BY MARIJKE ROWLAND
MARCH 20, 2019 05:40 PM,
A plot of newly vacant land in Turlock next to Stanislaus State is in development to become a new shopping center with restaurants, retail and the region’s first Dutch Bros Coffee kiosk.
Plans for the project, called the Warrior Crossing, were filed last month with the City of Turlock Planning Division. The new retail plaza on the northwest corner of Monte Vista Avenue and Crowell Road has been proposed on the former site of a home and adjacent agricultural field. The house, which sat at 1201 W. Monte Vista Ave., has since been torn down in preparation for work on the 1.4-acre plot.
But before construction can begin, the project needs approval from the Turlock Planning Commission and then City Council. The area in question is currently zoned for high-density residential only, and would need to be rezoned in the general plan to allow for commercial enterprises, according to Turlock Associate Planner Adrienne Werner.
The project will go before the Planning Commission May 2, and if recommended for passage will then go to the City Council around late June for final approval.
The submitted plans for Warrior Crossing, named after the Stan State mascot, include two new retail buildings. The smaller building, an 832-square-foot kiosk, would house the new Dutch Bros Coffee, which would have a drive-thru and limited seating for walk-up customers. The second, larger structure in the plan would be a 6,776-square-foot building which would have a mix of retail and restaurant tenants. The accompanying parking lot would have space for 73 vehicles.
The site, right across Crowell Road from the Stan State campus, would no doubt draw a lot of traffic from students, staff and other visitors to the university. Kitty-corner across from the site sits The Vista student apartments and a retail center with a Rite Aid and Pizza Factory, among other stores.
The property owner is listed as Turlock Retail, LP, based out of Belmont in the Bay Area. Calls to Turlock Retail were not returned by publication time. According to the submitted plans, construction would start in late June and be completed in February 2020.
Dutch Bros Coffee confirmed that the coffee kiosk is in the very early works. This would be the first in Stanislaus County. The chain, which was started as a pushcart in 1992 by two Oregon brothers of Dutch descent, has grown to some 330 locations in seven states with more than 10,000 employees. All of its shops are drive-thru kiosks, like the planned Turlock site.
Dutch Bros Coffee representative Hillary Brown said the company is growing aggressively right now, and has plans to expand to 800 shops by 2023. The closest current locations are in Stockton and Fresno.
According to the submitted plans, the Dutch Bros kiosk would be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and hire about 30 employees.
The coffee chain has been eying the area for the past few years. In 2016 plans were afoot for two Dutch Bros kiosks in Modesto, but those locations were scrapped for undisclosed reasons. At the time the company spokeswoman said “That doesn’t mean we’re not coming to Modesto. We’re still looking.”
And it appears now they’ve found their spot in Turlock.
Now, I haven’t tried Dutch Bros Coffee before, but they’ve got a very loyal following (who call themselves the “Dutch Mafia,” so there’s that). Now all the area needs is a Peet’s Coffee to complete its popular West Coast chain coffee shops trifecta.
ELSEWHERE ON THE BUSINESS BEAT:
Polish those resumes, the Modesto/Stanislaus branch of the NAACP is holding its second annual job fair.
The event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 18 at the King-Kennedy Memorial Center, 601 Martin Luther King Dr, in Modesto. The West Modesto Community Collaborative is co-sponsoring the free public event. No registration is required just show up with your resume and most hire-me-now handshake.
A construction crew works on the roof of one of the buildings making up the Californian Apartments under construction in the 5400 block of North Salinas Avenue in northwest Fresno. Photo by David Castellon.
Back in 2010, as the Valley and the rest of the nation were in the midst of the Great Recession, Mike Miller looked at how badly the crisis had hurt new home construction and worried whether business would survive.
“I’m looking into the future, going, ‘I’m not sure if we’re going to be around in Central California more than another year,’” recalled Miller, vice president of the Central Valley Division of Lennar Homes of California, Inc., which builds new homes from Merced to Bakersfield.
What he didn’t know at the time was the recession was winding down.
By 2011, the economy had picked up enough that Lennar Homes became the top single-family home builder in the Valley. based on permits drawn that year and the estimated combined values of those projects, based on data collected by ConstructionMonitor.com.
And the improvements continued for both the Valley’s economy and Lennar, which for each year after 2011 continued being the Valley’s top single-family homebuilder, drawing 695 construction permits in 2018 valued at more than $188.13 million.
“2018, it was a very good year for us,” though it didn’t match up to new home construction activity during the housing booms before the recession, in the early to mid 2000s, Miller said.
Still, he said of last year, “this was one of the better years since the recession.”
And 2018 wasn’t just a good year for building single-family homes in the Valley.
New construction activity also was strong for multi-family homes and commercial properties, said B. J. Perch, vice president of B. J. Perch Construction, Inc., the Visalia-based builder that bears his father’s name.
“I would say we’ve been on an upward trend, so we’ve been progressively increasing our volume and growing, so it was a good year,” said Perch, whose company ranked first last year in combined permit values for multi-family homes, more than $14.15 million, and second for commercial permits, valued at $20.82 million.
Harris Construction, based in Fresno, was the top commercial builder in the Valley last year, with permits valued at more than $34.73 million. Officials for Harris didn’t respond to an interview request.
“We’re mainly a commercial contractor, so we build health care facilities, corporate offices, industrial [buildings], retail and multi-family,” along with senior living facilities, Perch said.
“We had a significant increase in multi-family. I just think the demand out there [has grown].” Perch noted that his company alone is working on or planning to start work this year on apartment complexes with 700 combined units in Visalia, Tulare and Fresno.
“The demand is there. In
Fresno, there is a lot of multi-family going on, and I think there has been for awhile,” a shift from just a couple of years ago when new single-family home construction dominated the market, he added.
“2018 was one of the busier years we have had for multi-family homes,” he said, adding that he knows of cities in the Valley looking to amend zoning rules to allow more high-density housing and are working with developers to attract such projects.
One fallacy about the local housing market appears to be that the housing demand here is being significantly elevated by an exodus of people from the Bay Area coming here for the cheaper housing.
While it’s true housing in the Valley is cheaper, Miller said the influx here of Bay Area people is small, because it’s too difficult to commute there from here, and it’s still rare to encounter telecommuters looking to buy homes here.
“We have seen that willingness to travel or drive further in our Merced area, but our Central Valley is still mostly operating on people who live here and are continuing to live here, so we aren’t seeing that huge influx from outsiders.”
As good as 2018 was for new construction, it did have its challenges, with both Perch and Miller noting the growing difficulty in hiring skilled construction workers.
“And what happened is when the market crashed, a lot of people left the [construction] industry, and when the market came back, they never came back,” instead going to manufacturing jobs and other fields, Miller said. “Where construction seemed to be a place to go, it seemed to be a place to flee away from.”
In fact, Miler said that the agricultural industry also is facing worker shortages and in response has raised wages to the point that for the first time Valley ag jobs are drawing people away from construction jobs.
That leads to the other big challenge: higher wages for construction workers combined with increasing costs driving up prices for new homes.
In fact, that’s why California becoming the first state to require solar panels in all new homes sold starting Jan. 1 of next year is a major concern among developers.
Miller said he’s unclear how many solar panels will be required on homes as well as whether homebuyers would have to buy the solar panels with their new homes or if buying a house and leasing the panels — or some similar system — will be permitted.
At least here in the Valley, Lennar includes solar with each of its new homes, but if buyers don’t want to buy the systems, the developer has an alternative allowing the systems to be owned by the solar company, with the homeowners buying the power they generate at a discounted rate.
Losing such options could hurt new home development, Miller said, “especially [for] first-time and first-move-up homebuyers, because there is going to be another $15,000-$20,000 worth of cost immediately added to the cost of the home,” and some of them may not be able to afford it or be able to get loans covering the added costs.
“The whole industry is trying to understand the effect it’s going to have on all of us.”
It’s no secret the number of super commuters – those poor people who trek more than 90 minutes each way to work – is steadily on the rise in California.
Modesto, Stockton and the San Bernardino metro areas were already super commuting hubs 12 years ago. A recent report by Apartment List shows it’s still on the rise – and the commuters often make more money than their neighbors.
The report shows wide variations in pay for those who telecommute or travel long distances for work compared with people who are employed nearby. The implication is that high-earning workers could drive up the cost of living in less-expensive areas, spreading affordability issues
Super commuters exist across the country but the prevalence is heavier in California. They can earn as much as 20 percent more than their neighbors in Stockton and 18 percent more in Modesto.
With 11 percent of its full-time workforce traveling nearly three hours for work, the Stockton area is the super commuting capital of the United States. Modesto was ranked a close second with 8 percent of its workforce doing the same.
The phenomenon is one of two parallel trends driven by the housing market in the Bay Area, said Chris Salviati, an economist for Apartment List in San Francisco. He said as rents and home prices grow further out of reach, more people look elsewhere to live but continue working in the Bay Area since there are so many high-paying jobs.
“You’ve got a lot of people that are doing quite well by conventional standards, earning six-figure salaries, but in this area that’s just not enough for them to be able to live close to the downtown areas,” Salviati said.
On the other end of the spectrum are construction workers who also travel long distances for work. But in Northern California, Salviati said the Bay Area housing crisis is more to blame. In San Francisco proper, rent growth is flattening a bit but there’s much faster growth in the outer areas, Salviati said.
“Given that these folks are coming at a higher point on the income range, they are going to be putting more pressure on the upper end of the housing supply,” Salviati said.
Bridgewater, N.J., U.S., March 8, 2019 – Today, Messer LLC (Messer) announced that it will begin construction on a new Carbon Dioxide (CO2) plant in Keyes, California. The plant will provide 450 tons-per-day of CO2, an essential product for carbonated beverages, food freezing & chilling, and electronics manufacturing. The product is also used by a wide range of industrial companies in northern California and surrounding areas. The new plant is slated for completion in Q4 2019.
“This investment represents our commitment to strategic U.S. expansion to meet growing market demand,” said Jens Luehring, President and CEO, Messer Americas. “We’re dedicated to providing a reliable supply of industrial gases to our customers and look forward to breaking ground on this plant to further meet that need.”
Messer currently operates two CO2 plants and two air separation units (ASUs) in California. Once completed, the new plant will support Messer’s strategy to enhance CO2 network reliability for customers.
On March 1, 2019, Messer Group and CVC Capital Partners Fund VII (CVC) acquired most of the North American gases business of Linde plc, as well as certain Linde business activities in South America. With over 70 production facilities and approximately 5,400 employees operating in the US, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile, Messer today is one of the leading industrial gas companies in North and South America. Together with Messer Group, the company represents a USD $3 billion global enterprise with presence in the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit. www.messer-us.com
A California computer scientist is set to compete for millennial dollars right here in Visalia.
Computer scientist Aamir Farooqui plans to open a 1,800 square-foot, fully-automated convenience store, similar to Amazon Go.
Based in Sacramento, Farooqui says his new concept store is the first of its kind in the Central Valley. He hopes to duplicate it elsewhere, he said.
An automated convenience store relies on computers and robotics. Amazon calls it “just walk out” shopping.
The new Visalia store will be built at 707 S. Bridge St., in the middle of the city.
Currently, it’s a vacant lot sandwiched between a second-hand store and homes. Farooqui bought the vacant parcel last year.
The developer is seeking a conditional-use permit from the city for the new store.
“In our model, we will be using new type of vending machines equipped with WiFi and cameras,” Farooqui said. “People can buy merchandise using cash (after converting to gift cards), credit or debit cards or through a mobile app. At the store opening, we plan to give away 100 free gift cards to our first customers.”
These kinds of stores have taken off in Europe where they go by the names of SmartMart and RoboMart. Farooqui says he has yet to choose a name for the Visalia location.
He hopes to open as soon as possible.
Not having on-site employees will allow the business to save money although it may take shoppers a little time to get used to a new routine using technology.
“Our goal is simply to reduce the cost of running a store for small businesses and at the same time offer 24-hour convenient service to the local community.”
Amazon’s model is simple.
“You simply walk in, grab what you need, and go. Amazon bills your credit card as you pass through the turnstile on your way out,” he said. “Moments later, an app on your phone provides a receipt detailing what you’ve bought, what you paid, and even how long you spent inside.”
Grocery stores are automating the shopping experience led by Walmart and Sam’s Club. The Visalia Walmart is installing more automated check-out devices and Sam’s Club wants to allow shoppers to scan products by holding their smartphones over a product, without having to find and capture a barcode on the package.
Microsoft is said to be developing technology that can track what shoppers add to their carts.
Meanwhile, Target is changing item pickup service at the stores with Pickup Towers, making the in-store process automated.
It is often said results speak for themselves. But, what if they don’t? What if the most important accomplishment is mastering new ways to think and work together—culture change?
The San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance is built on the work of the Regional Jobs Initiative (RJI). The RJI was designed as a 5-year sprint in 2003 to create 30,000 jobs in the Central Valley, create new civic infrastructure, strengthen the workforce and build a dozen industry clusters. The theory—if we create jobs and a strong workforce—there will be resources for the city of Fresno to invest in amenities, parks and infrastructure instead of spending the bulk of its money on law enforcement. Everyone would benefit: job seekers, employers and the community. Much was accomplished. Many lessons were learned.
Businessman Mike Betts, informed by the work of the RJI, made a commitment to lead the Alliance from a civic perspective. Rather than create an industry cluster, he and many partners from government, education and nonprofits are standing together as citizens first to align resources and to get results. Rather than think from their self-interest, they are committed to doing what is best for the whole community. Single interests fragment and negotiate. Citizens align and leverage. You know which approach delivers better results!
New programs have started, dual enrollment is increasing, millions of dollars in equipment and programs have been added to career and technical education, instructors have become certified. The results are students are becoming credentialed and qualified for jobs, and students are finding career pathways they never knew existed.
Employers are discovering that if they want a strong workforce they must become a strong partner in curriculum design. They must offer externships so instructors are up to date on workforce culture and skill needs. They must offer internships to students at various levels as first jobs of generations past are no longer available. Most of all, they must be mentors and role models. Too many of our youth and young adults did not receive the kind of mentoring those in healthy families receive by osmosis. We must be intentional.
We are not alone in this work. The California Community Colleges initiated the Strong Workforce Program and the impacts have rippled throughout the state. New funding, new policies and more alignments are the fruit of these efforts. California Forward and the California Stewardship Network are working together, not just to accelerate outcomes from this program, but to address critical community issues that prevent too many of our residents from being job ready and thriving.
2019 is a big year for us. The eighth California Economic Summit is coming to Fresno in the fall. We encourage you to check out the Summit website and read the 2019 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity. Every region is on board, Governor Newsom has been involved since the beginning and the commitment to advance economic, social and environmental issues together is shared by all. Civic stewardship—leaders working together on behalf of the whole—is the path to achieving Golden State reality.
A Tulare butcher is making a splash in the world of smoked and cured meats — again.
This time, it’s a bigger splash.
Danny Mendes, owner of Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., recently took home several awards at the annual California Association of Meat Processors’ Cured Meat Competition held at California State University, Chico.
This is the fourth year Mendes has entered his prized meats in the competition and the second time the business has taken home the best in show award.
Mendes has made a name for himself and is quickly gaining state and national recognition.
“They didn’t know what Tulare was,” he said. “They know now.”
At the state competition, Mendes entered 28 products in 18 different categories. He took home 10 grand champion wins. In total, he took home 18 awards.
“Getting best in show two out of the four years is pretty awesome,” he said. “It was impressive — a feel-good moment.”
Mendes received grand champion awards for his bone-in ham, Italian bacon, jalapeno cheese stick, stadium franks black label, old fashion hot dogs, fresh Italian sausage, smoked bratwurst, cheddar bratwurst, jalapeno cheddar sausage, braunschweiger, garlic summer sausage, duck bacon and Linguica-style cottage bacon.
He also received a merit award for his sugar cured bone-in ham and turkey bacon.
But the big takeaway was the coveted Joe Cutler Memorial Best of Show for his Italian bacon. His sausage was judged against the grand champions of each meat category — many his own creations.
Mendes first started to work for Tulare Meat Locker, which originally opened in 1976, when he was only 13. After a call from the former owner in 2003, Mendes decided he wanted to take over the business.
Over the last 15 years, Mendes has worked on his technique and offers custom butchery to Tulare County residents and beyond.
His sandwiches are top hits at the annual Ag Expo and Tulare County Fair.
“That’s what makes this place unique, it’s all done in house,” he said.
The shop offers custom butchering of livestock and fresh meat that isn’t sliced until ordered. Sausages, snack sticks, hams, tri-tip and linguica are also available. He hopes to one day expand his storefront and offer all in-house made sandwiches.
The annual contest is open to all California Association of Meat Processor members and is judged by a panel of meat specialists.
Mendes is expected to compete at the national level this summer in Alabama.
Last year, he took home several wins at the American Association of Meat Processors’ American Cured Meat Championships, held in Kansas City.
Mendes won awards for five different meat products, one of which earned grand champion: his hot link sausage.
Tulare Meat Locker is located at 1531 E. Bardsley Ave.
A new bar called Quail State plans to open on a second-floor rooftop space at the historic Pacific Southwest building on Fulton Street in downtown Fresno.
The owners of the bar signed a lease for the space last week. They hope to open in October, with several months of construction work yet to start.
The bar will have indoor and outdoor spaces. To start, it will focus on its drinks made with seasonal fruit and vegetables; a dinner menu will be added later, said Josh Islas, one of the partners behind Quail State.
The historic Pacific Southwest building is the 1920s building with red awnings and columns at the corner of Fulton and Mariposa streets. It’s the same building where bakery La Boulangerie plans to open a second location, essentially a walk-up window with tables on the sidewalk.
Quail State – a reference to California’s state bird – will take over a space on the east side of the building. Just above the columns is an outdoor rooftop space that faces the Radisson Hotel Conference Center on Van Ness Avenue.
There is still much work to be done, said Islas, who owns the business with his fiancée and chief financial officer, Hayley Wolf.
“It’s currently three separate spaces,” he said. “We have to redo all of it.
When it’s up and running, the bar will use locally sourced ingredients with seasonal fruit and vegetables but also reflect the “influence of the cultures” in the area, Islas said.
“Not just the produce, but every different culture has their own unique spices and their unique profile,” he said.
The bar would make its own simple syrups, bitters and vermouth, and barrel-age its own cocktail ingredients.
Quail State first announced its intention to open a spot on Fulton in The Fresno Bee in January 2018. It didn’t have a space at the time and spent months searching for and finalizing a location.
Ever since Fulton Street transformed from a pedestrian mall to a street open to cars in 2017, Quail State has been teasing its Instagram followers with sophisticated images of its drinks.
Islas was born and raised in Dinuba and lived in Fresno for a year before moving to Southern California. He has spent 10 years working in bars and restaurants, including in management and marketing.
It turns out there really is in great future in plastics. At least there is now in Modesto.
The plastic injection molding company JATCO Incorporated is relocating from the Bay Area to the Central Valley and will bring some 150 jobs with it to the new headquarters.
Founded in 1976, the company has been in Union City since 1985. But recently it has looked toward the Valley to relocate, including spots in Stockton and Turlock. Company president Steven Jones said Modesto won out because of the help of the city’s economic development team and the county’s Opportunity Stanislaus program.
“We picked Modesto primarily because of the cooperation that we’ve had from the city and from the county,” Jones said. “It was nice to be welcomed with open arms from the city and county, who offered to provide all of the necessary support to ensure that our operation would be successful.”
The Crisis Residential Treatment Center is a beautiful facility that cost about $5 million to build, with most of the money coming from state funding.
As the need for mental health services in our community continue to increase at an alarming rate — the facility offers a home-like setting for adults experiencing serious psychotic episodes or intense emotional distress
“Hospitals are inundated with a lot of individuals that need mental health services so this is an added service. So instead of going to the hospital they can come here and we can stabilize them,” says Gerardo Cervanntes, an administrator at the facility.
The 12,000 square foot facility has 16 beds and will provide psychiatric support and case management service around the clock.
Fresno County Behavioral Health Director Dawan Utecht says one in five people suffer from some form of mental health issue
The goal here is to get residents used to daily household activities while learning coping skills necessary to successfully transition back into society.
“By having this it increases the chance of success that someone who’s been in a mental health crisis can get the resource they need so they dont get into another mental health crisis,” says Utecht.
Only clients with the greatest need and referred by the County Department of Behavioral Health will have access to this facility.
“A facility like this creates a stepping stone that’s closer to the ones before and after so when a person is making that pathway toward recovery, it’s not a Grand Canyon they have to leap to get that recovery. It’s really a clear pathway and this is a really important stepping stone for us,” says Utecht.
Administrators here expect to serve hundreds of people a year.
And tell me they hope to expand their reach over the next few years by offering live in housing for clients.