The recent upswing in commercial development in Turlock is set to continue in the coming months with several newly-constructed properties, while additional businesses are preparing to move into vacancies in existing properties in some of the town’s most-frequented shopping centers.
Empty storefronts in shopping centers like Monte Vista Crossings and the Turlock Town Center have contributed to the city’s increased vacancy rate, which has gone from one to two percent in January to now five percent in March, according to Assistant to the City Manager for Housing and Economic Development Maryn Pitt.
“That number is still, when we’re talking about the whole commercial leasing world, pretty small,” Pitt said.
In Monte Vista Crossings, recent businesses to leave the shopping center include Me-N-Ed’s Pizzeria and Fantastic Sam’s, producing a couple of vacancies, and just around the corner, property managers for the center are looking for a tenant to replace the large retail space that hosts Spirit Halloween Store annually. Additionally, Planet Beach recently closed its location further east on Monte Vista Avenue.
Pitt said she isn’t sure why the pizza place and salon left Monte Vista Crossings, but a quick check of both business’ Yelp! pages show unfavorable reviews from visitors. According to Pitt, ShopCore Properties, who purchased the shopping center from original developer Hall Equities Group in 2015, prefers housing national tenants in their retail space, enforcing strict credit requirements and other qualifications to which some stores may have difficulty adhering.
“They’re strict not in a mean way, but it’s not a place for a mom and pop store to go and think they’ll be able to meet the requirements,” Pitt said.
The Turlock Town Center is currently undergoing major changes with a revitalization that will see a Smart & Final Extra! take the place of the current Rite Aid in the coming months. Goodwill, Rainbow Fabrics and Klassy Kuts have moved to the south end of the center, and their previously occupied spaces will be the site of a brand new, smaller Rite Aid.
A vacancy at the north end of the Turlock Town Center will soon see a new tenant, as Valley Meal Prep announced last month they would be moving into 529 N. Golden State Blvd. The new supplier of ready-to-go healthy meals will be the franchise’s fourth location, with other storefronts in Modesto, Stockton and Lodi.
At Monte Vista Crossings, signage on the door of the former Me-N-Ed’s restaurant says the building will soon become home to a MedPost Urgent Care — a healthcare clinic with locations throughout the U.S. that offers same-day treatment for illnesses, injuries or other medical issues with extended hours.
The vacancy rate in Monte Vista Crossings currently sits just over 10 percent, with nine available storefronts of the center’s 86 locations. There are also still five empty parcels of land within the center that can still be developed into commercial lots.
Right next to Monte Vista Crossings, the Journal reported in January 2018 that the land on the southeastern corner of Tuolumne Road and Countryside Drive, known as the Turlock Corners Retail Plaza, would be developed into a Farmer Boys burger establishment and a Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.
While construction on Farmer Boys began this month and is expected to be completed by summer, real estate agent Brian Heron, who is representing the property, said that Popeye’s will no longer be built at the site. While he declined to comment on who would potential move into the small corner center, which also includes two retail pads, he said the alternate option will not include more food.
In addition to development on Farmer Boys, Pitt added that construction could begin as soon as this summer on the land across the street from Stanislaus State on Crowell Road. The Planning Commission will soon consider a request to rezone the property from residential to community commercial, which would allow for anything from food to retail.
“Think some of the businesses you see along Geer Road — those sorts of things,” Pitt said. “It would be student-serving…with the university right there, they don’t have a lot of food options right now on campus.”
The property adjacent to the proposed rezoning is high-density residential, meaning the area could also soon see multifamily housing or an apartment complex constructed — something considered vital by many, as Turlock’s rental vacancy rate is less than two percent.