San Francisco Bay’s only private island hits the real estate market – CBS News

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Purportedly won in a bet, the Bay Area’s only private island is up for sale with an asking price of $25 million. 

A tour of one of Chris Lim’s real estate listings in the San Francisco Bay Area requires a trip on the water. As the former president of Christie’s International Real Estate, he’s had his fair share of unique listings.

“I’ve been selling real estate for 21 years. I love a really interesting challenge,” he said. “A fire house, a church, a parking spot.”

But a $25,000,000 private island?

“This is my very first,” he said.

Lim is the listing agent for the only private island in the San Francisco Bay: Red Rock Island. It’s the giant rock that sits a stone’s throw away from the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. It’s a place most people in the Bay Area know of, but know little to nothing about.

Just ask Armando Flores, the CEO of North Bay Charters & Marine Services, who makes his living taking people out on the water.

“Almost every weekend. It’s a good spot – a lot of fish in the area here – good striper fishing, sightseeing, I bring people to take pictures for weddings,” he said. “People always ask, ‘Who’s the owner of this place? Who does it belong to?'”

Aside from a lot of birds, nobody lives on the island. But according to Lim, the 5.8 acre island does actually belong to a family, and it has served as an heirloom for decades.

“The island was acquired by my client, the sellers, many, many years ago through a bet,” Lim said. “It was a gem dealer who moved to Bangkok and a real estate attorney who had this bet that whoever lived the longest would acquire the island.”

Legend has it, nobody has lived on the island since the 1850’s, long before the San Francisco skyline sprouted up, a big selling point to Lim.

“It really is an iconic view,” he said. “It’s one of the most unique and iconic private islands in the entire world.”

Over the last 50 years, ideas to develop the island have never come to fruition. At one point in the 1980’s, there was talk of building a casino there.

“There have been in the past, unsolicited offers, for purchasing the island. But, this is the very first time it’s being offered to the general public,” Lim said.

And apparently, interested buyers are out there.

“It’s like selling a very rare painting,” he said. “They’ve been really serious. I think there are people who really have been intrigued and have been following the story of the island.”

He’s had agents fly in from Miami and New York to see it for themselves.

“We’ve had a lot of interest. We’ve had two offers. We’re working with an active offer right now for the island,” he said. “It’s not a typical transaction. But I will tell you, all the buyers who have been interested have been all cash.”

The feasibility of actually building something on Red Rock Island remains somewhat of a question, and building something could get complicated because of the red tape that likely would be involved due to the island’s geographic location.

“It is a little more complex because we’re in three counties – San Francisco, Marin, and Contra Costa,” Lim said.

He thinks there’s a good chance that whoever buys the island will likely decide to preserve the prized piece of the Bay.

“There has been a lot of interest in conserving the island and finding a buyer who wants to keep the island exactly as is,” he said. “That’s really who I’d like to find to be the buyer and next steward of this incredible, private island, Red Rock Island.”

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