In the coming years the go to place for leisurely dining and specialty shopping in the nearly 900,000 consumer strong Tracy, Manteca, Stockton, and Modesto region may be Lathrop.
It is because River Islands at Lathrop is combining its unique location, solidly middle-class demographics of households plunking down $567,990 to $1,250,900 to buy new homes, and a meticulous planned community to create a village center weaved seamlessly into casual recreation to create a destination dining and shopping venue.
There are three village centers planned within the 15,001-home planned community on top of — but out of sight of — the heaviest traveled Northern San Joaquin Valley junction — Interstate 205, Interstate 5, and the 120 Bypass.
One of those three village centers will surround a man-made lake with promenade-style access to more than 14 miles of an uninterrupted greenbelt that will encircle the island including unparalleled views of the San Joaquin River and Old River at its front door. The village center is adjacent to a completed and lighted 500-seat Islanders baseball field, a soccer complex and a football stadium designed for high school games and community events that will be breaking ground soon.
A second area is being designed as a transit village along the Valley Link tracks with connecting rail service to the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. Commuter service is targeted to start in 2029.
The third village will be next door to a 900-home Del Webb at River Islands community as well as the 1,800-student River Island High on the southern side of the island.
All three village areas are on the perimeter of the 4,800-acre planned community. They are being designed with walkability in mind.
But more important for retailers and dining concerns is the intention to have a built-in population intertwined with the villages with each location having more than 1,600 apartment units.
That provides a 24/7 village where concerns can build their business literally with foot traffic just down the street, the overall buying power of ultimate 15,001 households in the community, and the ability to draw regional diners and shoppers.
River Islands at President Susan Dell’Osso noted Cambay Group has hired a full-time expert to pursue potential retail and dining enterprises. But perhaps more important they are already being contacted by regional celebratory restaurants seeking to expand. They are drawn by the success of the Boat House restaurant and the concentrated demographics of River Islands where the bulk of new homes are selling in the mid-$800,000s to mid-$900,000 range.
Due to the popular demand of dining at the Boat House and accessing the adjoining recreational amenities, River Islands is in the process of putting in place a pedestrian bridge to span the man-made lake the restaurant sits on.
It will access an area in the future employment center where overflow parking will be put in place.
“The pressure of trying to locate a supermarket has been take off with Sprouts breaking ground,” Dell’Osso said of the trendy market that is opening just north of the planned community on River islands Parkway in the target shopping center along Interstate 5.
There are plans to eventually site a market in the southern village with offerings similar to a Sprouts.
The planned community is purposely eschewing seeking the big players in retail and dining.
There are already plenty of options among genres ranging from big to small box retailers as well as chains with smaller footprints in nearby Tracy and Manteca. At the same time Lathrop is seeing growing success in landing such concerns.
The community design as well as the location is not really conducive to such large scale commercial endeavors that draw from a larger region.
And perhaps most important, River Islands is pursuing commercial areas that blend into its overall theme of creating walkable neighborhoods with a strong sense of community.