Votes move development forward
by Jon Mendelson / Tracy Press
Sep 13, 2011 | 3438 views | 7 7 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city took steps last week on the road to building the Cordes Ranch commercial center and Tracy Hills residential development on the outskirts of Tracy.

At the Tuesday, Sept. 6, City Council meeting, the five councilmen made a unanimous vote directing city staff to negotiate a developer agreement to get the ball rolling on the Cordes Ranch business and industrial center.

Cordes Ranch — 17,000 acres of land currently outside city limits and bordered by the Patterson Business Park and the Delta-Mendota Canal on the west, Interstate 205 on the north, Old Schulte Road on the south and Hansen Road on the east — has long been touted as a future jobs center by city leaders.

One of the first steps toward realizing that goal is reaching an agreement with the tract's developers — Golden State Developers, Delta Properties, GBC Global Investments Inc. and TWL Investors — that would specify performance criteria from both developers and the city, said Bill Dean of Tracy’s planning department.

Among the benefits proffered by developers include constructing a “state-of-the-art” business development that will provide “head-of-household” type jobs, according to city staff’s report.

Dean said any agreement could also offer the developers incentives, including financial support, though nothing’s certain, as the project in a nascent stage.

”That discussion really has yet to begin,” Dean said.

According to Andrew Malik, the head of the city’s Development and Engineering Services Department, work on Cordes Ranch could begin as early as late 2012, weather and paperwork permitting. But first, he said, a specific plan and environmental impact review must be finished in conjunction with the developer agreement.

Malik insisted the city is rushing to get Cordes Ranch done. As growth in the Northeast Industrial Area shows — Malik pointed to the soon-to-open Best Buy distribution center as just one example — there are indeed outfits that will take advantage of a location in Tracy.

“The market is there,” he said.

Dean also said the business and industrial park would offer visitors a new vision of Tracy when they head east into the city.

But Councilman Robert Rickman said he’s concerned that new vision could be bleak if not managed properly.

“I don’t want Tracy surrounded by warehouses,” Rickman said.

Malik and Dean, however, said staff envisions the park as attractive feature. The city plans to incorporate public feedback into the project, Dean said.

Before the council signed off on the agenda item, Dean reminded the five councilmen that their vote didn’t commit the city to anything binding.

Councilman Mike Maciel added that this “very preliminary step” was important to making Tracy a stronger economic locus.

“This is one of our greatest assets, that we have this much land we can committee and make it available to companies…” Maciel said.

Also on Tuesday, the council amended an agreement with a contractor charged with preparing an environmental impact report for the Tracy Hills development southwest of Tracy.

Tracy Hills, which is already within city limits and will make room for thousands more homes and, according to the city, jobs over the next several decades, has been on the city’s radar for some time. And with the Ellis residential development torpedoed — or at least put on hold for now — by a judicial ruling, Tracy Hills appears to be the next big residential development in the city's pipeline.

The amendment approved last week reduced the scope and cost of the work needed to refine documents associated with the Tracy Hills specific plan, as “The property owners are in the process of refining the land uses, updating approaches to infrastructure systems, and contemporizing urban design and architectural standards for the project,” the staff report says.

A draft environmental impact review on the Tracy Hills specific plan is scheduled to be available to public comment later this year, according to documents attached to the staff report last week.

In an unrelated action at the council meeting, Patricia Hand was appointed to the Tracy Arts Commission after a recommendation from a subcommittee of Councilmen Steve Abercrombie and Robert Rickman.

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September 15, 2011
At the risk of sounding like a negative nancy...I agree that we dont need a bunch of warehouses and the talk of a Best Buy distribution center coming in makes me think that is exactly what the business park would end up being, just a bunch of shipping docks. People who commute to the bay area are generally not doing it for warehouse jobs. They are doing it for pharma, bio, medical device or IT jobs. Most of them would be much more interested in their next position being an R&D manager at a bio tech company than in being a warehouse manager. Sorry, but putting in a bunch of warehouses is just going to bring in more low benefit, low pay, no future jobs. Not worth the loss of open space in my book.
September 14, 2011
Yes, Lathrop did the same thing. Right on I-5. More people travel that section of freeway than 205 and look at the great success they have.

Sure would like an update on Macy's.

DMV took over a an auto dealership. Be a good area to set up a gym, or, other recreational facility. Like that stupid water park.

Grantline Rd. turned out better than I figured. It works.

This paper should set up an area just for Tracy, City business. Keep an eye on Council, planning, management.

September 13, 2011
Seventeen thousand acres (17,000)?

Is that correct by the boundaries described?

Looked at my google map and it just seems wrong...

September 13, 2011
It would be nice to have non-blue collar jobs added. I agree having a bunch of warehouses isn't really the answer. There are many people who live in Tracy who commute to other places like Pleasnton, Dublin, SF, and even the south bay that work in high tech and other professional industries who would love to cut their commutes way down and yes, we would be here (Tracy) more to spend money as an earlier commenter stated.
September 13, 2011
Having new businesses here -- especially big employers like the Best Buy distribution center -- means that more people will working here in town, rather than spending all morning and all afternoon commuting to jobs in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Silicon Valley.

If more people worked here instead of spending time on 205 heading to jobs elsewhere, they'd be shopping at the mall here, and eating at restaurants here, and this wouldn't be an issue.

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