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1st homes may start in July at River Islands
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• Number of homes: 11,000
• Job potential: 16,800
• Acres involved: 4,800
• Enhanced eco-systems being created for Riparian rabbit, Swainson’s hawk
• Eight major public river access points with “bays” that will have peninsulas with enhanced natural landscaping

LATHROP - Work is expected to start on the first of 11,000 homes at River Islands at Lathrop by July.

Cambay Group currently is reviewing applications from a number of family-owned builders to determine who will be allowed to build on the first 500 lots that are now being prepared for development.

 Rainy weather forced the firm to abandon an April target for housing construction. That’s because the weather has slowed down a $7 million road project that includes major trunk and sewer lines to serve the 500 homes.

Project Manager Susan Dell’Osso noted Cambay chose to go with family-owned builders as they tend to have stronger ties to the communities where they build.

“Interest is high because builders are looking for lots that are ready to go,” Dell’Osso said.

She noted that few areas in the Northern San Joaquin Valley either have finished lots or lots that have already been through the lengthy approval process. The highest concentration happens to be in Lathrop and Manteca.

Dell’Osso believes that gives the Lathrop-Manteca area a head start on taking advantage of an improving economy.

Cambay will retain control over how neighborhoods are developed including down to details such as requiring moisture sensors in front yard landscaping to conserve water to the creation of mini-solar farms within residential areas.

Work on the elementary campus that will open in August as a high-tech charter school is expected to be completed by April. Designed for 650 students, the first year will be capped at 350 students.

A bridge that will serve as a future access to River Islands along a future road that ultimately will connect with Louise Avenue was completed in November.

The project has taken 23 years to get to the point the first homes can be built. Cambay was ready to go at the end of 2006 but opted not to start due to declining new home values.

 This isn’t Cambay Group’s first rodeo in California. The England-based investment company spent 18 years bringing the 10,000-home Dougherty Valley project in Contra Costa County to fruition.