North Concorde BART housing crisis as developer moves in

Concord – The endless curse of large-scale housing development has fallen again in this East Bay city, this time at North Concord BART station, where plans to replace a sprawling parking lot with 360 new homes appear to be dead.

Brookfield Residential — a division of multinational real-estate giant Brookfield Asset Management — was in talks with BART to cover about 20 acres of parking space with new housing, a quarter of which would have been listed at affordable prices. .

But three years after securing the project, Brookfield walked away and gave no formal reason for its departure, BART officials said this week. Representatives for Brookfield did not respond to multiple interview requests.

“People leave for a variety of reasons and priorities change within companies,” said BART director Mark Foley, whose district has North Concord station. We can avoid a repeat in the future.”

The failed deal is a blow to the city’s efforts to meet California’s stringent housing requirements and tackle the statewide housing crisis.

And it’s yet another example of the struggle by Concord and other Bay Area cities to find private developers that can stomach low profit margins and produce much-needed affordable housing as labor, materials and demand drive construction costs. can.

BART passengers walk through the parking lot at North Concord BART station after parking their cars free of charge on Friday, October 24, 2014. (Dan Rosenstrach/Bay Area Newsgroup)

Last month the city council had given approval temporary master developer Former Naval Weapons Station – East Bay’s most ambitious housing project – a long extension after developer attempt to acquire property rights from the city before providing any detailed plans for the proposed 13,000-household project.

The council meets next Tuesday to discuss its future housing goals. An employee agenda report incorrectly projected 776 housing units at North Concord station – most iterations of the now-stalled project planned for 360 homes.

Whatever the numbers, BART’s vision to replace the rarely used, often deserted North Concord station will now be on hold indefinitely. The agency has taken up housing projects at several of its stations in the region, with the help of A state law that fast-tracks new transit-oriented housing past otherwise lengthy public processes.

The property is directly adjacent to the former Naval Weapons Station site, which has faced many obstacles to getting a committed developer on board. BART was working with city officials to develop a vision of an adjacent neighborhood where residents could easily walk from their homes to the station.

Now, Brookfield’s mysterious exit has brought the project back to square one.

BART director Deborah Allen said in an interview that the agency should stop building homes on the Concorde property “until there is a clear direction for the Naval Weapons Station”.

“I don’t think it makes sense to do the Bart one first,” Allen said. “But we are obliged to (get it done) because we have most of the board members who want to develop houses on the parking lot.”

Bart had previously chosen a partnership of Brookfield and Walnut Creek-based developer Iman Novin to build the new housing.

Later, the relationship between Brookfield and Novin dissolved, and the two developers competed against each other for the project, with Brookfield emerging as the winner in 2019.

Novin, who previously ran for Walnut Creek City Council, later Contract lawsuit filed against Brookfieldand both sides reached an undisclosed agreement Earlier this year, around the same time that Brookfield told Bart he was leaving the housing development. Novin’s office could not be reached for comment.

The BART project isn’t Brookfield’s lone Concorde effort. The developer fell short of being chosen to develop the Naval Weapons Station last summer, when the city council voted 3-2 in favor of locally based Concorde First Partners – affiliated with the controversial Seino family of developers – a global on the corporation.

“That was one of the issues with Brookfield,” Concord councilman Eddie Birson said in an interview. “They’ve had this North Concorde BART deal for a while and they didn’t do anything for the city with it.”

Earlier this year, amid a crisis point in the city’s relationship with Concord First, councilwoman Carlin Obringer suggested that Brookfield and another former candidate for the Naval Weapons Station project work out agreements to first hire local workers. was signed and may still be available for the job.

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