August 30, 2013: Marin IJ Article

Early work under way to develop San Rafael’s Loch Lomond Marina

By Megan Hansen
Marin Independent Journal
POSTED: 08/30/2013 06:06:18 PM PDT

Six years after the San Rafael City Council approved a mixed-use development
at Loch Lomond Marina, a new developer has started work to make the plans a
reality.

Mounds of dirt are piling up at the marina on Point San Pedro Road in
preparation for initial grading and excavation work that will start in the
next few weeks. The plan by 2016 is to develop 81 residential units, 22,250
square feet of commercial space, a grocery store, two parks and an updated
breakwater area at the popular marina.

Nader Mansourian, San Rafael public works director, said the developer still
needs to finish some paperwork before the piles of dirt can be compacted in
preparation to build the single-family units and town homes.

“They can stockpile the dirt, but they still have to finish their permit to
do the grading they need to do,” Mansourian said.

The marina, one of the North Bay’s biggest with more than 510 berths,
includes more than a dozen parcels that stretch over 29.5 acres of dry
upland, a 37.5-acre marina basin and about 64 acres of San Rafael Bay.
It was sold in March to Woodridge Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based real
estate development and investment company, after Los Angeles-based owner
Oaktree Capital Management spent years creating the development’s concept
and obtaining permits. Now Marina Village Associates, an affiliate of
Woodridge Capital Partners, is moving forward with the project.

Todd Wright, a representative for the marina owner, said the planned
development, called the Village at Loch Lomond Marina, was a controversial
project when it was first approved in 2007 and the owner is taking care to
work with both the neighbors and the city to make it a success.
“We’re working through 50 pages of city conditions for the project,” Wright
said. “We set up a phone number to call if neighbors have complaints.”

Alan Schaevitz, with the Point San Pedro Road Coalition, said neighbors
aren’t thrilled about the new construction and plan to make sure the work
doesn’t do undue harm to the community as far as noise, traffic and dust are
concerned.

He said neighbors have outstanding concerns about the project.
“We still feel the density of housing is greater than it should be,”
Schaevitz said. “Long term, we think the whole design is ill thought-out in
regards to global warming.”

However, he said it will be nice to see the fallow ground landscaped and
improvements made to the breakwater area.

The first phase of the project will take place through July 2014 and
includes preparing half the site for homes by placing a 4-foot layer of dirt
in the center of the marina property. This dirt sits atop bay mud and is
anticipated to compact the soil in preparation to bear the weight of the
homes.

In addition, a new store for the popular Andy’s Market will be built on the
opposite side of the marina from where it is now on the eastern section. The
store will be slightly smaller, but closer to the stoplight on Point San
Pedro Road. Work will also be done to excavate and replace soil at the
former gas station site on the corner of Point San Pedro Road and Loch
Lomond Drive. Main roads, utilities, park areas, breakwater improvements and
the placement of fencing around nearby wetlands will be completed.

The second phase will last through July 2015 and includes moving Andy’s
Market to its new location, placing more dirt on the other half of the site
where homes will be built and building the first 40 homes.
Wright said work will also be done to excavate and replace soil at a former
dry cleaning site on the eastern portion of the property.

“We have some solvent in the soil we have to remove,” Wright said.
The last phase will last through July 2016 and will involve removing any
excess dirt and building the remaining 41 homes.

During the construction process, Wright said many of the businesses in the
marina will need to relocate until their final buildings are complete.
Randy Cranmer, owner of Windjammer yacht and ship brokers, has been at the
same location in the marina since 1980. His building is slated for
demolition under the new project and he has about 90 days to pack up his
office and move to a construction trailer for the next couple of years.
He said he’s concerned about losing foot traffic during the construction
period, but is optimistic about the final product.

“It’s going to be pretty nice,” Cranmer said. “We could look at those homes
as 81 prospects to buy yachts and put them in their back yard at the
marina.”

Project approvals will be in effect for the development until August 2016
after state officials granted time extensions for subdivision maps
throughout California, according to San Rafael Planning Manager Paul Jensen.
Beyond the piles of dirt, Wright said the first real indication of
construction will be seen very soon when a 20- by 30-foot hole is dug 10
feet into the ground on the edge of Loch Lomond Drive, signaling the start
of soil excavation work at the old gas station site.

“We have to do a little more remediation because we have to bring the dirt
to a residential quality,” Wright said. “We’ll be working with PG&E to
reroute a gas line in that area.”

Contact Megan Hansen via email at mhansen@marinij.com or via Twitter
athttp://twitter.com/hansenmegan.