Biz Beat

A hidden gem in east Modesto, and a new bakery set for the north

A living room of a home in The Trails subdivision at Parker and DeWitt Roads is pictured on Tuesday morning (06-21-16) in Modesto, Calif.
A living room of a home in The Trails subdivision at Parker and DeWitt Roads is pictured on Tuesday morning (06-21-16) in Modesto, Calif.

Walking through the kitchen with its granite-topped counters and walk-in pantry to the great room with polished concrete floors to the vast picture windows leading to the crystal-blue pool, I had two thoughts: One, I really like this job. And, two, I had no idea this was here.

That second thought is the reason I was invited out to see The Trails, a luxury gated community on Modesto’s east end. It’s nestled along Dry Creek on Parker Road, which is what Briggsmore Road becomes east of Claus Road.

Ted Mills, one of two listing agents who showed me around the development, said the comment he hears most often is that people don’t realize what’s behind the gates. It is a bit hard to find, on Parker past the railroad tracks and behind a driveway.

But once you do find it, gosh, is it pretty. Lush, mature landscaping with weeping willows and flowering bushes everywhere. There are hiking trails and common areas for picnicking and parties, said Randy High, the other agent I met. Both are with PMZ real estate.

The owner of the development, Modesto attorney John J. Machado, bought the 22-acre former horse ranch several decades ago. He decided to subdivide it and began the process in 2006 – or just before the Great Recession crashed real estate prices. The good news, High said, is that Machado was in it for the long haul and had the patience to wait for the market to turn around. The better news in general is that the turnaround is finally taking hold in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

“I always said we were about two years behind the Bay Area,” High said. This time, it took about four or five years.

Two houses have been built on spec in the community. The price reflects the luxury; both are offered at more than $1 million. But there are also several vacant lots available; houses can be designed to the purchaser’s desires, Mills said. Homeowners’ association dues add on more to the costs, but High pointed out that the benefits include a private easement to Dry Creek available to anyone in the community, be they creekside or not.

And, Mills said, though there is a country feel to the place – hawks and foxes call it home, as well – it’s only seven minutes from downtown Modesto and it sits within the city limits. The best of both worlds, he said.

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I heard from a reader asking about Nothing Bundt Cakes on Standiford Avenue. So I looked it up online – boy, was that a mistake right before lunch.

Nothing Bundt Cakes is a franchise that started with two home cooks in Las Vegas in 1997. Now it operates nationwide, with the closest location to us in Stockton.

Jim Toal, who with his wife, Sharon, operates several Wing Stop restaurants in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, became a customer when visiting his daughter in the East Bay, where there’s also a Nothing Bundt Cakes location. Last year, the Toals drove to Stockton to pick up a cake and, he said, thought, “We should have one of these in Modesto.”

He said what draws customers is the product, available in 10 flavors and a variety of themes. From the pictures on the website, they look pretty darn tasty.

Toal said he hopes to open the bakery in August. He will keep me posted, and I will pass along the word.