Developers propose up to 2,000 housing units for Point Molate

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Developers propose up to 2,300 housing units for Point Molate
A design rendering from a project for the Point Molate site by Orton Development, Inc.

A brewery. A hotel. A ferry dock. An artist’s village. A town square.

At Richmond City Council Tuesday, ideas pitched by four developers for the future of Point Molate ranged from 670 to 2,200 housing unit communities where residents could both live and work, fetch groceries, dine out, play in open spaces and enjoy various commercial amenities in a re-envisioned Winehaven Historic District that preserves history with a modern approach.

However, attractive sketches of such enticing amenities were of less interest to council members than the nuts and bolts: the number of housing units involved, the project’s financial feasibility, accessibility to the site from Interstate 580, and the potential benefits to Richmond, from jobs to revenue. No decision on a project or developer was made at Tuesday’s meeting.

On Tuesday, city council heard proposals from Orton Development, Inc., Point Molate Partners, Samuelson Schafer, and SunCal. Most of the proposals advocated for denser housing to make the project financially feasible.

Orton Development proposed three separate options with as few as 670 units and as many as 2,200, with the latter featuring 275-374 affordable units. The proposal creates a “vibrant village community” that could include a ferry terminal, restored shoreline, a hillside park. The Winehaven warehouse structures would be preserved and integrated with retail, R&D, restaurants, or office space.

Rendering by Orton Development, Inc.

Point Molate Partners had in its plans 670 to 2,000 units, a 150 room hotel, about 120,000 square feet of commercial space, and a restored Winehaven with a brewery, food hall and coworking space. A 27-acre natural preserve connects the project.

Image credit: Point Molate Partners

Samuelson Schafer’s project featured up to 2,000 units, a density which it says will support the high cost of infrastructure needed for the site, estimated at about $85-$100 million. The project also featured its own sewage treatment operation, and photovoltaic panels and wind turbines to achieve net zero energy use for the development, along with senior housing, a ferry dock, hotel and fire station.

Concept rendering by Samuelson Schafer

SunCal stated similar visions of the project site, supporting on-site sewage and net zero energy, but envisioning a smaller residential project of about 1,100 units.

Image credit: SunCal

Dozens of community members spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, many of them members of groups opposed to development at Point Molate. Members of Point Molate Alliance claim infrastructure for a housing development in the area would be financially infeasible.

The alliance calls for a “commercial, historical, cultural destination with a hotel and conference center, providing jobs and revenue.” Members advocated for the creation of a waterfront park would protect the eco-system, saving the watershed and preserving the continuity between the watershed and eel grass. The alliance wants housing development focused downtown.