Developer blocks $400 Point Molate land sale in new restraining order

The latest — and seemingly only — move in the City of Richmond’s effort to develop and revitalize the Point Molate shoreline is taking place in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

On June 9, counsel for Winehaven Legacy LLC, the developer who was set to build thousands of homes in a perpetually delayed $45 million project, asked the court to grant an injunction of temporary prohibition to prevent the transfer of ownership of the 270-acre property. .

The short-term order was granted the same day, according to court documents.

The land is currently set to be sold to the Guidiville Tribe of Pomo Indians and its developer, Upstream Point Molate LLC, for $400, after Richmond City Council voted May 17 to frustrate Winehaven’s plans to build 1,450 homes and 400,000 square feet of commercial space. .

This cheap land sale was described in a 2018 federal settlement agreement, after the tribe sued the city in 2012 for rejecting its proposal to build a mega-casino complex “with more slot machines than all the casinos of the south shore of Lake Tahoe” at Point Molate.

Winehaven is suing because they believe their project, which was first approved in September 2020, was unlawfully killed in bad faith – an allegation that the majority of city officials deny.

Garet O’Keefe, the tribe and Upstream’s attorney, told this news agency that Winehaven’s request and short-term restraining order “are expected.”

“Until (the court) has a chance to assess the issues after a more thorough briefing between the city and Winehaven,” O’Keefe said, “that’s okay.”

O’Keefe said he is still waiting to receive the order from the city on Thursday, but expects to return to court for a hearing on the matter within the next 30 days.

These latest legal filings come two weeks after Winehaven filed a lawsuit seeking $20 million in damages and the right to purchase the coastal property.

According to the 19-page complaint, the Irvine-based developer wants a jury to decide whether the board acted in bad faith and violated agreements when it voted 5-2 in May not to move forward with it. his plan to revitalize Point Molate, which acted as a former naval fuel storage site, a huge winery and a centuries-old fishing haven. Winehaven’s lawsuit alleges the November 2020 election produced a new council majority that “engaged in protracted delays and blocking tactics” that led to the collapse of the development agreement.

Four of the council members who voted against the project – known as the Richmond Progressive Alliance – did not believe Winehaven could develop the project without requiring even more funding from the city.

Winehaven and the city are scheduled to appear in court for trial on Sept. 19, according to court documents.