The site of the former Reeds Garage in downtown Riverbank has slowly begun to transform into a more modern structure.
The steel framework of a new building has risen at the corner of Third and Topeka streets, just across from the fire hall and Police Services offices. The current work, called Del Rio Office Project, is part of the much larger project to rehabilitate the former theatre building nearby.
Turlock owner Tony Zaia, CEO of Zaia & Zaia LLC in Turlock, purchased the property, which occupies virtually half of the block between Atchison and Topeka streets, bordered by Third.
Back in November, 2018, Zaia appeared before the Riverbank City Council to ask for a waiver of developer’s fees as the projects moved forward. He had requested a waiver of the fees or a deferral for five years on payments.
During discussion, he told the council that construction costs had doubled since he had purchased the property, and said he was planning to build offices on the site of the former garage, hoping to get them occupied before he continued work on the theater and storefronts next door.
So far this year, delays caused by increased rain and 100-plus temperature work days have slowed down progress on the project.
An underground gas storage tank left behind by the garage was removed, then a foundation was prepared. A steel framework now stands on the site as work progresses.
Previously, Zaia told the council he hoped to complete this first phase of the projects by the end of the first quarter of 2019. He said they were planning on beginning work on the remodel of the Del Rio immediately following the completion of the office project.
The theatre stands idle still, with most windows boarded up and interior walls stripped in preparation for remodeling work. Chain link construction fences surround the properties.
Area developers, including those planning to build in the Crossroads West projects, often request waivers or deferrals of the System Development Fees enforced on new construction.
Since there is currently no administrative process to consider these requests at staff level, the request is brought to the city council for consideration.
A similar request was considered recently for planned construction of a new business office building near St. Frances of Rome Church.
At the June 11 council meeting, City Manager Sean Scully presented a report on the process and asked for direction on changes to the current ordinances governing the situation. They could include creating a standardized application form through which the council could treat all requests equally.