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River Islands: $6.05 billion economic juggernaut

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POSTED December 19, 2016 1:26 a.m.

River Islands at Lathrop new homes prices are accelerating faster than other new homes being built in Manteca or Tracy.

Just over a year ago homes were starting in the mid-$300,000s in the planned community of 11,000 homes. Today $425,000 is the bottom offering with the typical home now being sold at $550,000 as buyers pile on the upgrades.

If you do the math based only on residential sales and assuming all dwellings will be single family — which they won’t as apartments are planned — and exclude potential commercial and business park developments you are talking big bucks.

At build-out — based on today’s selling prices remaining constant —River Islands will generate $6.05 billion in economic stimulus based on the initial sale of the homes.  

There should be little doubt in anyone’s mind that River Islands will be the driving force in the South County in the coming years on a number of levels.

The project will ultimately add close to 40,000 residents. 

But the real impact is what they bring to the table. A $550,000 home with $75,000 down translates roughly into a $2,300 a month mortgage payment. Assuming 33 percent of gross household income goes to housing costs, it would translate into a median household income of $82,800.

The median household income in Lathrop is now at $63,087, the median income in Manteca is $62,032 the median income in Ripon is at $75,420, and the median income in Tracy is $74,748.

Keep in  mind there are no older, lower priced housing options in River Islands. The community’s base is being built now. And while it is part of Lathrop it literally is an island of its own. It is five minutes to the heart of Manteca’s 120 Bypass corridors, 14 minutes to Tracy’s West Valley Mall retail area, and minutes to Lathrop’s Interstate 5 commercial zone where Target may soon be joined by Home Depot.

And while River Islands will have a unique town square with restaurants and smaller retail and profession space surrounding it as well as traditional commercial, its sheer size will be felt in the retail sectors not just in Lathrop but in Manteca and Tracy as well due to its location.

River Islands will also pump up Lathrop’s resale market as homes start changing hands. The current median resale price in Lathrop is $348,300. In Manteca it is $342,000, in Ripon it is $398,100, and in Tracy it is $416,000 based on closed escrows so far during 2016.

 The large pool of middle income and even upper middle income households is why Cambay Group believes it ultimately will be able to develop a business park that’s exclusively offices plus research and development style concerns.

 

Bridge across

river opening

in March 2017

Sometime in March there will be a second way to reach the 4,800-acre River Islands planned community.

The  bridge across the San Joaquin River just west of where Interstate 5 and Manthey Road bridges are at Mossdale Crossing is now in the process oi having finishing touches such as railing and lights placed on the bridge deck.

When it opens it will be the first new bridge crossing over the San Joaquin River within the county in at least 40 years.

The bridge decks were put in place in 2012 by Cambay Group. Part of the reason was to take advantage of lower construction costs due to the recession but what really drove the decision was federal and state permits that had been obtained were nearing an expiration date. The bridge — 100 percent paid for by Cambay Group — wasn’t required to be built until the 800th home had been sold at River Islands at Lathrop. There are now 500 homes sold and occupied at River Islands.

Caltrans is working with River Islands to prolong the access to the community via Manthey Road on Interstate 5. Originally Caltrans insisted on Stewart Road that connects River Islands with Manthey must close when the 800th home was sold.

Follow up studies show that traffic from the planned community is less intrusive in the congested stretch between the 120 Bypass and Interstate 205 along Interstate 5. That’s because the overwhelming share of River Islands traffic hugs the right lanes in each direction on I-5.

Caltrans is looking at requiring  ramp metering and/or longer acceleration lanes to handle the traffic beyond 800 homes.

Ultimately another freeway access point will be added along Interstate 205.

An effort is underway to get an Altamont Corridor Express commuter rail station along tracks that skirt the eastern end of River Islands where a business park is being developed. The intent is to make River Islands a true transit hub with jobs within walking distance of those arriving by rail and easy access to commuter trains to Bay Area jobs for the roughly 40,000 people expected to eventually live at River Islands.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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