• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

    Red Rock Island: A Unique Opportunity for Conservation or Development

    ByEmma Wolukau-Wanambwa

    Nov 20, 2023
    Red Rock Island: A Unique Opportunity for Conservation or Development

    Red Rock Island, the only privately owned island in San Francisco Bay, has recently been put up for sale at a price tag of $25 million. Spanning 5.8 acres, this property presents a truly unique but challenging opportunity for prospective buyers. Although undeveloped, the island falls in line with the growing trend of desalination and solar-panel system construction on other privately owned islands.

    Owner Brock Durning, who inherited Red Rock Island from his father and currently resides in Alaska, has made the difficult decision to sell the property in order to provide financial assistance to his elderly mother. Despite not having visited the island in recent years, Durning is hopeful that a buyer will recognize the exceptional potential of this remarkable piece of land.

    However, owning a private island does not come without its challenges, and Red Rock Island is no exception. The development goals for the island will face bureaucratic hurdles, as it falls under the jurisdiction of three different counties: Contra Costa, Marin, and San Francisco. Each county has control over specific portions of the island, making the process of residential development even more complicated. The steep terrain of Red Rock Island further adds to the time and effort that will be required for any construction projects.

    Adding to the island’s allure is its rich history. Red Rock Island was originally settled by Russian fur traders and later hosted former California Senator Selim Woodworth in the 1850s, although his attempt to homestead the land was unsuccessful. Notably, the island still features mine tunnels from a time when it was prized for its manganese-rich soil.

    Over the years, various ambitious ideas have been proposed for Red Rock Island, including private residences, a yacht harbor, a botanical garden, billboards, a casino, a hotel, and even a 25-story tower. While these ideas never came to fruition, they have contributed to the island being unofficially put up for sale multiple times in the past.

    For the first time, Red Rock Island has made its appearance on a multiple listing service, catching the attention of potential buyers. Despite the challenges involved in construction and access, given the lack of existing infrastructure or parking facilities, the island’s unique location holds immense appeal for those with visions for its future. Chris Lim of Christie’s International Real Estate, who is representing the property, is eager to find a prospective buyer who recognizes the truly exceptional nature of Red Rock Island, whether that be for conservation or potential development.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Is Red Rock Island accessible to the public for visiting or exploration?

    No, Red Rock Island is privately owned and not open to the public. Access to the island is restricted to authorized individuals only.

    2. Are there any specific zoning restrictions on Red Rock Island?

    Yes, the development of Red Rock Island will be subject to zoning regulations imposed by the three counties that have jurisdiction over the different portions of the island. These regulations can influence the types of development allowed on the island.

    3. What are the environmental considerations for Red Rock Island?

    Being a privately owned island, any development plans for Red Rock Island will need to take into account environmental conservation and sustainability. This includes considerations for the island’s unique ecosystem and its impact on natural resources.

    4. Are there any historical landmarks or cultural heritage sites on Red Rock Island?

    While Red Rock Island has a rich history, there are currently no recognized historical landmarks or cultural heritage sites on the island. However, the presence of mine tunnels from a bygone era contributes to its historical significance.

    5. Can I propose my own development plans for Red Rock Island?

    If you are interested in the potential development of Red Rock Island, it is advised to consult with the appropriate authorities and engage in discussions with the three counties that have jurisdiction over the island. This will help ensure compliance with zoning regulations and address any concerns related to infrastructure and access.