Henghou Group aims to build 2,100 homes in Contra Costa County

Discovery Bay project targets older adults and empty nesters on 545 acres

Henghou Group's Zheng Shizao;  Cecchini Ranch project, off of Highway 4 in Discovery Bay (CBG, nbhhgroup)
Henghou Group's Zheng Shizao; Cecchini Ranch project, off of Highway 4 in Discovery Bay (CBG, nbhhgroup)

Henghou Group wants to build more than 2,100 homes for older adults at Discovery Bay in east Contra Costa County.

The China-based developer led by Zheng Shizao has filed plans to build single-family homes, duplexes and apartments at Cecchini Ranch on Highway 4 in the unincorporated Delta town 60 miles east of San Francisco, YimbySF and the San Francisco Business Times reported.

Henghou bought 1,122 acres of the ranch in 2018 for $11.5 million, or $10,250 per acre. 

Three years later, the firm filed preliminary plans to build 2,124 homes on 545 acres, with 560 acres on the north side preserved in an agriculture conservation easement.

Plans call for 1,275 single family structures, 515 duplexes and a 344-unit affordable apartment complex.

Homes would be built next to 40 acres set aside for light industrial use, 30 acres of sports parks, 21 acres of community parks and a community center, with boat RV storage and 8 acres of preserved wetlands.

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The Cecchini Ranch project, along the Old River next to San Joaquin County, could include a T-shaped lake, with a southern tributary, according to one rendering. Another version shows four separate lakes, mostly surrounded by homes. It’s not clear which is the preferred design.

Henghou targets its proposed development for Bay Area residents over the age of 50, or empty nesters seeking to sell their homes and downsize without having to leave the region.

In a presentation to the community, the developer said there is a need for active adult communities in the Bay Area, with most empty nesters migrating to the Sacramento region and Central Valley.

Discovery Bay, founded in the early 1970s as a mostly weekend and summer resort, is now home to more than 14,000 people against the backdrop of more than 1,200 miles of Delta waterways linked to the San Francisco Bay, according to the town’s website.

Henghou Group, founded in Ningbo, China by Zheng Shizao in 1991, is a conglomerate with real estate, industrial, hotel, shipping and online sales divisions, according to its website.

— Dana Bartholomew

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