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2017 may be happening year for Ceres and economy
The renovation of downtown Ceres will be among the exciting things for Ceres in 2017. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

No one can predict the future but it looks like 2017 will be a strong economic year for Ceres.

The Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center is cleared for construction after a lengthy delay by a special-interest group. The Whitmore Plaza Shopping Center is in the midst of rehabilitation. And an effort is underway to kick start a new retail Dhillion center for Mitchell Road.

City Manager Toby Wells reported that the city staff had a "good meeting" with the Walmart architect/engineer.
"They indicated that they are moving full speed ahead, but are not ready to release a formal schedule for construction and/or opening yet," said Wells.

City of Ceres Community Development Director Tom Westbrook suggested that permits could be issued within six months and estimated that construction could take nine to 12 months. That could mean an opening of the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center could take place in the "early part of 2018."

First proposed in 2007 by a different group, the shopping center would consist a 185,668-square-foot Supercenter and 10 other retail shops totaling 114,162 square feet. Specifically, the project includes three other major tenants, four smaller shops, a stand-alone retail building and two to three new eating establishments. No tenants besides Walmart have been named but Applebee's has expressed interest.

On May 2, the Ceres Planning Commission approved the Dhillion center on the east side of Mitchell Road just south of Colleen Way. Seven buildings, in a U-shaped configuration, consist of a total of 102,500 square feet for commercial space. Since the application was approved, however, there has been little discussion between the property owner and city regarding development. There is a sign up on the property site in an obvious marketing attempt.

Construction began recently to revamp the remainder of the Whitmore Plaza Shopping Center, located at the southwest corner of Whitmore Avenue and Mitchell Road, to update its looks and potentially lead to vacant buildings being leased. Work is wrapping up on the northeastern building while the former Rite Aid building is also underdoing a facelift.
Renovation of the center started with a new facade for the Bank of America building.

Save Mart plans to relocate from its existing store location and shift to the vacant space to the east that once was occupied by Rite Aid. Plans are also to enclose the former Rite Aid garden area next to the Bank of America and be included in the new Save Mart store. The move will expand the size of Save Mart which is gearing up for the possibility of competition when the Walmart Supercenter is built.