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Ceres Gateway Center off the drawing board
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Plans for the Ceres Gateway Center - a 16.5-acre commercial center on Mitchell Road at Highway 99 - is off the drawing board.

The final map for the development was approved Dec. 8 by the Ceres City Council. Also approved was an agreement that puts all the street lighting, traffic signals and some street paving in place at a cost of $2.6 million.

The Ceres Redevelopment Agency will reimburse the developer for the costs of undergrounding utility lines now on poles at Service and Mitchell. It will also help with new traffic signals.

The plan includes realigning Rhode Road to the north with a new signalized intersection that feeds into the future shopping district.

In May the Ceres Planning Commission approved development of the Ceres Gateway Center, including a two-building, three-story, 162-room Hampton Inn hotel south of Service Road west of Mitchell Road. The center include six buildings totalling 25,955 square feet for a proposed restaurant, second hotel and retail space and gas mart.

Specifics of the development are:

• A two-building, three-story Hampton Inn consisting of 77 rooms in one building and 85 in the other. The main building will face Service Road while the other will run parallel to Mitchell Road;

• Two restaurant pads - one at 5,500 square feet and the other at 5,000 square feet - that could suit sit-down operations;

• A 12-pump gas station/car wash;

• A 3,915 square foot McDonald's along Mitchell Road;

• A 2,800-square-foot drive-thru restaurant pad;

• 10,500 square feet of high turnover restaurant space;

• 5,500 square feet of retail space.

"It's big for the city of Ceres," said Planning Director Ken Craig.

He anticipates seeing some of the smaller uses going in before the motels.

Planners noted that affecting the southern end of the Gateway are plans to build a new interchange for Mitchell/99. The interchange project will probably demand leaving an existing storm drain basin; but if it doesn't, the land can be utilized for a 5,500 square foot retail building.

Transportation consultant Fehr & Peers studied the Ceres Gateway Center Project and determined that significant traffic impacts will result. The development is expected to increase traffic on the local and regional roadway system by approximately 5,512 daily trips.

To mitigate impacts, the developers will be expected to contribute to the costs of building the Mitchell/Service/99 interchange.

To the north of Ceres Gateway Center is a proposed Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center which contains plans for the controversial Wal-Mart Supercenter project.