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Ford Assembly Building and Point Molate
July 20, 2003


Two of the most ambitious development projects in recent Richmond History have attracted proposals from a total of thirteen developers, and the Richmond City Council (sitting as the Redevelopment Agency and Reuse Authority) will be making selections within the next two to eight weeks.

After the Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) with Assembly Plant Partners was terminated in June due to failure to produce some $25 million need to complete the project, competition was reopened. Although the DDA was terminated, the $15 million of Federal FEMA funding was preserved and spent on time for a major start on rehabilitation. Proposals from new developers were due July 7, and a total of six were received, but one was deemed insufficiently responsive to the RFP. The other five purport to have the requisite funding to complete the project and the $1 million non-refundable deposit required to enter into an Exclusive Right to Negotiate agreement. The City Council (Redevelopment Agency) is currently scheduled to interview the remaining five contenders and select one or two for final negotiations at a special meeting on August 4. The five developers are:


STG Realty Ventures, Inc.

915 Piner Road, Suite E

Santa Rosa, CA 95403


Orton Development, Inc.

3049 Research Drive

Richmond, CA 94806


TMG Partners

100 Bush Street, 26th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94104



Harbour Point Development

A Venture Between McMorgan & Company, Mariposa Property and Craneway Associates

555 Florida Street #40

San Francisco, CA 94110


Point Richmond Rivets Development Group, LLC

3288 Pierce Street, Suite M-126

Richmond, CA 94804



Proposals for master developer of Point Molate were due July 9, and seven responses were received. The RFP may be seen at http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/~CED/redevelopment/pointmolate.htm. The City of Richmond has informed the Navy that it wishes to proceed with transfer of the former Navy fuel depot to the City, and the final arrangements for disposition are to be set by July 31, 2003. The City Council (Reuse Authority) will probably interview developers in September and select one or two for further negotiation. The seven responders to the development RFQ are:

Castle Companies

12885 Alcosta Boulevard, A

San Ramon, CA 94583


The Haile Group, LC

1206 Oxford Street

Berkeley, CA 94709


Lowe Investments, LLC

1900 Powell Street, 12th Floor

Emeryville, CA 94608


The Eagle Group


700 Murmansk Street, #7

Oakland, CA 94607


Horizon Partners

201 Third Street, #1

Oakland, CA 94607


Renova Partners LC

1250-I Newell Avenue #236

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

One of the concerns some had about Point Molate is that the remaining level of contamination and the lack of infrastructure would result in a negative value, and the City would be stuck with a white elephant money pit. The good news is that the initial reaction from developers projects values ranging from $4 million to as high as $100 million.

One unfortunate sticking point is that the higher value ranges anticipate mixed uses that include substantial residential development. Thanks largely to Chevron-Texaco, residential use of the property will be an uphill battle. In 1997, the Richmond City Council, acting as the Point Molate Reuse Authority adopted a Reuse Plan that envisioned a vibrant mixed-use waterfront community centered around the buildings of Winehaven, a historic community on the National Register of Historic Places. Winehaven was built in 1908 to replace a similar facility destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Until, Prohibition, it was the largest winery in the United States - some say even the world. When the EIS/EIR was completed, the City's Reuse Plan received a blow when it was determined that Chevron's ammonia storage (half a mile away over a 700-foot high ridge) was so dangerous (within the Alternate Release Scenario for the Risk management Plan) that housing at Point Molate would be “incompatible” with the adjacent refinery. The science of the RMP was challenged by experts, but the Navy refused to budge, and the dream of a mixed-use village withered. Convoluted reasoning, however, left open the door for transient housing, such as B & B, and the prospect of some kind of conference center utilizing the dozens of historic bungalows was still alive. Now Chevron has taken aim at even that, citing security and safety in a letter (see attached PDF file) dated July 9, 2003, to the City of Richmond wherein they conveyed their objection to any development other than "industrial, manufacturing and restricted open space (meaning no people)."