana Repub­lic and the JC Pen­ney store.

Mak­ing the con­cept fea­si­ble is what is al­ready in place. In ad­di­tion to its in­ward de­sign that es­chewed putting stores on one edge of the prop­erty and park­ing in front, Or­chard Val­ley al­ready has a 16-screen the­ater, a fit­ness club, and restau­rants.

By pur­su­ing high den­sity hous­ing, it would iron­i­cally al­low the orig­i­nal con­cept of the life­style cen­ter be­com­ing a pseudo new se­condary down­town for Man­teca to de­velop. The idea of the cen­ter even­tu­ally be­ing a com­mu­nity gath­er­ing place was re­flected in de­sign el­e­ments from the lake to the tower near the round­about foun­tain that was put in place pur­posely to pre­serve the mem­o­ries of the beloved Man­teca High tower that once served as a com­mu­nity icon.

The life­style cen­ter de­sign called for an open air for­mat with stores fac­ing each other with park­ing in front of stores as well. The de­sign in other com­mu­ni­ties en­cour­ages sim­i­lar events that many other life­style cen­ters across the coun­try have such as con­certs, farm­ers mar­kets, and other com­mu­nity-style ac­tiv­i­ties. The fact there could be as many as 1,000 high den­sity hous­ing units in close prox­im­ity would help make such a con­cept work­able.

San­tana Row in San Jose has high den­sity hous­ing sur­round­ing a core area that serves as a gath­er­ing place for res­i­dents that pro­vides com­mer­cial, ser­vices, din­ing, and en­ter­tain­ment venues.

Poag’s vi­sion is the same con­cept ex­cept

it would re­flect North­ern San Joaquin Val­ley land use de­vel­op­ment pat­terns — in other words more ac­com­mo­da­tion for ve­hi­cles — that is spread out just a bit more.

Given where it is lo­cated along the free­way at the mid-point of hous­ing de­vel­op­ment south of the 120 By­pass be­tween Mof­fat Boule­vard and a point west of McKin­ley Av­enue, Or­chard Val­ley could be­come Man­teca’s “down­town” of the 21st cen­tury and serve as the fo­cal point for com­mu­nity life south of the By­pass.

The Poag pro­posal re­flects the chang­ing world of brick and mor­tar com­merce as well as the emerg­ing de­mands for more non-tra­di­tional sin­gle fam­ily homes in Man­teca due to the grow­ing in­flu­ence of the Bay Area mar­ket cou­pled with hous­ing prices and shift­ing life­style changes.

Man­teca cur­rently has over 8,000 en­ti­tled lots ap­proved for sin­gle fam­ily homes.

The fu­ture land use sub­com­mit­tee of the City Coun­cil ap­pointed Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee noted Man­teca has an am­ple sup­ply of lots for con­ven­tional sin­gle fam­ily homes. Based on the cur­rent rate of 650 hous­ing units be­ing built a year, the en­ti­tled lots rep­re­sent a 10 to 15 year sup­ply for sin­gle fam­ily home con­struc­tion.

The sub­com­mit­tee iden­ti­fied the need for more af­ford­able hous­ing to rent or own such as con­dos, town­houses, apart­ments, and such. They also is a per­cep­tion Man­teca is los­ing ex­ec­u­tive home clients to Ripon, Brook­side Vil­lage in Stock­ton, and River Is­lands in Lathrop given Man­teca has a lack of such hous­ing avail­able.

The Poag plan would ad­dress the more af­ford­able hous­ing con­cern to a de­gree but is more likely to ful­fill a de­sire by a grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple to be able to pur­sue a life­style in the val­ley that isn’t tied to tra­di­tional sin­gle fam­ily homes with large yards.

At the same time, the num­ber of en­ti­tled lots for sin­gle fam­ily homes could be whit­tled down by 1,014 to around 7,000 if a pro­posal to con­vert the ap­proved 229-acre Villa Ti­cino West project on the south­west cor­ner of Air­port Way and Louise Av­enue into a busi­ness park goes for­ward.

Bul­letin file

Empty store space at Or­chard Val­ley could one day be the heart of a teem­ing life­style vil­lage within the City of Man­teca.

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