'It's happening:' 42 new apartments slated for Main Street in Stockton

·2 min read
(6/21/22)The Ruhl Building on Main Street in downtown. Stockton has been sold. CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD
(6/21/22)The Ruhl Building on Main Street in downtown. Stockton has been sold. CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD

Developers of the Ruhl Building and the former Avon Theatre on Main Street, Stockton plan to complete 42 new market-rate apartments in the buildings by next year, a volume that could be a "game changer" for downtown development, according to Mahala Burns, a realtor for Cort Cos.

"It brings density to one area. That’s going to give people the courage to say well look, it's happening,” Burns said. "That's the game changer we've been waiting for."

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The Downtown Stockton Alliance and other downtown advocates laid out a block-by-block strategy for transforming the area several years ago, she said. The COVID-19 pandemic stalled that strategy.

But the 42 new apartments planned for the 500 block of Main Street — and the life their residents would bring to downtown — could provide the proof developers need to invest in the block-by-block approach, according to Burns.

That's certainly the case for the new owner and developer of the Ruhl Building, the San Jose-based company T.E. Real Estate.

(6/21/22)The Cal Main Building has lofts available in downtown. Stockton has been sold. CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD
(6/21/22)The Cal Main Building has lofts available in downtown. Stockton has been sold. CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD

The company bought the building about a month ago for about $1.5 million and plans to finish 12 new units on the building's upper floors by 2023, according to Trung Lam, a partner in T.E. Real Estate.

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"We can see a lot of empty buildings, hopefully we want to build one first (...) that will be a model," he said.

The company has its eye on buying another historic building next door to the Ruhl, Lam said. "But it all depends on the success of the Ruhl Building."

One reason for developers' renewed interest in building apartments downtown is the high demand for housing and the high cost of rent, Burns said.

Developers are more likely to pay for expensive renovations if they know the units will be immediately filled, she said.

Developers also generally prefer building market-rate units because "your return on investment is a little bit better," according to Michael Huber, CEO of the Downtown Stockton Alliance.

Huber estimated the mix of subsidized versus market-rate housing downtown at about 65% subsidized to 35% market-rate. But that balance is shifting toward more market-rate apartments, he said.

At the former Avon Theatre — now the CalMain Loft Apartments — monthly rent will be from about $1,500 for a one-bedroom to about $1,700 for a two-bedroom, Burns said.

The owner plans to complete 30 new units within the next two to three months, she said.

CalMain is owned by Citrus Heights-based Bearpaw Shoe Co., which also owns the Mansion House and Tretheway buildings, Burns said.

Record reporter Aaron Leathley covers business, housing, and land use. She can be reached at aleathley@recordnet.com or on Twitter @LeathleyAaron. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow

This article originally appeared on The Record: 42 units slated for Main Street in downtown Stockton block