UPDATE: 'Project X' meeting postponed
by Jonathan Partridge | Patterson Irrigator
Jan 12, 2012 | 11748 views | 21 21 comments | 60 60 recommendations | email to a friend | print
10-18-11--Patterson's West Ridge Business Park sits poised on the edge of Keystone West Business Park and Sperry Avenue.--photo by Elias Funez/Patterson Irrigator
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5:15 p.m. Update: The Irrigator received word that Wednesday's special City Council meeting devoted to "Project X" has been canceled, as the developer and landowner work out final legal details. City officials hope to reconvene the council regarding the matter early next week.

The City Council will gather for a special meeting Wednesday, Jan. 11, to discuss a business that is considering operating a 1 million-square-foot local distribution center that would employ 1,500 full-time workers and 2,500 or more people seasonally.

The unnamed employer, designated as “Project X,” is considering opening the “warehousing/order fulfillment/distribution facility” in the 120-acre West Ridge Business Park west of Baldwin Road and north of Sperry Avenue, according to a city staff report.

City officials indicate the company, which would employ more people than west Patterson's CVS, Kohl's and Grainger distribution centers combined, hopes to have a center up and running by Sept. 30.

“It’s going to be incredibly fast,” City Manager Rod Butler said Tuesday. “They’re talking about a 24-hour-a-day construction schedule.”

While buzz about the potential employer has ranged from speculation by the Modesto Bee that it could be online retailer Amazon, to local rumors about Target and JC Penney, city officials and project representatives have been mum about the company’s identity.

Typically, major companies that have located in Patterson have kept quiet about their intentions until a formal announcement is reached, as they often look at multiple sites and negotiate with developers in various cities. A city staff report released this week indicated the name would not be revealed in the council’s open session Wednesday. However, Butler pondered Tuesday whether to reveal the company’s identity to council members if they signed a confidentiality agreement Wednesday.

Councilman Larry Buehner would not need to sign such an agreement and will not attend the council meeting, as he and his brother Ken Buehner are partners in Westside Property Management, a landholder in the deal. Buehner could not be reached for comment on the matter Tuesday.

Project officials expect that escrow will close Friday, Jan. 13, and Butler said he hopes the city will be able to name the company by sometime next week.

Atlanta-based industrial development and real estate firm Seefried Properties plans to build the warehouse, and a well-known insurance and financial services company would own it, Butler said. The city manager would not announce who that company was Tuesday, saying he wanted to talk with Seefried representatives first.

Seefried officials could not be reached for comment late Tuesday. The company’s website notes that its past projects include facilities for PepsiCo, Home Depot, Siemens, PetSmart and Verizon Wireless.

This past summer, the industrial developer contacted the city about using two parcels in the business park. Household products manufacturer SC Johnson initially wanted to run a 400,000-square-foot warehouse in the business park, but it has since looked elsewhere, Butler said. However, he said it was his understanding that Seefried still plans to build another project on the unused parcel.

While the unnamed future project owner initially sought up to $1 million in incentives from the City of Patterson, it has since dropped that request and is not seeking any incentives, Butler said.

Seefried anticipates paying for $1.68 million in improvements to Park Center Drive as part of the project, according to the city staff report. In addition, the future owner of the project will pay about $1.2 million in associated permit and impact fees.

The Irrigator will provide an update after Wednesday's meeting, which will take place at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1 Plaza.

• Contact Jonathan Partridge at 892-6187 or jonathan@pattersonirrigator.com.

Comments
(21)
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TexanInTracy
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January 16, 2012
I'm in my late 50s. 10 years ago I was injured in a skiing accident that resulted in the company I was working for terminating me. They were totally within their legal and moral rights. I had no "luck" finding a new job, so I started my own small service company in the Bay Area. My company is now a international company with 400 technicians. I do not have a college degree, what I do have is personal drive to be successful, helpful and honest. I am living breathing proof that if anyone works smart enough that person will be successful. Please don't think your owed anything out of life, if you do you may never have anything worth having!
SwedishMeatballs
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January 16, 2012
Why did they delete my comment about Ikae?
SwedishMeatballs
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January 16, 2012
Oh. Now nevermind, it is back up there. Must have gotten approved? I guess somebody is monitoring this and trying to figure out if they should delete it or not?

Well, what took so long? What gives? And whatever happened to freedom of speech? Let it all out.... don't try to hide it... The people deserve to know what is going on in our communities! Right?
SwedishMeatballs
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January 16, 2012
Leak:

Project X is Ikae a Swedish company. They wanted to go to Livermore, CA several years ago, but got turned down by the Livermore anti-growthers who did not want traffic through their community.

Now they are trying Paterson because it is near the freeways and the locals will not complain (especially given that a fruit company is shutting down at the same time).

The business plan: People will drive a rental truck to Paterson and will load it up with furniture and then leave to their respective homes in northern and southern California.

The business will thrive there because people are spending money to fix up their old homes rather than buy new homes.

They are one of the only growing companies in this down economy. People generally don't want to purchase furniture at a rental place, dollar $tore, or a super mart that sells cheap cardboard made in Taiwan.

Swedish meatballs are also good quality at a low low price. It is a win win situation for everyone.
Patterson2010
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January 16, 2012
It is spelled Ikea, not Ikae. The company could build a distribution center, but they wouldn't be able to sell furniture to the public. That would be then considered retail and would require a zoning change.
freewilley
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January 16, 2012
Patterson2010,

Do you have any clue what you are talking about? Of course some of it will be partial retail, the discussion they are having is regarding over 120 acres. Why else do you think they cancelled the council meeting?

The ongoing discussion is regarding the agreement with the land owner and the company that manages the land aquisition. The original plan for all of the 120 acres was given a scope for over 30 different businesses and some retail.

By the way, the company that is handling the negotiations also handles negotiations for PetSmart. Oooh PetSmart, you might ask? Yes, and PetSmart IS A RETAILER too. So that means the company that handles this land acquisition also works with other (get this) retailers.

Even the biggest distribution centers don't need that much space (120 acres). Unheard of. This will undoubtedly be a marriage of both retail and distribution of the utmost gigantic proportions. And most certainly will include retail.

After all, it would be stupid to purchase that much land and exculde retail in that location. This is a land grab for a major retailer that will include thousands of trucks and cars and turn Patterson into "Smog Valley".

Besides, Amazon is not stupid. Another data center in California does not make sense when they would end up paying a California server tax on each server they install in California. Amazon can create jobs in other ways without servers in California.

They only want this land because of the freeways. There is no FedEx/PostOffice nearby. The Amazon theorists aren't putting much thought into that foolish idea. Patterson has no infrastructure for airport transportation, public safety, colleges, technology, and business center.

Patterson had none of these things. On the other hand, Patterson did have a suicidal father who drove his son into an Irrigation canal. I can't remember did the Patterson Irrigator have any news on that news story?

Unfortunately, convenient access to the freeway usually means there will be unusually high concentrations of crime. Unfortunately but reality is the area is not ripe for a business climate. Retail distribution center? Yes, of course. There is always room for that in those old alfa alfa fields.

Patterson2010
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January 17, 2012
Freewilley,

You seem to have some inside information. I have no idea what has been going on behind the scenes or what is being planned. I also don't have a real estate background so I don't know what is the proper acreage for a distribution center. All I was stating was the zoning was incompatible for retail uses. The property is zoned light industrial and under the City's general plan, retail is not an allowable use. I am only basing this on the zoning descriptions contained in the updated general plan. I don't have the time for extensive research. Really it doesn't matter anyway as the City Council can amend the general plan to allow retail regardless. Wouldn't be the first time that has happened.

Anyway, I agree with alot of your comments.
buy_american
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January 13, 2012
Its not just about “improving yourself so your are attracting the attention of employer”. My resume is full of classes ALL related to the industry ALONG with my schooling and still don’t get the consideration of an interview. I’m sure with who you are, your companies’ application form says; were you referred by an employee? Do you have any relatives working for our company? MOST of them do, and that’s the whole point. But then again, even Charles Manson and Ted Bundy had relatives. So as you said, “Nothing in life should be handed to you because you are a part of a special group”. That should also include the “friends and relatives” of the employer!!
PattersonFan
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January 13, 2012
buy_american...I truly believe that if you had a terd in one hand, and $1 Million in the other, you would complain about the terd. You're negativity might be why you sit at home unemployed, yet self-proclaimed "overqualified".
Patterson2010
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January 13, 2012
To be fair, years ago when the Keystone Developers and then city leaders were selling the business park to residents, they were stating that the developers were going to bring in manufacturing amd R&D jobs. They also said they would be creating jobs for local residents and getting commuters out of their cars. If local residents aren't getting jobs, then this development is not living up to the statements made by the promoters.
buy_american
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January 13, 2012
Well PattersonFan you obviously you didn’t read the very first post, your mouth went off first. Wanted to put this post earlier but since I am tired from WORKING 60 hours this week and don’t get paid OT because I am salary. Obviously you didn’t read the very first post. Yes, I probably am “over qualified” that’s just another reason for not getting an interview. Heaven forbid, I may have more experience then they have and probably do. You can think it, as you say “negativity” but if the truth hurts, then so be it. Facts are facts, and this is some of the crap these companies pull on us and get away with. Amen, Brother!
TexanInTracy
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January 11, 2012
REALLY FOLKS! You people who are complaining, do you really think these big employers care where you live? Do you really think you are owed a job because you live in Patterson, REALLY!

Wake up! Just because you graduated from high school doesn't mean you can't stop preparing yourself for a career. Go back to school and take some classes and show these prospective employers that you want to grow that you want to improve yourself and that you have ambition! THEN you might be able to get the job you really want instead of sweating in a warehouse 8 hours a day.
Patterson2010
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January 11, 2012
I don't know who these employers are hiring and I am going to take a guess. But I doubt these large distribution centers require much of a educated work force. How much formal education does it take to stock shelves and move containers around? I imagine that there are some management positions but I would venture most of the workers need little formal education.
PattersonFan
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January 11, 2012
Amen, Brother! I can't see how anyone can oppose this project, no matter who it turns out to be. As bad as our local economy is, the national and California economy isn't much better. This would be a huge step in getting back to normal, regardless of your employment there or not. Be happy that any company is looking to add to the infrastructure here in Patterson at all...and not a neighboring town. God only knows that all of you that are complaining about this project coming to Patterson, would also complain if they chose to go to Newman, instead. Stop focusing in the negatives and be about the positives in life and your community!
buy_american
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January 11, 2012
Really! REALLY! OMG, you got to be kidding. Who do you think you are telling people to go back to school? You have no idea of people’s education levels in Patterson. That’s right we should have priority over people from outside the area, because we live here! Most cities allow companies to build only if they hire a percentage of the local residents. But of course these companies get around that by hiring unskilled and on-the-line labor. And MOST of them are not from around here either and they STILL hire all their friends first. Would be great to get a job in my own back yard where my 20 years of management, procurement and inventory control would be utilized. But instead like many I don’t even get a call and have worked for two of the largest companies in the world. However I am not going to drive 86 miles one-way just to get there.

Oh yeah and BTW, you don’t have to have a degree to be intelligent. No amount of schooling is going to do anything for you if you can’t comprehend it in the first place. What do all these people have in common? Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Henry Ford, Steven Spielberg, Mark Zuckerburg and Steve Jobs, just to name a FEW. Oh, that’s right, they don’t have degrees!!! LOL

The only good I see in this, is the fact that our property values will rise. And because I do own land, when it does we are gone.

TexanInTracy
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January 11, 2012
It's about improving yourself so you are attract the attention of the employer. Nothing in life should be handed to you because you are a part of a special group. What you sew so shall ye reap.
OpenYourEyesPatterson
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January 11, 2012
I'm hearing that this may be Walmart attempting to bring in a major distribution center. Makes sense when you think about the delays we've seen in the groundbreaking for the Super Walmart. Also makes sense when you think about the recent news regarding a major Chinese investor getting involved with West Park, coupled with the fact that the Buehners own property north of town with a rail spur. Patterson Vegetable also has a rail spur but are on the verge of shutting down. Could these all be connected?

Can someone remind me why Annette and her crew have fought so hard to block West Park because of the rail and truck traffic? If all this goes through, that rail and truck traffic is going to be going through our city rather than south of town.
TIGERS12
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January 11, 2012
Rumor I have heard is that it is Amazon???? Everyone should go to the council meeting and make them make an amendment to hire so many PROVEN local employees. Oh well guess I am dreaming of a fair council.........
Patterson2010
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January 11, 2012
The City of Merced approved a Walmart Distrubtion Center a couple of years ago. I doubt Walmart would need a distribution center in Patterson also.

The region needs jobs so this project will help and is worthwhile in this bad economic climate. Hopefully though, future leaders will aim higher than distribution centers. Distribution centers eat up alot of land and the amount of jobs created per acre is not good. Nothing is being manufactured or created. Just creating a large storage yard for other areas. There was one City up north (think it was Woodland) that put a stop to distribution centers realizing they needed to work on getting something more substantial. The irony was there was one County official who was involved in the creation of the Keystone Business Park that mocked Tracy for relying too much on distribution centers along Hwy 580. Seems like Patterson could end up doing the same thing.
Samuel2121
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January 11, 2012
I also agree with the other comment left for this subject. I live here in Patterson and I have been looking for a job here locally in town or surroundings but I cant get hired because i dont have any relatives that are already working for that company, and it seems that thats the only way to get in if you know somebody instead of"if Im qualified for the job" this is the story for a lot of us here in town, we are the ones here in town paying our taxes to this city and we cant even get hired here and as a result we're losing our homes, instead its other people from outside. So tell us how this benefits us!!!!

buy_american
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January 11, 2012
What does it matter? They hire very few people from Patterson anyway. Most of these companies make promises that they will hire local. Not happening. I have to drive 40 miles to the (large)company I work for because the companies we have here only want to hire all their friends and relatives. Not to mention they usually bring in people from farther distances for the higher paying positions. They say Patterson just doesn't have the experience or education level for some of these jobs. That's a lot of nonsense and isn't true. So here we go again, all these promises and no action, just like Kohls, CVS and then Grainger.


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