Timeline approved for massive Concord Naval Weapons Station development

CONCORD — Drafts of detailed renderings and land-use plans for the massive transformation envisioned for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station should finally be ready for community input by Nov. 14.

That’s a rapid acceleration for a project that’s taken nearly two decades and three different master developers to conceive the latest billion-dollar vision: tens of thousands of homes and millions of square-feet of schools, offices, shops and restaurants.

Up until now, that vision has more closely resembled a mirage since the turn of the century, largely thanks to a history of labor disputes, power plays and allegations of backroom deals.

The current, bold timeline was unanimously approved during a special meeting Tuesday, when the Concord City Council — acting as the Local Reuse Authority — officially inked an exclusive negotiating agreement with Brookfield Properties — the first of many multiple legal agreements that will clarify final timelines, costs and strategies to develop the site’s remaining 2,350 acres of barren land.

The aim is to square away all of these details outlined in a “Term Sheet” for elected officials’ approval within the first few weeks of 2024.

Some of those conditions included promises to designate at least 25% of housing on the decommissioned Navy base site as affordable, hire 40% of its construction workforce from within Contra Costa County and mitigate hazardous contamination found on the property — a portion of land south of the still-existing Military Ocean Terminal Concord, which sits on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

If all goes according to plan, that process will kickstart a 24-month timeline for the developer, Brookfield Properties, to hammer out several crucial planning documents, including a Specific Plan and Environmental Impact Report. At the same time, the city will tackle an Economic Development Conveyance agreement with the U.S. Navy to officially transfer ownership of the property to the city.

Brookfield’s team expects to have all the necessary entitlements ready for final approvals by Concord’s Planning Commission and City Council by Jan. 2026.

While that is a lot to turn around in such a short amount of time, Josh Roden, president of Brookfield’s Northern California land and housing division, was so confident that he signed the agreement before Tuesday’s 6pm meeting began.

“Yes, (this) is an aggressive timeframe, but we’re up to the challenge of doing that,” Roden said. “We’re extremely excited — we’ve already started meeting with some of the stakeholders, and we’re happy to be here and look forward to creating an amazing new addition to Concord.”

Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister chimed in to add that the city is allowed to approve administrative extensions for a few weeks, if paperwork is taking longer than expected.

Tuesday’s contract also requires the developer to pay $250,000 upfront for any costs the city incurs during the next 120 days of work, as well as reimburse the city for all upcoming staff time and expenses needed to process the extensive list of paperwork that still needs to be discussed between now and Jan. 2026.

Additionally, all Brookfield staff are forbidden from making any campaign contributions to current and future candidates for the Concord City Council — including councilmembers running for other offices — during that timeframe. It’s unclear if Brookfield’s myriad business subsidiaries are also barred from funding political campaigns.

Despite this forward momentum, current timelines for final phases of construction are not expected to be completed for another 30 to 40 years.

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