River Islands is once again sailing into uncharted waters when it comes to the San Joaquin Valley for cutting edge housing initiatives.

Lathrop leaders have approved changes to the masterplan for the 4,800-acre planned community that will add 4,284 high density units to bring the overall number of homes that will be built at River Islands to 15,001. It will increase the density of the project by a third without changing the distinctive single family home character of the development.

The changes include:
*A transit village on the edge of the River Islands employment center and along the future Valley Link commuter rail system that’s targeted to start operation in 2028. It would have 1,821 dwelling units with shops, services and restaurants.

*The envisioned Paradise Cut Village Center planned along the extension of the Golden Valley Parkway accessed via the proposed Paradise Road/Chrisman Road interchange on Interstate 205. It would feature 2,439 dwelling units with services, stores, and restaurants.

Both high density endeavors on the edge of the island encircled by 18 miles of levees that will serve as a contiguous greenbelt for universal recreation uses.

The new “villages” are in addition to two other “hubs” that are moving forward.

*The town center near the Bradshaw Crossing entrance to River Islands that will serve as a major recreation hub.

*River Islands High that is near the middle of the project being built with a performing arts center with the idea of creating a hub for performing and static arts.

Transit village
The transit village will be at the “end” of the first phase of the Valley Link project.

It involves small commuter train sets to move passengers to the BART station in Pleasanton/Dublin with stops in Tracy, Mountain House, Greenville Road, and Livermore.

The multi-billion dollar Valley Link project is partially funded and targeting a 2028 start-up.

Ultimately it will be extended to Stockton. A parking lot for River Islands commuters will be built west of the tracks. A separate parking lot for non-River Islands residents will be built east of the tracks.

It is going on the edge of the envisioned business park where no residential development had been previously planned.

That should be an advantage in marketing the business park that is prohibited by Lathrop ordinances by having high truck movement employers such as distribution centers. Valley Link would allow those west of the Altamont Pass to take rail to jobs in the River Islands Business Park and then walk to work.

Paradise Cut Village
This is where the “largest” retail area will be.

It will not be on the scale as centers such as the ones SaveMart or Target anchor in Lathrop.

River Islands has retained a real estate retail expert to start “pounding on doors” in a search for commercial endeavors that will be a right fit.

They will purposely eschew almost all chain stores in a bid to carefully craft an integrated community. Exceptions will be for niche chains similar to Nugget Markets — a grocery store chain in the Sacramento area as well as Marin and Sonoma counties.

The goal is to have a mixture of restaurants, small retail, services, and medical offices.

By locating it on the edge on a road that will eventually connect to a new  interchange along Interstate 205 between Interstate 5 and MacArthur interchange in Tracy, the planned condos and apartments  will create minimal traffic impacts on the rest of River Islands

Town Center
This is the area near where the baseball stadium, existing soccer fields, River Islands Academy and the new Lathrop Police station is now under construction.

The town center will have a series of restaurants and shops along with apartments and condos. This is where the other supermarket is being planned with a strategic location just as you cross the San Joaquin River via Bradshaw Crossing. That’s so any customers the market may attract that aren’t River Islands residents will create minimal traffic impacts.

This is also where the high school football stadium will be built. The first community Park on River Islands will break ground in Town Center.

Art hub
Plans for River Islands High School are now being reviewed by the state. The campus will break ground next year with  a target opening date of August 2023.

The decision to sitet the football stadium away from campus to allow not just for youth sports use but also events such as festivals, Fourth of July celebrations, and car shows will allow a performing arts center to be built on the campus.

The goal is make the performing arts center the hub for arts on River Islands.

What is coming up & what do new plans mean?
*Del Webb at River Islands consisting of 900 single-story homes ranging from 1,450 to 2,765 square feet with two and three bedrooms will break ground in 2022. The age-restricted active adult community for those 55 and older will include a recreation center featuring a swimming pool, fitness center, bocce courts, tennis courts, and pickleball courts. 

*The next elementary campus will open in 2022. There will be four elementary schools altogether.

*There will be 26 lakes when the project is done.

*There will be 300 acres of community parks with full facilities with recreation programmed by the City of Lathrop with an additional 160 acres of small neighborhood parks.

*The parks are in addition to open space areas.

The approval by Lathrop includes tentative maps for the remaining land not already with that level of approval.

Record setting tentative map of 10,000 plus lots
As a result the City of Lathrop adopted a record setting tentative map for its size — 10,726 lots.

It is the largest tentative map for San Joaquin County and perhaps even the Central Valley.

River Islands President Susan Dell’Osso noted that will allow development to respond quicker to the market as the only step left would be final maps.

“It (the tentative map) includes everything such as water lines and even on what side of lots driveways will go,” Dell’Osso said.

Dell’Osso added there will likely be minor adjustments requested as various planned neighborhoods advance toward groundbreaking.

The 11,000-home planned community has 1,900 homes that are already occupied. There are another 500 homes that have been sold and are in various stages of construction.

Based on typical yields, once all homes sold are occupied River Islands will have around 8,500 residents or more than a quarter of Lathrop’s overall population.

If the current annual home sales pace of 500 homes continues, River Islands will exceed Ripon’s population of 17,122 within five years.

The overall project has an estimated 30-year buildout.