River Islands construction underway
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
May 15, 2014 | 5466 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Model homes open Saturday
Workers check the landscaping Tuesday as they put finishing touches on four model homes built by DeNova Homes that will open Saturday at River Islands, a master-planned development on the western edge of Lathrop.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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LATHROP — Construction has started on the first single-family homes at River Islands, a planned 11,000-home development on the Stewart Tract east of Tracy.

According to project director Susan Dell’Osso, DeNova Homes, Brookfield Residential and Van Daele Homes are all working to complete four model homes in the first phase of the nearly 5,000-acre planned development that abuts the San Joaquin River Delta and the cities of Tracy and Manteca.

“We really targeted these specific builders,” she said. “We wanted local companies that are privately owned so we can deal with the owners directly. We wanted choices for buyers.”

All the initial homes will be single-family houses, with apartments and townhouses coming later, she said.

As the project on the western edge of Lathrop grows, interest in living there is also growing. Dell’Osso said the waiting list is 500 people long.

“Phase one is 4,300 homes, so this is the first part of phase one,” she said. “The first people will probably move in in August.”

DeNova, which also has projects in Patterson, purchased 105 lots to build one- and two-story houses ranging from 1,800 to 2,400 square feet. Brookfield, which has offices in Sacramento, purchased 120 lots for houses 2,100 to 2,800 square feet, and San Ramon-based Van Daele purchased 68 lots for the largest homes, 3,000 to 3,600 square feet, she said.

The first models, Edgewater at River Islands, built by DeNova, are scheduled to open at 10 a.m. Saturday. Van Daele plans to open its Waterpointe at River Islands models in early June, and Brookfield’s Windrift models will open in mid-July.

“I think the location is fantastic,” said Linda Hebert, DeNova Homes sales and marketing director. “It’s really exciting to be part of the start of a brand-new community — one of the things we’ve been drawn to.”

She said that as one of the first builders, DeNova was lucky enough to build along one of the community’s lakes. The homes feature open concepts, she explained, with the idea of bringing outdoor living inside.

“I think it’s the right time (to build in River Islands),” Hebert said. “Our residents will have something very special.”

Brookfield President John Ryan said that his company had been watching the progression of the River Islands development for more than 20 years.

“It’s going to be a great master-planned community when it’s built out,” he said. “They have a great school built there right in the middle of the project and great highway access. I think the homes will be affordable — a great commuter market.”

Banta Elementary School District, the school district for River Islands, completed its first school campus in the community last year. It is currently occupied by a charter school, River Islands Technology Academy, but district leaders are planning to welcome River Islands children into Banta’s new science academy, which will share initially space with the charter, beginning in August.

“We’re excited about it,” Superintendent Albert Garibaldi said. “To get some growth in Banta is a big deal to us.”

According to the River Islands website, the community will eventually encompass 11,000 homes in neighborhoods with individual character and diverse styles, incorporating architecture that “feels right at home in a river environment.”

The first neighborhood is South River Bend, which will include a community boathouse with access to docks for boating and fishing and boats for rent. A neighborhood park will have bocce, basketball and sand volleyball courts and soccer fields, with walking and biking trails nearby.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District will each serve the planned development. Both also provide services within the city of Lathrop.

Fire Chief Gene Neely said his department has already gone over a financial analysis with the project developer and is planning to build two or three fire stations in River Islands, which will house engines and a ladder truck.

“We are in the process of designing the (fire) station,” he said. “The first station will be the largest station with administration and a fire station all in one.”

Neely anticipates that it will be two to five years before the fire station is built.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at drizzo@tracypress.com or 830-4225.

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