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Next for RI: Apartments
Strong market may bring them sooner than later
River Islands home sales are going strong. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin

Imagine living in an apartment — or condo — above a café and being able to walk to the river’s edge.
That scenario envisioned as part of the River Islands at Lathrop town square that promises to blend urban chic with family-style living will move closer to reality when the Bradshaw Crossing bridging the San Joaquin River opens later this year or in early 2017.
“(River Islands Parkway tying into Louise Avenue) will enter into the town square,” River Islands Project manager Susan Dell’Osso said.
It will open the door to laying the ground work for the retail portion of the 11,000-home planned community as well as apartments.
Actually, what is prompting Cambay Group to ponder building apartments now instead of later is the huge demand that is pushing up rent for top tier one-bedroom apartments toward the $1,400 a month mark in Manteca and Ripon and $1,500 a month in Tracy.
The River Islands concept calls for a town square opening up to a greenbelt running along the San Joaquin River atop the 300-foot wide levees that afford the community protection against 200-year flood events.
Plans call for the town square to be ringed by multi-story buildings with restaurants, shops, and services on the first floor and condos on the second floor.
Dell’Osso said concerns such as supermarkets that they have talked to about locating in River Islands when the population reaches a critical tipping point have indicated they will need to be stand-alone affairs due to the noise and activity they generate.
River Islands is laid out to make it possible to walk, bicycle or even take paddle boats on interior lakes to reach the town square. Travel corridors — except for main streets such as River Islands Parkway — are designed more with pedestrians in mind and are significantly narrower than you would find on “feeder streets” in a typical community. They also do not have on-street parking in most cases.
The heart of the town square is envisioned for community gatherings much like Library Park in Manteca or Weber Point in Stockton.
River Islands is in the process of bringing three more builders on board to create new neighborhoods in the first phase of the 5,000-acre project.
Some 403 homes have been sold with upwards of six more homes going into contract each week. One new builder has already secured deposits and contracts for homes even though no models have been built.
“They are buying them based just on drawings,” Dell’Osso said.
Once all of the next sets of lots are released to builders, it will mean almost 10 percent of all available living units planned for River Islands will either have been built or will have work underway to create buildable lots.