By Meghan Hall
Plans for Delta Coves have been in the works since the 1980s, when Contra Costa County officials created and approved a development plan in 1989. Now, almost 30 years later, those plans are finally coming to fruition as Scottsdale, Ariz.-based DMB Development prepares to break ground on the model homes for the 560-residence community. Located on Bethel Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the project is a unique opportunity for developers and homeowners, given that the bulk of large-scale master plan development occurs further inland, far from the Bay Area’s waterways.
“We’re always looking for the next cool thing, and little by little we started to realize that geographically, it is one of those places that is on the doorstep of this huge preserve,” said Nick Taratsas, partner at DMB Development. “There will never be another waterfront project like this in the future.”
DMB Development became involved on the project two years ago this month, when the project’s property owners — Dune Real Estate, Colony Capital and Suncal — asked the developer to help them revision and rebrand the project after a series of starts and stops. DMB, which has been in business for 30 years, is known for its master planned club communities in unique locations like Hawaii and Arizona.
“They asked us to get involved in really extracting the value of the project, which is very rare,” explained Taratsas. “The development was missing the opportunity that leveraged the fact that there isn’t really anyone working on something like this on the water, and they really needed to have an up-branding and a cache that resembled the kind of things that DMB has done on all of its projects.”
According to Taratsas, this meant really capitalizing on the development’s proximity to water. When DMB began working on the project, the development team worked with Contra Costa County to change the housing product in order to push the living rooms toward the water, while also including plans for outdoor decks and private boat docks. DMB also worked to get approval to change the buildable lot sizes for the 310-acre project, in order to diversify even further the housing product available to buyers. The homes will range in size from about 1,400 to 4,000 square feet, and cost between $700,000 to $1.2 million.
“While the homes that were being considered would have been great in a standard inland subdivision, they didn’t connect to the water in any way,” said Taratsas.
Plans also include a 4,500 square foot clubhouse, called the Island Camp, complete with fitness facilities, a pool — with showers, lockers and cabanas — and a great room. A 3.5-mile trail loop is also part of the plans, and more than 1,000 miles of waterway are accessible from the Delta Coves community. A 230-slip marina is also slated for the development.
“There was a complete revisioning of the project. It hadn’t quite recognized itself as being wildly water centric,” Taratsas added.
Currently, Blue Mountain Homes is preparing to break ground on the smaller-sized homes in the development, those ranging from 1,800 to 2,200 square feet. Luxury home builder Davidson Communities had been contracted to build the community’s larger homes — those 2,600 square feet and up — as well as the custom homes planned for the development. Taratsas said that no builder has been contracted yet to construct the development’s middle-size housing product. However, DMB Development is confident that the model homes will be complete at the beginning of summer of this year, and that sales of the homes will start shortly thereafter. The community’s Island Club broke ground in November and will be completed mid-summer, said Taratsas.
In addition to the Bay Area’s strong market fundamentals, DMB believes that diversifying the community’s housing type will help in attracting a wide variety of buyers, the luxury buyer including families, empty nesters or those looking for second or vacation homes.
“I think the fundamentals of housing — proximity to jobs, commute times, schools—the fundamentals that fuel housing, are good,” said Taratsas. “The only caveat with that analysis is that in the club and luxury environment, a huge fraction of our clientele is different than those normal fundamentals.”
Taratsas explained that the homes in Delta Coves will be of a high standard, very amenitized, and well-priced compared to other housing divisions in the region in order to attract buyers outside the fold normally examined by market reports.
“We hope to entice an affluent buyer, buyers who love peace and security,” Taratsas continued. “The homebuilding market is good, and then it’s a plus-plus-plus as you add these other segments of the market that are not directly connected to those typical housing reports.”