After several failed attempts, officials in Concord selected Brookfield Properties to develop the former Concord Naval Weapons Station into a vast residential and commercial hub.
The decision, unanimously approved by the Concord City Council, comes at a pivotal time for the city’s ambitions to revitalize the 2,300-acre disused property, the Mercury News reported.
The chosen plan envisions a sprawling community and transit-oriented development — currently the largest ongoing project of its kind in the Bay Area.
The ambitious project is expected to encompass half of the site’s total 5,050 acres, situated south of the still-operating Military Ocean Terminal Concord, which lies on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
In its proposal, Brookfield committed\ to make 25 percent of the housing on the inland site affordable, hiring 40 percent of construction workers from Contra Costa County, and prioritizing the connection of the community to a nearby BART station during the initial construction phase.
For years, Concord’s desire to rejuvenate the Navy-owned land had encountered myriad setbacks, including collapsed agreements with previous prospective master developers.
Brookfield, however, garnered widespread backing from city officials and stakeholders.
Mayor Laura Hoffmeister expressed confidence in Brookfield’s proposal, stating that it’s “by far the best.”
Brookfield’s approach has been influenced by input from over 30 community groups and stakeholders, with the aim of infusing new vitality and exceptional experiences into Concord. The project holds great significance in addressing the East Bay’s housing shortage, potentially creating a self-contained new urban center within the city. Additionally, around 2,600 acres of the site are earmarked for the Thurgood Marshall Regional Park.
Before the U.S. Navy transfers ownership of the site to Concord, a cleanup operation to remove toxic chemicals from past military activities is in progress. Simultaneously, the Environmental Protection Agency is evaluating the soil for hazardous substances.
Despite the substantial progress, the completion of the final construction phases is anticipated to take another 30 to 40 years. The council’s next steps involve finalizing legal agreements detailing timelines, costs, and development strategies. The council is set to reconvene in September to consider these agreements.
This decision marks a turning point in the lengthy journey to redefine the former naval outpost. While the project has had its share of controversies and divided opinions among Concord residents, the main concern expressed during the approval was whether Brookfield would fulfill its commitments. The withdrawal of Housing America Partners’ proposal just before the recent decision left Brookfield as the sole option on the table.
— Ted Glanzer