January 20, 2008

Naraghi family poses new plan for lake area, including fitness center

The Naraghi Development Group is revising its building plans for Naraghi Lake, a highly visible stretch of land at Oakdale Road and Sylvan Avenue in Modesto.

Residents could see construction around the lake sometime next year if the plans move quickly, Wendell Naraghi said.

A map the group submitted to the city has a fitness center on it.

Naraghi and his family members are asking the city for a zoning change that would allow them to develop commercial and retail buildings on 18 acres north of the lake close to Sylvan.

That land is designated for mixed-use development, which calls for offices and commercial space. The proposed change would strike the offices from the site plans.

"We're anxious to get the new year off right and finish this project," Naraghi said.

The Naraghis have built in northeast Modesto in increments since 1980, when they dug the 13-acre lake.

The land around the lake remains undeveloped and fenced off. Residents who live nearby occasionally complain about its condition to the Modesto City Council, calling the lake an "eyesore."

Modesto Assistant Planner David Wage said the Naraghi proposal is in an early stage. It would require traffic reviews and hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council.

"At this time, it's very preliminary," Naraghi said.

The Naraghis appeared close to developing land at Oakdale and Sylvan with a Raley's in 2002, but the grocery store chose a site at Floyd and Roselle avenues.

Naraghi said his family does not have tenants lined up, but a map submitted to the city shows plans for a large fitness center with a pool in one area.

"We want to make a first-class project out of it," Naraghi said. "We've got a great location and we think it's going to be a very well sought after area."

Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@modbee.com or 578-2366.

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