Gallo plans office building with open work environment

kcarlson@modbee.comFebruary 25, 2014 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textKen Carlson
    Title: Staff writer
    Coverage areas: County government, health and medicine, air quality, the environment and public pension systems
    Bio: Ken Carlson has worked 13 years for The Bee, covering local government agencies in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. His in-depth reporting has focused on access to health care and public employee pensions.
    Recent stories written by Ken
    E-mail: kcarlson@modbee.com

E.&J. Gallo Winery’s plans to create a state-of-the-art workplace for office employees cleared a hurdle Tuesday.

Stanislaus County supervisors agreed to rezone 4.6 acres from residential to industrial for constructing the parking lots for a 116,000-square-foot office building at Gallo’s campus on Yosemite Boulevard in Modesto. The parking will replace homes and scattered vacant lots on the west side of Santa Rita Avenue, south of Yosemite in the northwestern section of the airport neighborhood.

Almost all of the properties have been purchased or are being acquired by Gallo, a county report said. The company is negotiating with the owner of a final parcel.

John Segale, who handles public relations for Gallo, said the company plans to start construction on the two-story building later this year. The structure is designed to provide an open, modern work environment for Gallo employees. The facility will have amenities similar to some business campuses in the Silicon Valley, he said.

When it’s completed, Gallo employees who work at different locations in Modesto will be brought under one roof, Segale said.

“We are still in the planning stages and anticipate starting construction later this year,” Segale wrote in an email. “We will share more information as it becomes available in the coming months.”

The spokesman said he had no details on any additional hiring related to the expansion. Supervisor Vito Chiesa said the rezone was “good for jobs.”

Anita Hellam, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Stanislaus, said six clients living nearby are distressed about traffic and neighbors being displaced by the Gallo expansion. Hellam said the company has been a generous partner in efforts to build Habitat homes for deserving families and said she wasn’t trying to make waves.

“Our families are starting to feel isolated,” Hellam told supervisors. “We will be looking for ways to create solutions for families in that area.”

She said she may approach the county about helping any families that may wish to relocate. She told The Bee that some residents had heard rumors they might have to sell their homes or have concerns about living next to the industrial zone. “We have assured the families that they have title to their homes. Gallo has not approached any of our families (about selling their homes),” Hellam said.

Habitat is working with Modesto on the 21-home River Vista affordable housing subdivision near John Thurman Field. Hellam said some families living near the Gallo winery expansion could be candidates for River Vista homes.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or (209) 578-2321.

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