By Seth Schmidt
A public-private partnership will be needed to facilitate the redevelopment of the former Red Rooster Restaurant property on Hwy. 14.
That’s the message that Tara Onken, Tracy EDA coordinator, had for Tracy City Council members Monday.
Onken said that a “private developer” is exploring options for redeveloping the Red Rooster property, which has been vacant since the restaurant closed in December of 2015.
The former Red Rooster site is desirable for redevelopment, Onken said, because of its size, proximity to other Tracy businesses, and good visibility and high traffic counts from Hwy. 14. However, the Red Rooster redevelopment would likely be expensive compared with a bare “shovel ready” site. The Red Rooster building, she said, is in poor condition due to significant water damage, and likely will need to be razed. Potential environmental clean-up costs on the property, Onken added, due to the existence of underground fuel tanks, create additional risks and expenses for private developers.
To help make the Red Rooster redevelopment feasible, Onken said the City of Tracy should consider offering development incentives such as tax increment financing and tax abatement, or offer assistance with site development.
In the long term, Onken said, a public-private partnership would be a win-win situation by creating development that might not otherwise happen. The new project would increase the economic vitality and tax base of the community and create jobs, she said. Public incentives would increase the project’s economic feasibility for the developer.
“Collectively, we all would love to see this site redeveloped because right now it sits as a vacant eyesore,” Onken said. “Redevelopment would provide many benefits such as create jobs, build tax base, and provide services or products that the community needs.”
But to date, companies that she and others have been in contact with “have expressed concerns as to the time and expense of preparing the site, knowing this would dilute capital and efforts that could be devoted to better sites with better timelines ready for an expansion by their company,” Onken said.