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Buckler Island Offered Up For $75 Million


  • Buckler Island Offered Up For $75 Million

    An entire private island in the San Francisco Bay has hit the market for $75 million.

    Article by Andrew Chamings:

    Point Buckler’s 50 acres of swampy marshland on the southern edge of Grizzly Bay in Solano County last changed hands for just $150,000 in 2011. The huge price hike may have something to do with the recent $800 million land grab by Flannery Associates — the group of ultra-wealthy Silicon Valley tech moguls who are controversially trying to build a brand new city outside Fairfield.

    The listing blurb for Point Buckler Island appears to be attempting to catch the eye of the new city builders. “The only privately owned island in the San Francisco Bay area is now for sale — near the future Flannery utopian city planned for Solano County,” it reads. (The claim that it’s the only privately owned island in the bay is not quite accurate: Red Rock Island under the Richmond Bridge is also not public land.)

    All images courtesy John Sweeney / Keller Williams

    The current owner, John Sweeney, also mentions Flannery in his social media bio. “Owner of Point Buckler Island — a tiny island in San Francisco Bay that could block development of Flannery Associates new California Forever City,” his X profile reads as of Wednesday afternoon.

    The island that sits between the Sacramento Delta and the San Francisco Bay has been described as “shaped like a westbound tortoise.”

    “In the old days, it used to be a duck hunting club, and most recently a kiteboarding club,” listing agent Marianne Bordogna told SFGATE. “It’s a unique location. The scenery and hills are just beautiful out there.”

    Outside of hunting and water sports, Point Buckler also has a history of lawsuits over land use.

    In 2016, Sweeney was accused of illegally building a levee to fill the island’s protected wetland ecosystem and fined $2.8 million by local authorities. Sweeney appealed the fine. That appeal made its way to the California Supreme Court, which declined to take the case in 2021, upholding the lower court ruling. He denied the allegations and told the San Francisco Chronicle this week that “a wealthy person could craft a deal (to remedy the regulatory problem).”

    Another curiosity of the island is its size. For years, Point Buckler was described as 39 acres, but the current listing marks it at 50. That discrepancy may be due to the breaking and building of levees over the years, rather than a real estate listing exaggeration. Either way, it seems the island will be vulnerable to rising sea levels.

    There are currently two helipads and a permitted deep-water dock, according to the listing, which calls the land “ready to accommodate your favorite weekend recreational watercraft or mega yacht.”

    When asked why the marketing of the island is appealing to the billionaires trying to build a new city further inland in Solano County, Bordogna pointed to Point Buckler’s location. “Well, they’re going to need water,” she said.

    California Forever, the group that is attempting to develop a city on the land purchased through Flannery Associates’ LLC, did not return a request for comment when asked whether the island is in the scope of its plans.


    Article by Kurtis Alexander

    A small private island on the fringes of San Francisco Bay went up for sale this week for the pretty price of $75 million.

    Billed as a “great escape for sports gatherings or corporate events,” the roughly 50-acre plot, largely undeveloped with big bay views and assured solitude, is one of the few islands in the Bay Area not owned and protected by the state or federal government.

    Known as Point Buckler Island, the private property sits in the brackish waters of Suisun Marsh, just east of the Carquinez Strait where the San Francisco Bay quietly transitions into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The area is popular with kiteboarders and wildlife watchers.
    “It’s an idyllic site,” said Marianne Bordogna, the listing agent with Keller Williams Realty. “If someone just wanted to have their own island and get away from everyone else, it’s a beautiful place.”
    The property, though, does have limitations. First off, you have to have a boat or helicopter to get there. (The island is equipped with two helipads and a 400-foot deep-water dock.)

    Also, what can be built there, if anything more, remains to be seen. The owner, John Sweeney, who ran a private kiteboarding outfit on the island, got into trouble with state and federal regulators a few years ago when he began fixing old levees in an effort to develop his club. Officials said the work interfered with tidal flows and wildlife habitat, which Sweeney denies.

    The kiteboarding operation didn’t evolve beyond large shipping containers and built-up patios that served as lounges and guest quarters.

    The property is zoned MP1, or marsh preserve 1, according to the real estate company, which says it could allow for the construction of at least one home, contingent on resolving issues with the levees.

    Sweeney said he’s selling the island because he ran out of money to clear up the situation with the levees. He estimates that the work he did on the levees cost him $9 million in fines.

    “A wealthy person could craft a deal (to remedy the regulatory problem),” Sweeney said.

    Sweeney bought the parcel in 2011 for $150,000. The island had long existed as a duck-hunting club before that.

    Bordogna said the “small universe of people” who will see huge opportunity in the property might include a well-heeled kiteboarder or another water enthusiast.

    The property listing also notes that the island is near the mega-development proposed by Flannery Associates, the high-profile group of Silicon Valley investors hoping to build a new city on agricultural land in Solano County.

    “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” Bordogna said. “I mean when do you get a chance to buy a private island?”
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