Tuesday, Sept. 3, the Tracy City Council approved the annexation of, and zoning plan for, the 1,783-acre Cordes Ranch area at the western edge of town. Part of the vote included an agreement with Prologis, one of the largest real estate developers in the world, to help build out the largest business park in Northern California.
Development of Cordes Ranch is expected to bring 36,000 jobs to Tracy — more than doubling the roughly 27,000 jobs that now exist — as well as high-end companies looking to relocate closer to the communities where their workforce lives. It’s another sign of Tracy’s growing potential.
The public hearing, and the council vote, was informed by a modest 15-slide PowerPoint presentation from the city staff. The slides — one of which was a title sheet, and another simply titled "Questions From City Council" — included information about more than 591,000 square feet of general commercial space, more than 2.46 million square feet of general office space and 88.6 acres of park or open space.
What might not have been obvious to any who saw the presentation was the depth of the groundwork that was begun years ago, leading to what now seems an obvious vote of approval Tuesday.
The city staff began to lay the foundation for this development five to six years ago, in the middle of the economic downturn. When the process to create Cordes Ranch began in 2011, staff had already completed much of the planning for the next 30 years of city services.
Andrew Malik, the director of development services for the City of Tracy, spoke Wednesday, Sept. 4, about city employees who prepared an Evaluation and Appraisal Report and master plans for sewer, water, storm and road systems and even coordinated bike paths through the new areas of Tracy. The scope of the effort undertaken by the staff was immense.
California is often thought of as a restrictive state in which to do business, because of the number of environmental permits, licenses and health and safety inspections any business must complete just to open up shop. So when you have city workers and administrators who spend years compiling the necessary permits, reports and plans, just to be ready for this opportunity, it is highly commendable.
There is a saying appropriate to Tracy’s new potential: Fortune favors the prepared.