What’s the Concord Naval Weapons Station?
Nestled along the shores of Suisun Bay, the Concord Naval Weapons Station hosts 2,300 acres of land. Ever since the Navy abandoned it in 1999, the City of Concord has wanted to develop it into 13,000 units of housing and millions of square feet of commercial space. But development has been prolonged for years and has raised concerns among citizens, agencies, and other stakeholders.
Since the Concord Naval Weapons Station closed in 2005, Greenbelt Alliance has worked to protect the land—an area double the size of Golden Gate Park—from sprawl, while encouraging climate-smart housing development and preservation of open space.
We, along with several partners, including East Bay Housing Organizations, the Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County, Save Mount Diablo, and Monument Impact, make up the Community Coalition for a Sustainable Concord and are committed to the best possible outcome for this Reuse Project.
What’s the Latest?
On Saturday, August 26th, the City of Concord had another weekend morning special session to review applications for a master developer to take the lead on the Concord Naval Weapons Site. The meeting prior, they had let the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with Concord First Partners (CFP) expire, kicking off a new search for a master developer.
The city council selected Brookfield Properties as the master developer—the third time a developer has been selected since this process began. Unfortunately, Brookfield was the only developer who submitted a complete application. While having more candidates would have provided a more robust process and afforded Concord the opportunity to consider the best options, we look forward to engaging with our coalition partners and Brookfield to develop the best possible development for Concord and the East Bay.
Our Work So Far
Greenbelt has been involved with this project for over a decade. In July of 2019, 2,200 acres of the base went to the East Bay Regional Parks District. With much more land at the site yet to be developed, we will continue to monitor the project and advocate for access to parks and green spaces, as well as designs that reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions through the expansion of public transit, walking, and biking. We have also advocated to ensure the term sheet included 25% of the housing units be deed-restricted.
When Concord First Partners proposed using non-restricted Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) to reach their affordable housing goal, we advocated against that. When CFP proposed reducing greenspace despite increasing housing units, we joined Save Mount Diablo in pushing back. After Concord First Partners proved that they weren’t operating in good faith (after claiming they would provide 25% affordable housing units despite not ensuring the units went to the people who need them), we joined many of our coalition partners in asking Concord officials to let the ENA expire.
As one of the potentially largest projects for decades to come, this site presents the greatest opportunity to create a sustainable and resilient community. The design, if implemented correctly, could serve as a model for other communities who are looking to the future.
However, the selection of a master developer is just the beginning. After the selection of the master developer and approval of the term sheet, the city will then begin its engagement process to develop the “specific plan.” While an “area plan” provides the vision for what a community wants to see in a project, the specific plan goes into greater detail and provides the specific zoning and uses that must be followed.
In the near future, we’ll see the developer and City of Concord begin its community engagement process to develop the specific plan. We will be there to hold the developer to the area plan and your public comments and feedback will be a valuable source of input that we would love to support!
Why is This Important?
The Concord Reuse Project is a crucial development to help alleviate the crippling housing crisis in the Bay Area. The Project is slated to deliver over 12,000 homes, including 25% affordable, which is significant when considering that the latest RHNA allocations mandate that Concord plan to accommodate over 3,000 units of low and very low-income housing. It will also boost the region’s overall climate resilience by adopting strategies to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. It is located right next to the North Concord BART station and offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to locate thousands of new homes in a climate-resilient, transit-oriented location.
This is precisely the kind of transit oriented mixed-use housing we need to advance to create climate-resilient communities for current and future residents in Contra Costa County and the Bay Area.