On Tuesday, May 1, the City Council voted unanimous to go-ahead for Prologis, one of the world’s largest developers of industrial real estate, to construct three new buildings totaling almost 1 million square feet south of Grant Line Road off Paradise Road in the Northeast Industrial Area.
The council vote also cleared the way for the nearby Barbosa Cabinet building to be expanded by 288,000 square feet.
Andrew Malik, the city’s development and engineering services director, said he didn’t know if Prologis had any particular company in mind for the spaces. He said sometimes developers get out in front of the market by getting approval for industrial construction before a tenant is lined up, a strategy helped by Tracy’s “flexible” industrial zoning criteria.
“You can lay out some buildings on parcels to maximize your footprint, and then respond to tenants once they’re ready to come in,” Malik said. “When (developers) make a decision … they need to jump now, and they typically need a really tight timeline.”
Prologis, contacted Wednesday, May 2, did not comment about possible tenants as of press time.
“Many times, they don’t want to be named,” Malik said regarding possible suitors for the space.
City Manager Leon Churchill said he did not see any specific link between the May 1 council action and a vote in December authorizing a tax incentive package for companies settling in Tracy that would create more than 1,000 full-time jobs and have taxable sales revenue of at least $100 million.
However, Churchill anticipated that some sort of big development would be announced in the next couple of months.
“These things typically close in the second quarter,” said Churchill, who was vague on details but said he remained “optimistic” about the city’s ability to land job producers.
“We still have to be patient.”
Also at Tuesday’s council meeting:
• By a 5-0 vote, the City Council made a move toward allowing larger signs on buildings with multiple tenants near the Interstate 205 corridor.
The issue gained the council’s attention when the Tracy Planning Commission had second thoughts about a sign raised by Staples — a sign that initially received the commission’s approval.
“The renderings (I was shown) didn’t match what I approved,” Charles Mann, chairman of the planning commission, told the council Tuesday.
The sign required a conditional use permit because it exceeded the square footage allowed for signs on businesses that share a single building. But it was placed on the building at 2471 Naglee Road before the City Council gave its thumbs up and a proper permit was issued.
Charlie Ingram, whose company built the sign and who traveled from South Carolina to defend it, apologized for moving forward without proper approval and attributed it to a communication mix-up.
“I was led to believe the (conditional use permit) would be a walk in the park,” she said, adding it might cost as much as $20,000 to remove the sign and ship it back to the East Coast. “I do apologize profusely for going without a permit.”
The council directed staff members to work with Staples to allow the sign to stay up in an effort to be business friendly. City employees will also draft an amendment allowing larger signs on buildings like the one Staples occupies.
But the council members also stressed that the vote should not betaken to mean they would allow end-runs around the city code.
“Rules apply equally to everyone,” said Councilman Robert Rickman.
• The council unanimously took a step toward building a biomass-fueled desalinization plant to help the city’s wastewater meet state standards.
The facility, near the old Holly Sugar plant north of Tracy, will burn nut shells and other biomass to drive a process that will take salts out of the treated wastewater the city discharges into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Steve Bayley, deputy director of the city’s public works department, said Tracy’s effluent does not meet state standards.
• A new memorandum of understanding
was unanimously approved between the Grand Foundation and the city to support the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.
The Grand Foundation’s president, Mike Souza, also gave the city a $30,000 check — the fifth such check the nonprofit group has cut the city in five years in support of the downtown arts and education center.