Developer reveals plan for hundreds of new homes on Richmond bayfront despite opposition

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Richmond and Orange County developer Suncal announced plans Thursday for a new housing project at Point Molate along the city's bayfront.

The Navy sold more than 200 acres of the fuel depot property to the city in the mid-nineties for one dollar.

Mayor Tom Butt says the land features beautiful views of the bay and San Francisco and would be ideal for housing.

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"They're looking at anywhere from six to 700 housing units out there to maybe over a thousand," said Mayor Butt,

Developer Suncal is trying to reach a deal to buy the property and plans considerably more than a thousand.

"We're proposing 1,261 homes, which will include single-family homes, townhomes, detached and attached," said Suncal Vice President David Soyka.

Soyka says that would include nearly 70 affordable housing units, and he says most of the property would be left as open space.

A group of local black businessmen is onboard.

"We think this project presents some opportunity because of the commitment to local hiring an affordable housing" according to Jake Sloan of the business group Baypac.

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Since the Navy left, there have been numerous plans for the property, including leaving it as open space, even a proposal to open an Indian Casino.

The tribe wrestled with so many complications they sued the city, and reached an agreement that gives Richmond until April of this year to reach a development deal or ownership of the land will revert back to the tribe for the sum of $300.

An environmental group called the Point Molate Alliance is also suing to block the development. That group believes the property should be preserved as open space.

Whoever winds up with the property, a major cleanup is in order.

There are still 12 underground tanks on the land big enough to hold a combined 2 million gallons of Navy jet fuel.

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