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River Islands creating rare river view home sites
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LATHROP - The only way historically to have a home in the Central Valley with a sweeping view of either the San Joaquin River or Sacramento River is to have a home elevated and hugging a levee.

That is about to change.

River Islands at Lathrop will have 900 of their 10,800 home sites atop the 300-foot wide super levee that is designed to protect against 200-year floods. They will have an unparalleled view of the San Joaquin River and distant vistas such as Mt. Diablo.

The 300-foot-wide levee will allow a roadway plus a home site on either side - one overlooking the San Joaquin River or Paradise Cut and the other the interior of Stewart Tract.

It is the river view homes that are expected to generate a significant buzz.

Nowhere else in the valley are there such riverside home sites. You will find, occasionally existing farm homes such as a handful on Hays Road south of Manteca that are astride the levee built partially on stilts and attached to a narrow levee edge. But you won’t find conventional urban lots on the river’s edge far enough above the high water mark to never have to worry about flooding.

Cambay Group project manager Susan Dell’Osso anticipates the home sites will lure upper-end home buyers to Lathrop and might even serve as a catalyst to lure jobs.

The interior of River Islands has a number of home sites that will have direct access to interior lakes and canals that would allow someone to literally use a boat to access shopping and dining at the community plaza as well as reach jobs in the employment center.

Cambay Group, which has all necessary plan approvals and infrastructure in place, is biding its time waiting for the economy to improve before starting its first homes. They have invested in excess of $180 million in the project. Construction on the first homes may start in 2011.

Besides planning 10,800  homes, schools, recreation improvements and a town center River Islands is targeting smaller and medium-sized employers who can generate roughly 40 jobs per acre with a goal of providing opportunities for 16,500 jobs in a 320-acre business park.

The project is the largest of its kind in Northern California in terms of being a self-contained community with homes, business park, schools and a town center. Its most unique feature, though, is the universal access to the river as well as internal lakes and canals being incorporated in the overall design of the community.