The San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission approved Tracy’s annexation of Cordes Ranch during the panel’s regular meeting Friday, Sept. 20. LAFCo commissioners, including San Joaquin County Supervisor Bob Elliott and Tracy Councilman Michael Maciel, voted unanimously.
Andrew Malik, director of development services for the city, said the progress at Cordes Ranch is a big piece of Tracy’s 30-year plan.
“We’re right at the upturn and we have projects that have available land, ready to go, and we can be competitive as the market kind of responds,” Malik said. “The good news is with the developer and council and staff looking out a ways, we can look back now and say we hit it just right. The market is coming back. We have users that are interested.”
Malik said the businesses housed at Cordes Ranch will occupy roughly 30 million square feet of office and industrial space and employ 36,000 people when fully built. The timing for that is still uncertain, but construction will begin almost immediately.
“You may be able to see some grading and things by the end of this year,” Malik said.
Malik believes the partnership with industrial developer Prologis to find business tenants for Cordes Ranch, approved by the City Council during the regular meeting Sept. 17, will open doors for Tracy.
“It really puts us ahead of many, many communities in having that partnership with such a world-renowned developer,” Malik said. “We had a Chinese delegation last week come to town, and Prologis came as a partner of ours and they have a lot of space in China. We want to make sure — and I think they do, too — that we leverage that resource.”
Malik said the mix of businesses for Cordes Ranch will include retail, commercial and office buildings at Mountain House Parkway south of Interstate 205; and, to the east and south, warehouses similar to the Safeway and Costco facilities on Schulte Road near the Patterson Pass Road exit off Interstate 580.
“We’re going to work with Prologis to say, ‘What are those manufacturing, higher-skilled types of uses that can fit in that particular area?’” Malik said.
Malik would not specifically say which manufacturers or other types of businesses the developer and the city are courting. Completing the vision for Cordes Ranch, a large, multiuse piece of Tracy, will require substantial coordination and planning.
“Not just like some cities do where you just kind of patchwork as you go,” Malik said. “Five to six years ago, you start to work on all of that. That starts to lay the foundation at the general plan level.”
There are risks inherent to such long-range goals. Part of the Cordes Ranch property borders the planned Gateway development. Gateway was stalled because developers of the property at the southwest corner of Lammers Road and 11th Street ran into financial problems.
“The residential side, it’s a little bit different,” Malik said. “The market crashed. There’s a number of communities that got homes half built. So the housing market is starting to resurrect. In the Bay Area, it’s back. We feel it. As soon as the Bay Area feels it, we’re right behind them.”
But housing is a big part of the strategy for Cordes Ranch, because 70 percent of Tracy residents commute out of town for work.
“That’s the goal of any community, that jobs-housing balance,” Malik said. “We had 18,000 residential units that were being entitled, just as Cordes Ranch is, for development starting just about this time. So we have Ellis. We have Tracy Hills. We have Kagehiro. Council has actually said, through the growth management process, here’s where we’re going to grow. This is our first wave of growth, and many of those projects are moving through entitlements, whether it’s early spring, late next year.”
Malik believes the Cordes Ranch development, the largest business park in Northern California, is exactly the type of thing the community wants.
“This community, ever since I’ve been here, and the council has dreamt big,” Malik said. “Ever since the mall was a field. To Cordes Ranch. This community, it wants its amenities and a lot of things. The good thing is we are in a great location and we have developers and investors to pull that off.”
•Contact Michael Ellis Langley at 830-4231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tracy Press toured Tracy’s business districts with the city director of development services, Andrew Malik, on Sept. 4. That interview forms the basis for a continuing series on the business climate in the city.