MARINA – The city of Marina could see another large-scale development take place within its borders as the City Council considers an agreement with Third Millennium Partners out of San Jose for the long-awaited Marina Station project on Armstrong Ranch in the northern portion of the city.
At its second of three meetings so far on the project, Council heard a presentation by the proposed developer, took additional public comment, and further discussed and questioned the developer as it moved through the process of coming to agreement. A third meeting on the topic is scheduled for Aug. 3.
“I do expect we’ll get a decision … unless there’s new information that comes up significant enough to delay beyond Aug. 3, which I do not expect,” said Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado.
The developer is seeking a Development Agreement with a 10-year extension toward the build-out of the project “to make the necessary investment to bring all the work to life,” said Dustin Bogue, CEO and partner at Third Millennium Partners who led the presentation on the project at the July 19 council meeting.
Bogue said his organization is asking the city to allow the approval of the document to continue moving forward with the three years of work and millions invested in the project so far.
Following a signed Development Agreement, other tasks would include approval of an affordable housing plan by October, approval of affordable housing and infrastructure plans by the end of the year, and approval of phase 1 improvement plans and final map in the spring of 2023. Construction of backbone infrastructure and phase 1 improvements would commence in the spring of 2023 and delivery of phase 1 homes in late 2024.
Marina Station is the 320-acre, 1,360-unit community that was approved by the Marina City Council in 2009. It will consist of 887 single-family units, and 473 multi-family units, 60,000 square feet of retail space with the potential for 120 jobs, 144,000 square feet of office space with the potential for 450 jobs, 652,000 square feet of industrial space with the potential for more than 600 jobs.
The specific plan designates 40 acres for parks and more than 100 acres of permanent open space.
Landwatch Monterey County has long supported the Marina Station project at Armstrong Ranch. As recently as September 2021 it submitted a letter with comments to the council including that the project is “an excellent example of Traditional Neighborhood Design,” and is “the best large-scale development ever proposed in Monterey County.” It cited the project’s site-centered growth within an incorporated city, traditional neighborhood development, and its environmental sustainability through preservation.
Existing project approvals include certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report, General Plan Amendment, Marina Station Specific Plan, Design Review of Specific Plan, Zoning Ordinance map amendment, Vesting Tentative Map, Development Agreement, Settlement Agreements, and an Updated Engineering and Plan deemed to be in Substantial Conformance.
The property was originally owned by the Armstrong family since the 1800s. The family entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Creekbridge Homes which gained entitlements in 2008 and Marina approved the project that same year. That agreement was terminated in 2017 and the current owners, Valle Del Sol Properties, LLC, purchased the property as part of a larger farming acquisition. They had planned to farm the property but the city said it could not because it is inside the city limits and has an existing entitlement and the city would like to see the project built.
According to Bogue, in 2019 the ownership group engaged Third Millennium Partners to act as developer and began advancing the entitlement. It has since been working with Marina city staff, Marina Coast Water District, Transportation Agency for Monterey County, Monterey-Salinas Transit, Fort Ord Regional Trail And Greenway, and all pertinent agencies to implement the specific plan.
The master plan for the project consists of very diverse housing types with the kind of socio-economic diversity the city desires, Bogue said.
Marina Station will provide about 272 deed-restricted units for at least 55 years with income-qualified units of affordable housing.
According to the presentation, prior to the recording of the first final map, the applicant shall secure City Council approval of a below-market rate housing agreement to ensure that a specified percentage of residential units are classified as affordable in a manner consistent with the housing element of the city general plan, including 95 moderate-income households at 120% of median income, 95 low income households at 80% of median income, 82 very-low-income households at 50% of median income. Below Market Rate homes will be dispersed throughout the project as inclusionary housing, likely a mix of rental and for-sale.
Delgado said that from his perspective there are issues that still need to be addressed such as how Marina Station is going to be reconfigured reflecting changes that have occurred since the project was first approved, what parks will be required to be built and how they will be paid for, if the project can utilize the existing Sand Mine Road for public access to the beach with the Cemex Lapis sand plant’s closure.
“There are other issues about changes that have happened to the project since 2008, the last time the City Council was involved,” said Delgado. “But all of those issues were addressed in the open session of the open public meetings.”
Bogue’s prior experience includes serving as regional vice president in charge of The West and Texas for Century Communities, founder, president and CEO of UCP, Inc., and founder and CEO of Benchmark Communities, developer of East Garrison.