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Developer of the Bay Area’s largest proposed housing project wants to house more people

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Concord First Partners is the group selected last year. Redevelop the 2,225-acre Concord Naval Weapons Station, proposes a 27% increase in the number of units from 12,272 to 15,585, according to a proposed “term sheet” compiled by developers and city planning staff. The term sheet will be submitted to Concord City Council for approval on January 7th.

In an environment of stubbornly high construction costs and falling home prices, the Concord project is the latest development in the Bay Area looking to increase unit count to revive a stalled project.Other East Bay Megaprojects Underway Additional unit capacity includes Brooklyn Basin When Alameda Point.

In addition to adding an additional 3,313 units, the builders will also make 879 of the project’s 25% affordable units into “junior accessory units,” i.e. backyard cottages, rather than townhomes or apartment complexes. We are proposing to allow .

Guy Bjerke, Concord’s director of economic development and base reuse, said it was clear as early as last spring that Concord First Partners was struggling to come up with a financially viable development. I was.

“I was asking them to tell me what they needed to complete the project,” he said. “This summer they finally said, ‘You know, I think we know how to make this thing work. We will do some affordable housing through our housing units. With those two things and a few small changes, I think this project will do well.”

The new termsheet comes more than three years after previous developers Lennar and FivePoint walked away from the project after failing to reach an agreement with the Contra Costa County Building Trades Council. The plan called for 12,200 new homes, 2,700 acres of parkland, and 6 million square feet of commercial and academic space.

A year ago, the Concord City Council chose the Concord First Partners group over two other builders, including Brookfield Properties, one of the world’s largest developers. Concord First Partners shino familyhas a long track record of lawsuits and controversies in Contra Costa County.

Last April, Concord First Partners wrote to the agency overseeing the redevelopment of a closed naval base, saying that the combination of infrastructure costs, community benefits, and land-use requirements “all add up from an investment perspective. make the project non-executable from

“We have revisited our assumptions many times and applied the actual construction costs based on our knowledge of the area,” the letter said. “The bottom line is that this project, analyzed in its current form, does not work for responsible development organizations.”

But with the additional units and ADUs, those concerns appear to have been alleviated, Bjerke said.

“I think it’s a pretty good term sheet,” says Bjerke. “I hope the council and the public will support it because it will get us back on track.”

However, term sheets are unlikely to pass smoothly through the political process. Already, affordable housing and environmental groups are questioning the details.

Seth Adams, conservation director for the 50-year-old organization Save Mt. seems to decrease.

“We will be paying close attention to the significant increase in unit numbers and where they have proposed to put additional housing,” he said. The community has been working for almost 15 years. We expect[developers]to nickel and dime out on the streets and cut the public good. ”

According to Gloria Bruce, executive director of the East Bay Housing Organizations, the plan to meet some of the affordable housing requirements with so-called ADUs (which would make the entire project 25% below market value) is perhaps a controversial move. There will be room. Developers are proposing to provide about $187 million worth of affordable housing padding and infrastructure, with another $50 million to keep them below market value. We have funded 3,020 units.

“I think it raises a lot of questions about ADU’s strategy,” she said. “I think there are a lot of questions about how we monitor the affordability of a unit that is part of a private residence. How do we make it affordable to rent?”

Meanwhile, Bruce said developers continue to plan to price affordable units at 80% of the area’s median income, which is currently $109,000 for a family of four in Contra Costa County. said he was pleased to

Matt Regan, senior vice president of public policy for the Bay Area Council, a pro-business group, said the increase in population density was a welcome change.

“They have to do something to make the development math work,” he said. “Nobody wants to build unless they can make a profit.”

Early in the masterplan’s planning process, Regan said, the city imposed very rich community benefits, including schools, parks, affordable housing, playgrounds, and wall-to-wall union labor. Start with a deep hole.

“The history of this project is that it has oscillated from one disaster to another for more than a decade. The city has a lot to bear for the lack of progress,” he said. . “The good sign here is that the city seems to be on the right track. They seem to understand that they have to find a way to make the project economically viable.”

JK Dineen is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @sfjkdineen

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