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  Point Molate Developer Chosen by City Staff
December 14, 2003

After months of seeming inaction on the future development of Point Molate, Richmond Redevelopment Agency staff surprised City Council members with a request for a joint meeting of the Local Reuse Authority/Richmond City Council ON DECEMBER 16, 2003, to approve a six month Exclusive Right to negotiate (ERN) with a development team made up of two previous proposers, Lowe Enterprises, which included Shell Global Solutions and Henry Kelso, and Upstream Investments, LLC., which included Cherokee Investment Partners, Legacy Partners, the Odermatt Group, LFR Levine-Fricke and International Risk Group.


The various members of the proposed combo development team include real estate developers (Lowe and Legacy), environmental remediation experts (Shell and LFR Levine-Fricke), financiers (Cherokee), planning consultants (The Odermatt Group) and underwriters (International Risk Group). Upstream Investments, LLC, appears to be an organization formed for this particular project that originally included all of the players except Lowe and Shell. I have no idea who Henry Kelso is. The rest are all major players that bring money, experience, and technical expertise.


Interestingly, staff reports that, “We have not come to terms with ChevronTexaco in regard to a lease for Point Molate.” However, the shadow of ChevronTexaco continues to loom large as staff concludes, “ Since the Navy and ChevronTexaco need to be a part of the solution for what is developed at point Molate, it is not optimistic to think that the ERN can be finalized in six months, however, that is ample time to determine that the developer is negotiating in good faith and if so, the City Manager would have the discretion to extend the term.”


I know the Navy is a critical player, because they still own the best 15% of Point Molate not yet transferred to the City. However, I can’t figure out why ChevronTexaco has a vote in all this, unless they have purchased one.


Previous estimates of the “as is“ value by the two proposers varied from $4 million to $5 million. Other proposers not recommended by staff had suggested values ranging as high as $100 million.


While I am gratified to see some long overdue movement on Point Molate, and I am relieved that it apparently has not yet been stolen by ChevronTexaco, I am disappointed that the City Council did not have a more active role in reviewing, interviewing and selecting the development team. This is just one more example of a passive City Council being spoon fed pre-digested public policy initiatives by staff.