Winters is an orange cone zone

New construction is happening from one end of Winters to the other, as several projects start taking shape, including two new hotels, a Starbucks, the PG&E Gas Pipeline Safety Training Facility and two new traffic stoplights.
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The corner of Grant Avenue and Matsumoto Lane are seen during the construction of a Starbucks store in July 2017. Winters Express/File photo

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There seems to be a sea of orange construction cones from one end of town to the other these days, with multiple projects taking shape simultaneously.

The new PG&E training facility on Grant Avenue at Matsumoto Lane leads the construction pack, with completion expected by the end of summer. The buildings are approaching their final stages, and landscaping and fencing has been installed. This week’s project was a new traffic stoplight that will allow drivers exiting the parking lot to cross Grant Avenue more safely.

Construction of the facility’s weld lab began this summer, and should be completed by the end of August, as will the rest of the facility.

According to PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo, the project is running on schedule despite setbacks over the winter with heavy rainfall. Merlo says the project has remained within PG&E’s overall planned budget of $85 million.

Once the facility is complete, the first classes are expected to begin in September, drawing as many as 300 new students each week from all over the country. According to Dan Maguire, economic development and housing manager for the City of Winters, a grand opening ceremony is tentatively planned for the last week in September.

Right across the street, construction of Winters’ first Starbucks is underway at the northwest corner of Matsumoto Lane and Grant Avenue, and is on a fast track to be completed by the end of October. This project is linked to the reconstruction of the Chevron station right next to it.

According to Dan Maguire, economic development and housing manager for the City of Winters, the fuel islands will remain intact while the new Chevron building is constructed. The new building will be bigger and will carry a larger inventory, and will also feature a drive-through car wash. The developer for the new Chevron is Mike Ali. The developer for the Starbucks is Mark Engstrom.

Also planned for this area is a new Fairfield Inn & Suites, which Maguire says will be a duplicate of the Fairfield Inn in Woodland, and will be under the same ownership and management.

“We have toured that facility and it is nice,” says Maguire.

David Dowswell, community development director for the City of Winters, adds that the Fairfield Inn is expected to break ground in October, with an estimated construction time of 11 to 12 months. It will be located just behind where the Chevron station is now, and will have 72 rooms. The developer is Rohit Ranchhod Hospitality Management, Inc.

Will it be completed before Hotel Winters, planned on the block of Abbey Street between Railroad Avenue and First Street? It may be a neck and neck race to the finish line. Maguire says Hotel Winters is expected to be completed by September 2018, and explains that although it got a head start on the Fairfield Inn and Suites, officially breaking ground in May, the downtown hotel is a more complicated project with commercial space on the ground floor, including a restaurant and bar that will be managed by Buckhorn owner John Pickerel. Maguire adds that the Fairfield Inn & Suites project also has the benefit of prior similar construction in Woodland.

“They’ve already built this one,” says Maguire.

When completed, the downtown hotel will have 73 rooms. Maguire says the groundwork for the infrastructure is happening now, and the next major step will be for the developer, AKM Railroad LLC, to submit a building plan. That submission is expected this week, and once approved by an outside plan-checking agency, actual construction of the building should begin four to six weeks afterwards.

Part of the current construction of Hotel Winters has included the temporary closure of Abbey Street between Railroad and First to accommodate heavy equipment.

Down at the west end of Grant Avenue, construction is continuing on a traffic stoplight at Main and Grant. This project is also expected to be completed in October, however, the light may actually be activated in September.

Other remaining projects in the works include a new office for Winters Healthcare on Grant Avenue east of the Yolo Federal Credit union, and the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartment project right behind it.

Maguire says Winters Healthcare is working on securing the final piece of funding needed to proceed with starting construction. They have completed the land purchase from the city, funded by a grant from Yolo County.

The developer of the senior apartment complex, Domus, is in the process of securing the last funding piece, with construction expected to start in December, says Maguire.

Also happening along Grant Avenue is new construction at Winters High School, immediately south of the old parking lot. According to Superintendent Todd Cutler, when completed, this will be a Career Tech education building, with four classrooms.

This project, in its first phase, also includes a new fire truck lane and utility upgrades.  Cutler says the new fire lane, which starts at the student parking east of the gym, parallels the back of the gym and pool to enter the center of the campus. The utility upgrades includes a new PG&E electrical service and a utility corridor (an underground pathway for electrical, sewer and water) to connect with the new Career Tech Education Building and future buildings proposed in the Winters High School Conceptual Master Plan.

“The cost of this portion of the project is roughly $500,000,” says Cutler.

On May 5, the school district awarded the project to Broward Builders, Inc. for $6,079,725. Cutler expects the project to be complete in the fall of 2018. It is being funded through the Measure R Bond. A groundbreaking ceremony is tentatively planned for this project on Sept. 6.

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14 comments
    1. Dear Citizens,

      It is my understanding as many as 500 houses are planned behind the middle and elementary schools as well. Main street and Niemann are to connect forming a continuous sort of circle traffic flow. As I see it, all the feeder roads are 2 lanes, 1 in each direction; Railroad, Grant – 128 – Main St.. One big traffic jam, like in the mornings and afternoons on some the farm roads in Modesto. 20,30, 40 cars deep. Thanks city officials for making us just like the rest of the sell out towns in Northern California. I remember when the Bay Area had breathing room, been there lately? 505 will be like 680 between Cordelia and Benicia, fun fun fun. I can see the cars backed up on the highway from the light at 128 just like Highway 99 in the valley.

      Just once in my life I would like to see the required infrastructure (roads, off ramps) in place before the problems occur. Oh wait, Must be zero impact on traffic per the traffic study.

    1. Dear Citizens,

      It is my understanding as many as 500 houses are planned behind the middle and elementary schools as well. Main street and Niemann are to connect forming a continuous sort of circle traffic flow. As I see it, all the feeder roads are 2 lanes, 1 in each direction; Railroad, Grant – 128 – Main St.. One big traffic jam, like in the mornings and afternoons on some the farm roads in Modesto. 20,30, 40 cars deep. Thanks city officials for making us just like the rest of the sell out towns in Northern California. I remember when the Bay Area had breathing room, been there lately? 505 will be like 680 between Cordelia and Benicia, fun fun fun. I can see the cars backed up on the highway from the light at 128 just like Highway 99 in the valley.

      Just once in my life I would like to see the required infrastructure (roads, off ramps) in place before the problems occur. Oh wait, Must be zero impact on traffic per the traffic study.

  1. The new PG&E facility is an eyesore and a poor first impression for new arrivals to Winters. With the other new construction planned for that area Winters is becoming another ugly roadside truck stop. The charm the town had just a few years ago is now mostly lost.

    1. I could not agree with you more as far as the entrance to town from the 505. Ugly, horrible retail choices made as well. Starbucks coffee is disgusting so Steady Eddy’s will keep my business.

  2. The new PG&E facility is an eyesore and a poor first impression for new arrivals to Winters. With the other new construction planned for that area Winters is becoming another ugly roadside truck stop. The charm the town had just a few years ago is now mostly lost.

    1. I could not agree with you more as far as the entrance to town from the 505. Ugly, horrible retail choices made as well. Starbucks coffee is disgusting so Steady Eddy’s will keep my business.

  3. The last I heard, there was no parking required for the downtown hotel. Has that changed? You never know what you had until it is gone.

  4. The last I heard, there was no parking required for the downtown hotel. Has that changed? You never know what you had until it is gone.

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