“This is a game-changer for our city,” said Mayor Brent Ives. “This is the kind of thing that puts you in a position to attract the kind of jobs we’ve been looking for for years.”
Among the items approved by councilmembers were the annexation of roughly 1,783 acres along the southern boundary of Interstate 205, the northern border of Schulte Road and east and west of Mountain House Parkway. An environmental report was also accepted by council.
Developers investing in the project are GBC Global Investments, located in Colma; Prologis, based in San Francisco; TWL Investors LLC of Dallas, Texas; and Stockton-based Delta Properties.
Prologis, one of the largest property owners in Tracy and the largest industrial land developer in the world, will have control of 1,200 acres.
More than 30 million square feet of space is available at the park. It’s divided into three classifications: general commercial (591,980 square feet); general office (2,465,932 square feet); and business park industrial (27,789,102 square feet). More than 88 acres of land is designated for parks and open space.
Bill Dean, assistant development services director for Tracy, described the proposals during a nearly two-hour discussion with councilmembers as a “once-in-a-generation type of project.” Planning began at least five years ago.
“We, for a long time, have been strategically planning our I-205 corridor to capture an interest on behalf of a larger economic development effort to capitalize on that corridor and bring jobs to Tracy,” he said. “This has been a very focused endeavor and a lot of time and effort has gone into it.”
According to Andrew Malik, director of development services for Tracy, the business park could generate about 36,000 jobs. There are currently 27,000 jobs in Tracy, he said. The population of Tracy was 84,266 in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The annexation portion of the Cordes Ranch Specific Plan must get final approval from the San Joaquin County Local Agency Formation Commission. The commission is expected to vote on the plan during its meeting on Sept. 20.
According to Dave Letter, vice president development west region for Prologis, the developer will work closely with the city of Tracy to attract technology companies to the park.
Letter said Prologis wants to find companies that are “changing the way they do business with new modern facilities, state-of-the-art with technology that really has not been put into buildings until now.”
He used the example of the 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center being built by Amazon Inc. in the Northeast Industrial Area — which was developed by Prologis.
“Based on the momentum we think we can catch today, the time is now to really take advantage of the recovery of the marketplace,” he said. “We see many major users that nobody has seen in the Central Valley.”
Scott Lamson, president of the northwest region for Prologis, said he “has never seen the city of Tracy working so proactively to attract new businesses” during his 18 years of development in Tracy.
Lamson said Prologis owns 5 million square feet of space in Tracy, and the company will use its deep contacts in the distribution and high-tech industries of the Bay Area to attract businesses to Cordes Ranch.
“The business environment is changing today,” he said. “That environment (Amazon fulfillment center) is creating a lot more high-paying jobs for white-collar employees — it’s not just a forklift driver inside of a warehouse anymore.”
According to Dean, the city of Tracy and Prologis will create a marketing team as stipulated by a 25-year developer agreement the Council approved Tuesday with Prologis. The marketing team is a joint effort to entice businesses to relocate to the park. He suggested that the City Council meet yearly with Prologis officials, while city staff meet quarterly.
Prologis is paying a $5 million public benefit fee that the City Council can use at its discretion. Site developers will also have access to the Hanson Sewer Line, according to Dean.
“Of course, access to the wastewater treatment plant is a significant benefit to the property owner,” he said. “It’s a significant statement on behalf of the city that economic development opportunities should benefit from the limited capacities we have in our utility system.”
Welcome mat to Tracy
Since the Cordes Ranch property fronts I-205 from Hanson Road to the junction of interstates 205 and 580, councilmembers expressed concern about the structures and signage that will be built along that area — referred to as the I-205 corridor.
According to Dean, big-box distributors are not allowed to build along the I-205 corridor — a zone extending 500 feet from the interstate.
Councilman Charles Manne wanted to ensure that structures are “high-quality projects” that reflect positively to the image of Tracy.
Robert Rickman wants signage — which includes welcome to Tracy and business park signs — to have a “civic feel” that welcomes people entering Tracy from the Altamont Pass.
Mayor Brent Ives wanted to ensure that all decisions regarding signage, structures and landscaping in the I-205 corridor be finalized by the City Council.
A five-minute recess was called and the city staff was able to amend the language in the specific plan to guarantee that final decisions regarding the I-205 corridor are made the city’s planning commission and City Council. Those alterations satisfied all the councilmembers.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel said he is “confident” that the developers understand “what we expect as a city” when it comes to Tracy’s image along I-205.
“I have no great concerns,” he said. “The philosophy we are moving forward with and hoping for is that we will attract no business that developing this project will not detract and hurt existing businesses in Tracy.”
Councilwoman Nancy Young did not comment during the discussion.
• Contact Joel Danoy at 830-4229 or email@example.com.
View all the documents and research from the City Council presentation at the City of Tracy website.