A plan to build at least 670 residential units at Point Molate and to preserve 70-percent of the 270-acre Bayfront property as open space is moving forward after a federal judge approved a legal settlement that formerly ends a casino proposal for the site.
The Thursday ruling officially resolves a costly six-year legal battle between the city and the Guidiville Rancheria tribe and its developer Upstream over a significant casino project proposed for the site that was rejected by voters and the city council in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
The property is a former U.S. Naval Fuel Depot site that closed in 1995 and was later transferred to the city of Richmond for remediation and potential development. For years, the density of any future development has been a sticking point among residents and city council.
After the casino proposal’s rejection, the tribe and its developer Upstream sought a legal judgment of $750 million against the city, claiming millions in losses.
In Thursday’s ruling, the city will not have to build a casino at the site nor pay damages to the plaintiffs. However, the city will have to equally share proceeds with the plaintiffs from the sale of the site that will be developed.
Also as part of the judgment, the project at Point Molate will move forward in accordance with a Reuse Plan adopted by City Council a decade ago, which was also incorporated in large part into the city’s General Plan 2030. That includes at least 670 residential units, the setting aside of 70-percent of the 270 acres as open space, and the preservation of the Winehaven Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, for adaptive reuse.
The residential development would have to comply with the city’s inclusionary housing ordinance, according to the judgement.
“The precise number and location of any residential units at Point Molate will be determined during the public process,” the city said in a statement.
The city plans to sell parcels at Point Molate within two years and to include a robust public input process before moving forward with development.
“We think the resolution promotes the public interest, and removes a dark cloud over Point Molate,” Mayor Tom Butt said in the statement.