Thursday, October 18, 2012

River Islands OK’d; Lathrop to get 11,000 homes


Joe Goldeen
LATHROP - An exuberant Susan Dell'Osso declared, "It means we get started," following the unanimous vote of the Lathrop City Council earlier this week clearing the final hurdle for her massive River Islands master-planned community 23 years in the making.
"It means the recession is over, or the downturn is going up. We built the bridge and the school during the recession, spending $30 million. Now that we see the economy turning, we will build out the lots. We expect to sell 200 in the first year," Dell'Osso, River Islands' project director, said after the council approved an amendment to the 2003 agreement between developer Califia LLC and the city.
Much has transpired during the past nine years, so the amendment adopted this week to the 2003 agreement calls for:
» Updating the land burdened and benefited by the original agreement.
» Clarifying that the 2003 agreement is a covenant benefiting and burdening the covered land - roughly 5,000 acres west of Interstate 5.
» Clarifying financial responsibilities for infrastructure and that the Delta Reform Act of 2009 does not apply to the project.
» Explaining the anticipated transfer by the Cambay Group to an affiliated entity.
» Extending the term of the 2003 agreement to Jan. 1, 2042, for owned land and Jan. 1, 2030, for optioned land.
Dell'Osso said that before any of the 11,000 homes planned over the next 20 years start construction, her company will be spending an additional $30,000 per lot on improvements. "After 23 years, we are very excited. This is a big commitment," she said.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tracy company building, outfitting natural gas trucks for PG&E


Top PhotoBuy This Photo
Clint Garner, president of America Truck & Trailer Body Co. Inc. in Tracy, talks about the company's work for PG&E.CRAIG SANDERS/The Record

Reed Fujii

TRACY - American Truck & Trailer Body Co. Inc. is on a roll as it builds and outfits a full range of work trucks and vehicles for Northern California's largest utility.
That includes the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s first newly designed natural gas crew truck in 30 years, which was delivered Tuesday to the utility's maintenance workers in Stockton.
There are many changes from the older trucks, said Jason King, PG&E spokesman. Those include roll-up, instead of swing-out, compartment doors. Headroom in the interior space has been lifted to 6-foot-2. And each truck includes a pneumatic lift to help load and place heavy items, such as jackhammers.
Hundreds of PG&E employees contributed to the features, improving worker safety and efficiency.
And the utility is also quick to point out its contribution to the regional economy.
"The buzzword now is 'buy local,' that's what we're doing here," King said.
While American Truck is building 57 of the new gas crew trucks for PG&E this year, with plans for 55 to 60 more in each of the coming three years, it is only a small part of the 1,200 vehicles the utility has ordered this year.
American Truck added 23 employees just this year and has been rapidly expanding, said Clint Garner, president of the privately held company. The company has grown an average of 200 percent annually for the past five years through expansion and outside acquisitions, with new facilities in Woodland, Santa Ana and a second in Tracy.
"It's been huge," Garner said of PG&E's business, which accounts for a little more than half of his revenues. "We're growing right along with them."
In the 13 years American Truck has been a PG&E supplier, the company has grown from $1.9 million in sales to an expected $21 million this year, officials said.
Part of the utility's fleet push is to switch to cleaner-burning vehicles as required by state air pollution officials.
American Truck builds a wide variety of vehicles: everything from taking a standard pickup truck and adding a tool box and yellow warning light to building complete bodies and installing additional equipment on a bare chassis and cab delivered by a truck maker. One unique example at its Tracy headquarters Tuesday was a flatbed truck and crane, used to pick up and deliver electric transformers, and able to lift 10,000 pounds at its full extension of nearly 40 feet.
Besides PG&E, Garner said his customers include a wide variety of utilities, such as AT&T and California Water Service Co.; contractors, including Davey Tree, and municipal governments.
PG&E said its gas employees in Stockton received the first new truck after winning a company video contest.
Contact reporter Reed Fujii at (209) 546-8253 or

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Time & Place: With Bay area Companies coming, Tracy stands to prosper/Comstocks

Story by Robert Celaschi | Photo by Ken James
Safeway Inc. maintains 2.2 million square feet of industrial space in Tracy, including this frozen food warehouse.
As Bay Area businesses begin to regain their financial footing, the city of Tracy is aiming to capitalize on a growing need for industrial space in an accessible, affordable zip code.

Tracy’s sales pitch should sound familiar to Sacramentans: easy access to several major transportation arteries — in this case, Interstates 5, 205 and 280 — rail connectivity and proximity to seaports.

Tracy doesn’t have a port, but the city sits just 20 miles from the Port of Stockton — the same distance from Roseville to the Port of Sacramento. And imports and exports Stockton can’t manage, the Port of Oakland can; it is just over the Altamont Pass, giving Tracy easy access to its ships and the Bay Area’s 7 million people.

Prologis Inc., a global industrial landlord, owns more than 4 million square feet of space in Tracy. Speaking at Tracy’s State of the City event earlier this year, Prologis chairman and co-CEO Hamid Moghadam said he would be surprised if his company doesn’t double its holdings there in the next three to five years, investing $300 million to $400 million and creating a potential 4,000 jobs.

“The Bay Area is a hub for global trade. The problem is, there is very little real estate in the Bay Area to support that activity,” Moghadam says. “There is very little affordable housing. There is, frankly, very little quality labor to support this kind of economic development. Tracy offers all those things in one location.”

Silicon Valley might have fit the bill 30 years ago, but not with today’s housing costs.
Proximity to the Bay Area is key because California’s economy has been returning to health much faster along the coast than inland. Silicon Valley property values are on the rise again, and the unemployment rate had dropped to 8.4 percent as of late spring.

As that part of the state’s economy heats up, Tracy is close enough to latch on. The Stockton/Tracy area still struggled with an industrial vacancy rate of 14.2 percent early this year, as measured by Colliers International, down from 19.2 percent at the end of 2010.

When people talk about Tracy’s industrial space, the subject narrows quickly to distribution, often centered on food. Safeway Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp., H.J. Heinz Co. and Crate & Barrel all have Tracy distribution centers.

Safeway’s operation is huge: 2.2 million square feet and 1,700 employees. From Tracy, trucks rack up about 24 million miles a year supplying 252 stores from Monterey north to the Oregon border, and east as far as Hawthorne, Nev. The Tracy warehouse also ships about 100 to 120 containers a week to stores in Hawaii.

A few decades ago, Safeway’s distribution was based out of Richmond. It had dry goods in one location, refrigerated food in another and health and beauty products in a third, says Jack Mixey, distribution director for Northern California.

But in 1988 a spectacular fire burned its dry grocery warehouse to the ground. Safeway decided to consolidate and in 1992 picked a campus in Tracy.

“The majority of our stores are on both sides of the bay and up into the peninsula,” Mixey says. Supply plants are in the Bay Area as well. Putting the distribution center in a place like Sacramento would only put extra miles on the trucks.

That doesn’t mean Tracy always comes up the winner. Logistics can get tricky, and finding the right spot means aligning a perfect combination of variables, including distance from markets and suppliers, cost and amount of space, and modes of transportation. Goods usually go out the door by truck, but they might come in by rail or ship.

“It’s one of those spreadsheets you would never want to put together yourself,” says Matt Cologna, senior director at commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Inc. in Sacramento. Companies also consider California emissions regulations and whether it’s worth picking a spot where trucks can refuel cheaper on the other side of the state line.

“The costs of consumer goods are very directly related to the cost of the movement of those goods,” Cologna says, recalling a client looking for the best distribution option in the west. Cologna plotted the annual miles the trucks would have to cover from various cities.

“When you looked at the average miles traveled, Sacramento and Stockton, for this particular company, were within one mile traveled. But when you looked at the inbound freight costs, that’s where the spike was,” he says.

Operating the same amount of space for a year could cost $100,000 to $1 million depending upon location in Tracy, Sacramento, Stockton or Modesto.

There’s still one more choice factor that’s made Tracy more attractive: a city government that’s gotten its act together.

Another client figured it would be cheaper to move goods from San Joaquin County but learned it could obtain empty shipping containers from a Woodland company importing from China, eliminating most of the costs of having containers delivered.

A third client found the inbound freight costs from Oakland to Woodland or Tracy were comparable, but Woodland space was cheaper.

That deal went to Woodland, but if drive time is the key factor, Tracy may get the nod.

“Let’s say the territory of where a truck was going included Southern California up through Reno. I’m going to be better off putting myself in Tracy because I will be able to hit the drive times to Southern California without having to give my driver a break,” Cologna says.

Sacramento would offer a closer start to Reno, but Reno is a smaller market. And the Bay Area is an easier shot over the Altamont Pass than down Interstate 80.

Amount of space also is, of course, a factor.

Owens & Minor Inc., which distributes medical supplies to hospitals, consolidated its Livermore and Lathrop operations in Tracy. It needed 261,000 square feet and minimal disruption to employees.

“It comes down to availability of real estate and the buildings that would fit what we needed and the time we needed it,” says Wayne Dishman, director of real estate.

Owens & Minor serves all of Northern California from Tracy, but a lot of its customers are in the Bay Area. The farther from the Bay Area, the cheaper the space, Dishman says. But venture too far and the extra miles can wipe out the savings.

“There weren’t a lot of choices. A handful, not a bucketful,” Dishman says.

In the Sacramento area, a 100,000-square-foot tenant is considered “huge,” according to Cologna, who closes about a dozen such deals in an average year. Meanwhile in the Stockton area, he says 100,000 square feet is the typical starting point, and deals there can top 1 million square feet. The county is running out of inventory for spaces that large.

Basically, Tracy and the rest of San Joaquin County get the regional distribution centers, and Sacramento gets the local distribution centers, he says.

There’s still one more choice factor that’s made Tracy more attractive: a city government that’s gotten its act together.

“Tracy was known as a really difficult place to do business,” says City Manager Leon Churchill. “We had to rethink our planning and permitting process.”

Much of that has been automated now, many building-related fees have been cut by 20 percent to 40 percent, the city introduced incentive and loan packages and the staff was ordered to adjust its attitude. The city will expedite applications for an additional fee, and Andrew Malik, Tracy’s development services director, goes to trade shows throughout the state to drum up interest.

Not all parties get what they want, Churchill says, but they know what they are getting and when it will be delivered. The city also is making more industrial land available by annexing about 6,600 acres.

“I’m glad they admitted they had a bad reputation,” Cologna says. “They had, in the heyday, some of the highest development fees for industrial. It would have been maybe $7 or $8 a square foot in Stockton, and in Tracy it could have been $12 to $14. A pretty big spread when you are talking about a half-million-square-foot building.”

There’s strategy behind the push for more industrial tenants, Churchill says. If a company can distribute from Tracy, they could manufacture there too. About a quarter of the workers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory live in the Tracy area, so maybe Silicon Valley firms will see Tracy as a place to move an idea from invention to production, all within driving distance of headquarters.

“Also, we have conversations from time to time with companies in the alternative energy industry and other high-tech concerns that want to scale,” Churchill says.

If Tracy gets lazy, it could get stuck as a distribution hub. That’s not terrible, he says; distribution means jobs. But if Tracy remains vigilant, it might be able to fill that industrial space with a wider variety of tenants.

“It fits into larger land-use decisions. We’ve got to move away from being a commuter town and a bedroom community and become a full-service community,” Churchill says. “It’s making sure we are pushing up the supply chain.”

Did you know?

It’s not all about distribution. While transportation and distribution comprise a large portion of Tracy’s industrial tenants, they don’t have the entire market to themselves. A diverse group of manufacturers also have carved out some space. American Custom Meats opened a 65,000-square-foot “protein-processing facility” last year, employing about 30 people. Owens-Illinois Inc. has a glass plant on the west side of town, and Ro-Lab American Rubber Co. Inc. has its 65,000-square-foot headquarters and factory to the southeast. City manager Leon Churchill says he would like to see more names on the list. Residential development has proved troublesome as an economic development strategy for Tracy, he says. Adding more manufacturing to the transportation and logistics base could spur development from a different direction. “There is some theory behind that. The job creation will lead to housing demand, which will lead to retail development,” he says.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Asphalt company will expand local operation/The Record


STOCKTON - Dryco Construction Inc., a Fremont-based pavement maintenance company serving all of Northern California, is moving and expanding its Stockton operation.
Now located at 3675 N. Wilcox Road, the company has acquired 4 acres at 4250 Mariposa Road, where it will convert an existing home to an office and build additional office and shop space, said Daren R. Young, the company's founder and president.
The Stockton operation, established in 2009, is handing about $5 million to $6 million in sales per year and needs more space, he said.
"We found that from Stockton, we're actually covering all of Northern California," Young said Monday. "We're in Truckee and Tahoe and Fresno and Redding. ... That Stockton location ended up being an ideal spot to dispatch from."
In the construction slowdown that began in 2008, Young said he looked to expand his market beyond just the Bay Area to the rest of the north state.
"We're excited about the (new) facility. It's going to be good," he said in a telephone interview. "We'll be operating out of there in the spring of next year."
Dryco should employ 25 to 30 people in Stockton when it is complete, he said.
The San Joaquin Partnership, the Stockton-based public-private development agency, helped Young with the permitting process and an estimate of development fees.
Jim Martin, a broker with Lee & Associates, represented Dryco in the acquisition of the property. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Dryco, established in 1985 and mainly serving property management companies, provides a wide variety of asphalt pavement, concrete, fencing and ironwork, and general construction services.
Contact reporter Reed Fujii at (209) 546-8253 or

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Warehouse foundation is robotics/Manteca Bulletiin

LATHROP - Robotics technology is the foundation of a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art, 12-story warehouse on the horizon for Lathrop’s California Natural Products (CNP) firm located on McKinley Avenue just south of Lathrop Road.
Gold shovels were the order of the day Monday morning at 9 for the groundbreaking of the first phase of the storage facility being built by Power Automation Systems (PAS) directly across the street from the 300 employee strong CNP operation. The building will hold some 9,000 pallets of food products ranging from teas, soups, broths and nutritional drinks to meal replacement products.
Chief Operating Officer Marc Weinstein added that CNP produces a broad range of aseptic beverages and food ingredients from both conventional and organic rice, soy and fresh vegetables. An aseptic product is defined as commercially sterile – combined with sterilized packaging under sterile conditions.
The in-house artist’s renderings show a covered walk bridge that has been designed to connect the new building with the current campus of the parent operation to the west by crossing over McKinley Avenue.
A planned second phase will add another 5,000 pallet capacity. Phase three is expected to provide for an additional 9,000 pallet loads and phase four an additional 5,000 pallets.
Lathrop city officials and company representatives from both CNP and PAS were on hand for the ground breaking ceremony led by California Natural Products founder and President Pat Mitchell. Mitchell. He founded both companies, starting years ago in two World War II Quonset hut structures that sold watermelons on the corner of Lathrop Road and McKinley Avenue.
Several speakers addressed the crowd including Steve Salvatore, interim Lathrop city manager, Chaka Santos, mayor of Lathrop, and Rodney Tipton, president of the specialized warehouse construction firm PAS and Pat Mitchell.
Vice President of Marketing and Sales of Brand Products for California Natural Products Clark Driftmier said Monday that the building is the “most advanced (and largest) automated warehouse in the world using robotics technology.”
He explained that “empty space” in the new warehouse concept is completely eliminated as the pallets loaded with foodstuffs are stored into the building by elevators taking them to the various floors of the storage facility. Driftmier said it would normally cost more than 25 cents in man hours to move a single pallet, adding that the new system reduces that overhead to about three cents – 1/8 of the conventional energy that had been required in the past. The company has added more than 25 new employees in the last six months, according to Bob Bachahn, marketing and sales manager in the Branded Products.
Company officials said there is no plan to cut employees who serve the firm’s world-wide market, explaining that some of their 300 workers may be relocated, however, within the seven-day-a-week operation.
Driftmier said that conventional forklifts can sometimes store inventory in the wrong locations which does not happen with the automated system. He further explained that when older product is stored in back of newer pallet stacks, the age placement is remedied during the night with computer programming. The most recent products are exchanged with the newer pallets being put in their proper locations.
Weinstein was further quoted as saying their products “taste great and require no refrigeration, lasting a very long time” until the packages are opened. The aseptic packaging provides ease of opening and reclosing in addition to an ease of storage.
California Natural Products also offers their own electrical, mechanical, drafting and process engineering services which allows for rapid production scale-up benefits for their customer accounts.
Weinstein added that CNP has attracted Fortune 500 company workers to the Lathrop operation bringing with them their experience that their competitors in the industry often do not enjoy.
“We want our potential customers to know that we have a passion to achieve benchmark performance. We are committed to being the best in the industry and we will achieve our customers’ desired results,” Weinstein stated on the firm’s website.
California Natural Products was founded in 1980 by Mitchell who has been long known as an innovator at the leading edge of the developmental trends in foods and food ingredients. The patented natural processes for Rice Syrup, Rice Syrup Solids and Rice Milk in the ’80 were all credited to Pat Mitchell. CNP also pioneered the packaging of natural and organic Aseptic beverages in the mid ‘90s. The McKinley Avenue facility was built from the ground up through Mitchell’s vision.
The company’s values are obvious in its employees throughout the many departments who emulate respect, honesty, integrity and commitment in the daily operations – a requirement in their employment.
Builders of the warehouse – Power Automation Systems of Lathrop – is said to be a leader in the manufacture and integration of cart-based, deep lane automated warehouse systems. It is a global company with the world’s most innovative automated warehouse storage solution billed as optimizing the highest density of storage with the greatest flexibility.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SJRTD calling on local artists to help color in blank wall/The Record


STOCKTON - Local artists have a chance to see their talents writ large on walls downtown or in another part of the city.
The winner of a contest sponsored by the San Joaquin Regional Transit District will get to create a mural on what now is empty wall space at the Downtown Transit Center. There have been no submissions yet, but officials are hoping artists might be waiting until the last minute to get their proposal in before a Friday deadline.
There are spots for two 21-foot by 3-foot murals along the wall facing rows of bus bays, but the district will soon have a smaller transfer station along Hammer Lane where it also wants murals, district spokesman Paul Rapp said.

Mural contest

The San Joaquin Regional Transit District is looking for submissions from artists wishing to create murals on district buildings. The theme: "Public transit connects people and communities past, present and future."
Designs may either be emailed to or mailed to: San Joaquin RTD, PO Box 201010, Stockton, CA 95201.
For more detailed information, go to or call (209) 467-6628.
"We've got a lot of blank canvases," he said. There will be only one contest winner, but that doesn't mean other submissions won't be able to find a spot in either the north Stockton station or share the wall space downtown, he said. "The more the merrier."
The theme for the mural is expected to show how public transit connects people and communities.
And having community-made art in the well-used transit station would be a reflection of the connection between the agency and the community, Rapp said. Reaching out to the community to supply public art is a new thing for the district, too, he said.
But the artwork won't be the first mural facing the bus bays. Recently, artists painted a block-long collection of murals across Channel Street. One of them shows an RTD bus with a smiling, friendly face.
And just down Channel at Hunter, a group recently completed a different mural. It's the latest effort in the "Dear Stockton" project for teens. So far, it's been best known for a photography project of people with short, uplifting notes written on themselves that begin with "Dear Stockton."
Community art such as this can tie artists to the community, organizer Benjamin Saffold said. They take ownership of their city "when they have ownership of an image or a message," said Saffold, who is also a board member of the Downtown Stockton Alliance and the Stockton Arts Commission.
And it can give the rest of the community that views the art that same positive feeling, he said.
The first-place winner of the transit district mural contest will get an Apple iPad as a prize, and the work will be seen on RTD's website and other press materials. The top three finalists will ride the bus free for a month.
Winners will be selected by a three-person committee with representatives from the Stockton Art League, the Tidewater Art Gallery and San Joaquin Delta College's Horton Gallery.
Contact reporter Zachary K. Johnson at (209) 546-8258 or Visit his blog at

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Industrial BBQ honors new & Expanding companies!


CONTACT:          Timm Quinn                                                        

                              Events Coordinator                                                          

                                (209) 547-2960

What: 48th Annual Industrial & Technology Barbecue

When: Wed September 12, 2012.  5:00PM

Where: University Plaza Waterfront Hotel. 110 W. Fremont St. Stockton 95202

$35 per ticket, per paid reservations only

Industrial & Technology Barbecue Honorees and Date Announced


The Chamber’s 48th Annual Industrial & Technology BBQ will be held outside at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel, 110 W. Fremont St, Stockton 95202.  Make sure to mark your calendar now, this is one of the Chamber’s most popular events of the year. On September 12, over 300 business people will gather on the outdoor grass area of the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel to honor new and expanding manufacturers and industries in San Joaquin County.  We are excited to announce PG&E will also be presenting a “Green Award” at the event.

Each year, the Stockton Chamber, with co-sponsors San Joaquin Partnership, PG&E and San Joaquin County Economic Development Association, toasts the major companies that have newly located or expanded their operations within San Joaquin County. 

This special evening of fun, camaraderie and networking begins with a no-host social at 5:00 PM, followed by dinner at 6:30 PM. The program honoring the award recipients will begin shortly thereafter.  Get you tickets early because we can only seat 350 and it will most certainly be a sellout.  Tickets are $35 pre-paid by September 5th.

Companies to be honored this year are:

New Companies: Allen Distribution, ARDEX Americas, Rehrig Pacific Logistics, Shuff Steel

Expanded Companies: Delicato Family Vineyards, Tarps & Tie Downs, The Herrick Corporation Stockton Steel

PG&E Green Award: Delicato Family Vineyards

To qualify as an honoree the honoree company facility must be located in an industrial zoned area, must be in operation by July 1, and must meet or exceed two (2) of the following three (3) requirements:

1)      20 new jobs to San Joaquin County,

2)      20,000 square feet of new or expanded facility (under roof)

3)      $1 million capital investment.

A big thank you to our highly valued sponsors, Platinum Sponsors: Bank of the West, Dorfman Pacific Co., Inc., Moss Adams, LLP, Pacific Records Management/Pacific Shredding, Premier Staffing, Gold Sponsors: Builders Exchange of Stockton, Roland Construction, United Way of San Joaquin, Yara North America, Inc., Silver Sponsors: Collins Electrical Company, Inc., Greater Stockton Employer Advisory Council, Proline Media, San Joaquin Delta Community College, Stockton East Water District...... in contributing to this special evening.  For more information and reservations call the Stockton Chamber of Commerce 209-547-2770.


Timm Quinn

Leadership Stockton/Special Events Coordinator

Stockton Chamber of Commerce