Manteca hopes to lure Costco

MANTECA -- City officials are offering an incentive for Costco Wholesale Corp. to open a Manteca store.

Under a deal approved 5-0 by the City Council on Monday night, the retailer would be reimbursed up to 45 percent of sales tax otherwise due to the city until the amount of unpaid taxes reaches $3.7 million.

City redevelopment consultant John Nowak said the deal is similar to agreements the retailer has received in other communities where it operates.

The company wouldn't confirm an interest in Manteca this week.

"Our corporate policy is not to comment on specific markets because of the competitive nature of the business," said Therese Wontorek, an executive assistant in Costco's real estate department.

But Nowak presented documents to the City Council stating the retailer is proposing a location at the new Stadium Center next to Big League Dreams sports park at West Daniels Street and South Airport Way.

As part of the deal, the company would have to pay construction workers prevailing wages. The tax break wouldn't apply to local public safety and transportation sales taxes known as Measure M and Measure K.

Still, the subsidy sat poorly with some council meeting regulars. Georgianna Reichelt criticized the move as a giveaway to companies who will compete with longtime grocers who don't have such benefits and have proved good corporate citizens.

City Manager Bob Adams defended the arrangement by noting the city won't lose money since the money comes from transactions that wouldn't take place if the store didn't open.