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This East Bay City Is On The Cusp Of A Housing Boom

Concord's General Plan calls for 360 units in a TOD project adjacent to the North Concord/Martinez BART station.

One of the East Bay's largest cities will soon take another step toward its plans for the production of tens of thousands of housing units over the next decade. 

For the city of Concord, that next step will be up to BART.

On Thursday, the transit agency's board of directors will hear its staff's recommendation that Brookfield Residential should lead the transit-oriented development of what's currently about 2,000 parking spaces and a bus station adjacent to the North Concord/Martinez BART station.

Since May, the agency has been deliberating between Brookfield, Essex Property Trust, The Michaels Organization and Novin Development Corp. (or some combination of the four) in what amounts to something of a do-over. 

After an original request for qualifications was issued last August, BART chose Brookfield and Novin to partner on a development plan, but had to reissue another request after the two developers couldn't agree to terms.

Now, based on largely the same RFQ and from the same list of developers, BART's TOD staff has chosen only Brookfield for the development of 360 units and 800K SF of office and other commercial space on about 20 acres of BART property.

"We were really looking for a developer who was qualified to deliver a large-scale project and someone who could finance a development of this caliber," BART TOD Program Manager Abigail Thorne-Lyman told Bisnow

A rendering of Lennar's vision for Concord

BART's ongoing plans for its 20-acre property are part of a 55-acre swath of land Concord has designated for transit-oriented development, an area on which the city has planned a total of 700 residential units and 3M SF of commercial space.

Moreover, that "TOD Core" portion of Concord's plan fronts a much more vast, far-reaching vision for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station, where the city is calling for 6M SF of commercial space and 13,000 housing units (25% of which will be affordable) to be built over the next 30 years across three phases.

Concord chose Lennar, which is also currently assisting the city in drafting the area's Specific Plan, as master developer for the project's Phase 1. That will likely entail about 4,400 housing units and 1.7M SF of commercial space across 500 acres over a 10-year build-out, according to Director of Community Reuse Planning Guy Bjerke. 

"The region has always seen this project as part of the solution to the housing crisis," Bjerke said. "We understand that this is one of the last really big projects in the Bay Area."

Even before vertical construction begins at the former naval site in as soon as 2023, Bjerke said the hope is that many of the city's downtown residential developments currently in the pipeline come to fruition. 

Concord has about 1,000 housing units under construction or approved in the opportunity zone alongside its downtown BART station, according to its opportunity zone prospectus. However, some projects stalled by the region's high construction costs (and, in one case, by a fire) will need to progress for the city to meet its housing goals in its downtown and beyond. 

"The hope is that the downtown developments are up and operational," Bjerke said. "Then it will be fairly easy to understand why people would shift onto the [former naval station] for the next series of housing opportunities."