SunCal in the news

November 23, 2012

SunCal may revive project on 310 acres in Bethel Island

Master developer SunCal Cos. is considering whether to move forward with its 310-acre Delta Coves project in Bethel Island, a community of about 2,500 people in east Contra Costa County. The site was entitled for 494 single-family homes with a marina.

Irvine-based SunCal stalled work on the project in 2008 after its financial partner, Lehman Brothers, collapsed.

The developer bought the property last summer from Lehman as part of a settlement from a lawsuit SunCal filed against Lehman involving various development sites.

Other properties SunCal had been developing with Lehman Brothers funds include Oak Knoll, a former naval hospital site in the Oakland hills where the developer had planned to build 960 homes and 82,000 square feet of commercial space. That project is now held by an asset management company that is overseeing former Lehman Brothers properties.

As for Delta Coves, SunCal spent the last few months doing maintenance work on the property and looking at completing unfinished infrastructure.

“SunCal’s team is also strategizing the potential development timelines and next steps for the community,” said Joe Aguirre, a SunCal spokesman, in an email.

The developer made a presentation at the October board meeting of the Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District, the entity that oversees the community’s maintenance and services, as it is not an incorporated city.

Tony Berzinas, a district board member, said it is unclear when SunCal would proceed with the development, but the project will have substantial impact on the waterfront community that has about 700 developed parcels. Adding close to 500 new homes would increase the population, traffic and tax revenue in a community that doesn’t even have mail delivery.

“It’s going to be a huge difference, for better or worse,” Berzinas said. “It will change the complexity of the island.”