Last private island in SF Bay hits the market for $25M

Uninhabited Red Rock Island, in three counties, zoned either for industrial, residential or general use

A private uninhabited island in SF Bay hits the market for $25M
Red Rock Island in 1979 (Getty, Red Rock Island)

A chunk of land touted as the last private island on San Francisco Bay is on the market for the first time, with an asking price of  $25 million.

Red Rock Island, a 6-acre uninhabited dome of dirt south of Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, has been listed by its owner, Brock Durning, who inherited it from his dad, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The price comes out to nearly $4.2 million per acre.

The arrowhead-shaped isle officially lies in three counties — Contra Costa, San Francisco and Marin. It’s also zoned for industrial use in Contra Costa, residential use in San Francisco and general use in Marin, according to its listing agent.

It has no power. No Wi-Fi. No dock.  No flat land. And no span tying it to the shore.

“There have been unsolicited offers in the past, but it has never before been officially for sale,” broker Chris Lim of Christie’s International told the Chronicle, who holds its first-ever listing. “This is such a rare and unique offering. I’ve never seen anything like this my entire career.”

The island rises 150 feet, and was used by Russian fur trappers in the early 19th century. It later was mined for manganese, which gives it its russet look.

Its one known resident, former State Senator Selim Woodworth, built a hunting cabin there a century ago.

In the 1960s, owners Mack Durning, a retired San Leandro real estate investor, and David Glickman, a former San Francisco attorney turned Bangkok gem salesman, proposed lopping off the top of it for a 20-story hotel, casino and yacht harbor.

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But the pushback forced them to scuttle the plan.

Among its off-market suitors over the years was the late Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the “sex guru,” Rolls-Royce collector and spiritual head of an infamous commune in rural Oregon.

He was about to buy Red Rock in 1985 when his commune collapsed and he was deported, Durning told the Chronicle. 

One unsolicited study was done for the island to include a marina, heliport, restaurant, art gallery, hotel, wedding chapel, observation tower and geodesic umbrellas. Its last unsolicited offers were for a wind farm and from two separate princes interested in the island.

“There is so much that is possible with this island,” Lim, who spent an entire day traipsing over the rock, told the newspaper. “The views of San Francisco, Belvedere, the Oakland hills and the Bay Bridge are incredible.”

Another private isle, the 50-acre Point Buckler Island, was listed in September by owner John Sweeny on the northeast edge of San Francisco Bay for $75 million, or $1.5 million per acre.

— Dana Bartholomew

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