Bay Area/ Oakland/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on May 27, 2024
Bay Area Pastor Buys Property Fully Submerged in Alameda Lagoon, Sight UnseenSource: Google Street View

A crab named Sebastian once told us, "Under the sea, darling it's better, down where it's wetter, take it from me."

A Bay Area man might just believe that catchy children's song, after buying a property that is literally underwater and was listed for nearly four times more than he paid. The property, located at 610 Grand Street in Alameda, was acquired sight unseen for $100,100 by a San Lorenzo pastor, who did not realize his investment was submerged in a lagoon until it was far too late, SFGate reported.

The lot promises scenic vistas, but not the kind you can build a white picket fence around, "I was like, ‘Oh no,’" real estate agent April Jones said in a statement obtained by KTVU, "I'm like, what is this?". While the property is zoned for residential use, any potential development would be a logistical challenge. The current zoning restrictions prohibit obstructing navigation in the lagoon and require maintenance on the waterway to allow for continuous flow.

Despite now being listed for $400,000, the property requires would-be developers to navigate red tape, including seeking approval from a slew of regulatory bodies such as the city of Alameda, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other environmental agencies. Jones believes a platform of some kind could be built over the easement area; additionally, owners would possibly rely on a dinghy for lagoon traversal, according to KTVU.

Still, despite its aqueous nature, the lot has potential upsides. It is located near well-regarded schools and community amenities, with a bustling shopping center and airport within minutes. Homes in the vicinity command upwards of $4 million, making the property's $400,000 listing price seem like a bargain, if not for its damp disposition. Jones told ABC7, "I’ve had some unusual properties in my career, but this was a first."

The pastor, who saved for years to make a property investment, told KTVU of his unfortunate predicament, "So I started the bidding." Since the saga unfolded, the Alameda County tax assessor has reminded buyers that due diligence is paramount, a cautionary tale underscoring the importance of thorough research before making a real estate purchase. While attempts have been made to resell the property, the right buyer is yet to surface. Jones encouraged property buyers with a succinct tip, "I mean, first of all, if you're intending to purchase it, any property – even through a tax lien, you know, try and drive by and see where it's physically located."