Developer swaps condo project for houses in Point Richmond

New West to build 76 single-family homes, says plans for nearly 200 condos didn’t pencil out

New West's Terry Manley with project rendering for Canal Boulevard and Seacliff Drive (New West Company, City of Richmond)
New West's Terry Manley with project rendering for Canal Boulevard and Seacliff Drive (New West Company, City of Richmond)

A developer with plans for nearly 200 condominiums atop a former rock quarry in Point Richmond will build 76 single-family homes instead.
New West, based in Las Vegas, won approval by the Richmond City Council to revise its 2018 plan for a 6.3-acre project along Canal Boulevard and Seacliff Drive, the East Bay Times reported.

Its plans now call for two-story stucco cottages on 2,100 square-foot lots at the site of the one-time quarry below Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline park. The homes would come with pre-installed solar panels, shared recreation space and paved access to the nearby Bay Trail.

New West told city officials it had revamped the East Bay project after it couldn’t pencil out the original 193-condo project, partly because of soaring material and labor costs, Richmond Senior Planner Roberta Feliciano said.

“They’ve marketed and tried to build the multi-family development for multiple years and were unable to do so,” Feliciano said. “And with COVID, they feel the market demands have changed.”

Eight of the proposed homes, or 10 percent of the development, will be set aside as affordable for buyers from low-income households, defined as $74,200 for a single occupant to $106,000 for a family of four.

Because the developer is building some affordable homes, the city will waive several development standards to fit all 76 houses by reducing in half minimum lot sizes, widths and setbacks.

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Two thirds of the vacant, 18.4-acre site isn’t suitable for construction because it’s too steep, so the remaining 12.1 acres will be preserved as open space.

The nonprofit Urban Institute reported the number of multi-family units built for homeowners instead of renters was only 5.4 percent of all multi-family construction — the lowest in 50 years.

The rate drops to 2.7% when adding all single-family and multi-family construction to the mix.

That’s why John Dalrymple, a political affairs consultant with Sheet Metal Workers Local 104, agreed with New West that for any housing to be built on the Point Richmond site, the change to single-family housing was necessary.

“I track every residential project over 100 units — when it gets an application, when it gets built — and I can tell you right now, it’s very, very challenging,” Dalrymple said. “(The developer has) tried everything to get this built. They’ve reached out to a number of different partners with different ideas of how to finance it, so I think they’ve made their absolute best effort.”

[East Bay Times] – Dana Bartholomew

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