As construction continues at the already busy Crossroads Shopping Center, there are areas in Riverbank that are undeveloped and in other portions of the community, there are businesses being constructed along with some proposed new developments.
On the corner of Claribel Road and Oakdale Road in the Crossroads Shopping Center next to the Starbucks, progress is being made on a new commercial ‘pad’ that restaurants and retail stores may eventually call home.
Construction workers took the weekend off but were expected to continue working four 10-hour day weeks as progress continues at the southwest corner of the Crossroads Shopping Center.
Construction Supervisor Ray Johnson, who lives in Fresno, said the only prospective tenant that has signed a lease will be opening an AT&T store. Johnson added that two of the store sites have had grease traps installed, indicating the probability that food establishments would open, but also, he said, tenants didn’t have to use them, so the four to five suites could all house retail stores.
Johnson said his crew is from Redding, so the four 10-hour days gave them a little more time at home, allowing for three-day weekends. After the framing is complete, in a couple of weeks, he said the exteriors would go on, with some of it stucco and rock. Johnson said the roof lines would be similar to the other wings of the shopping center. The interiors will be completed as new tenants come on board and each suite is leased, customized to their specific needs.
Elsewhere, the Galaxy Theatre on Patterson Road that has recently been renovated to a luxury status will be adding a three-story IMAX theatre complex. There is proposed new development for the Contadina Plant and plans for a new Crossroads West as well.
“I think that the signs are really positive for Riverbank,” said City Manager Jill Anderson. “We have more opportunity than most cities do with the potential annexations to the West for the private development that is being proposed there and the potential annexation to the East to be able to potentially add industrial land that is in need and be able to make the most out of the opportunity proposed by the North County Corridor. So that is very positive and will provide enhancements.”
The new construction on Claribel and Oakdale at Crossroads is expected to include a few restaurants like Panda Express and a couple more retail stores.
To the West of Crossroads on the other side of Oakdale Road is the proposed opportunity for a Crossroads West with new stores and restaurants.
“The development will be similar to the current Crossroads,” stated Mayor Richard O’Brien. “There are plans for retail and restaurants that will not be in competition with the other stores but will potentially bring in new dollars.”
The proposed development of Crossroads West is on private property and is not currently controlled by the city.
“Crossroads West, we are finishing up the specific plan for that,” added O’Brien. “We have plans to go before LAFCo (Local Agency Formation Commission) to incorporate this into our sphere of influence and to annex it as the development goes along.”
The downtown specific plan has been approved by the Riverbank City Council which allowed the communications to begin with developers on the former cannery that is in the center of the community for a development plan.
“One of the things that from my perspective is very difficult about the development process is that it takes a lot of time to get from the discussion point, which is where we are now, to actually putting together the development plans, proposals, and approvals for private sector development as well as public sector development and then actually having it be built,” stated Anderson. “The former cannery is private property which is not controlled by the city and needs private investment to begin new development.”
“Hopefully we can get this converted over to a mixed use and if that development starts soon that would be great,” expressed O’Brien regarding the former cannery. “That is very exciting that we have a developer that wants to come in and start doing some tear down and some build up.”
There is also a second fire station that is in the process of being discussed to be able to support all the new potential development in Crossroads West, which would also include new homes and two elementary schools.
“The City of Riverbank is going through the very preliminary stages; the only thing that I know of that has happened so far is that they got an agreement for a developer to pay for the city expenses in order to look at this new project (Crossroads West),” stated Fire Chief Randall Bradley. “These are all initial proposals.”
With the projections for the area, however, Bradley said the fire department will likely be needed.
“So there will be about 2,500 homes and 250,000 square feet of commercial space and so that prompts us to need another fire station,” he explained.
There has been no decision on the exact location of the new fire station, however, Bradley explained that they would probably want it to be somewhere off of Coffee Road.
“So it will give us the ability to cover some of the car dealerships that are in our district on McHenry plus to be able to cover the first Crossroads and then the new Crossroads and then to service everybody who is on the Westside of our district,” added Bradley. “We believe we will pay for it all with developer fees. I am guessing this is two to three years out before we actually start to build a new fire station out there.”
Anderson explained that any new development with annexation can take a very long time due to the complexity of the project and the planning. There also have to be investors that are willing to take the risk associated with the development. Riverbank City Council members have given the city staff the general direction on how to proceed with the proposed annexation to the East, however there is still a lengthy process to adhere to.
“We have a great city council and I am very excited about the new developments,” added Anderson. “There is phenomenal stuff happening. This is a really great time for our city.”
News Correspondent Ric McGinnis contributed to this story.