On Tuesday, February 12, the Richmond City Council will review proposals from four master developer teams for Point Molate (See article from San Francisco Business Times below). The four teams are m Orton Development, Inc., Point Molate Partners, Samuelson Schafer, and SunCal.
The presentations are certain to be met with resistance from a small but vocal group of individuals who continue to make false, misleading and unsupported arguments against any development at all, but particularly housing.
Some of the misinformation being spread by the Alliance for Point Molate and others, as we speak, on NextDoor, Facebook and other media, includes:
- “Infrastructure will cost $500 million and will have to be paid or by Richmond taxpayers.” False. No Richmond taxpayer money or the general fund will be used for infrastructure, and it won’t cost $500,000.
- “Housing should be built downtown instead at point Molate.” Lots of housing is both planned and under construction in downtown Richmond. This is not an either/or choice.
- “Housing is not considered economic development.” False. Housing creates lots of jobs, pays million of dollars in property taxes, and residents spend money in the local economy, also creating jobs and producing sales taxes.
- “Point Molate should become a park.” Fact: 70 percent of Point Molate will become a park.
- “Public land should not be sold to developers.”
The City Council, is expected to make a choice in the near future.
Developers pitch up to 2,000 homes, hotel, food hall, brewery and more at historic Richmond waterfront site
A rendering of part of Orton Development's proposal for Point Molate
By Dean Boerner – Editorial intern, San Francisco Business Times
Feb 8, 2019, 1:44pm PST Updated Feb 9, 2019, 12:19am EST
Richmond may come a step closer to developing an important waterfront site Tuesday night when four developers present their proposals for the historic area to city council.
Orton Development, Point Molate Partners (PMP), SunCal, and Samuelson Schafer will present a wide range of proposals on Feb. 12, the most expansive of which features 2,000 or more units of housing and at least 100,000 square feet of commercial
The opportunity to develop the 413-acre site came out of a long-running lawsuit. The city reached a settlement in April with a Northern California Native American tribe and a developer that wanted to build a casino at Point Molate. As part of the settlement, a judge decided that any developer that builds on the site must set aside 70 percent of the land as open space and preserve historic buildings in the site's Winehaven Historic District. The court settlement requires a minimum of 670 residential units be built there.
Orton's proposal features several options, one sporting 1,100 residential units, and one “full community” option with 2,200 residential units spread across three areas of the 270-acre patch of land.
A rendering from part of Orton's proposal.
James Madsen, partner at Orton Development, told the Business Times over the summer that a challenge for any version of the project at Point Molate includes “coming up with a plan that has a lot of buy-in from the community.”
“This site has had a really long history of controversy,” Madsen said at the time.
Rendering of a pedestrian-only walkway in the proposal from Orton Development.
PMP, comprised of the developers Mar Ventures Inc. and Cal-Coast Companies LLC, will pitch three options of their own Tuesday night. Each has between 670 and 2,000 residential units and also a 150-room hotel that would serve as an “anchor to a waterfront gathering area and public space that provides access to the existing pier,” according to the developer’s proposal.
PMP also hopes to repurpose the site’s historic Winehaven building into an “International Food Hall & Brewery, a creative co-working office, and an events venue (and) conference center” and convert the site’s 29 residences as well as several of the existing buildings into living and working space for local artists.
A rendering of part of PMP's most ambitious option
“We think (our proposal) is a complete approach to developing Point Molate in a way that brings commercial, residential, and services to the area,” said H. James Schafer, managing partner at Samuelson Schafer. “Our intention is a multi-generational community integrated into the Richmond fabric.”
A rendering of part of Samuelson Schafer's proposal for Point Molate
Samuelson Schafer’s proposal consists of 2,000 residential units, with the lead architect being MBH.
SunCal, which is currently constructing over 900 homes at the closed naval medical center in the Oakland Hills, has three residential areas where it will allocate the minimum 670 units.
A group known as the Point Molate Alliance has expressed concerns about developing the site and may fight any project proposed there.
The Point Molate proposals come at a time when Richmond is starting to see more development, as builders circle the new ferry that launched service in January. New West Co. for example is looking to build about 800 units near the terminal. Two waterfront projects are under construction and closing on sales, including Lyon Homes’ 98 condos, and Shea Homes’ 60-townhomes. Latitude — a 316-unit project, located at 1500 Dornan Drive — includes 295 condominiums and 21 single-family homes. Laconia Development and Chinese developer Suzhou Weibang Properties LLC is behind the project.
The 271-acre Point Molate site was once a fuel depot for the Navy.