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

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, December 3, 2022

“The Bay Area’s largest proposed housing development may be growing quite a bit.

“Concord First Partners, the group picked last year to redevelop the 2,225-acre Concord Naval Weapons Station, is proposing to increase the number of units by 27 percent, from 12,272 to 15,585, according to a proposed ‘term sheet’ that the developer and city planning staff have put together. 

“In addition to adding 3,313 more units, the builder is proposing that it be allowed to make 879 of the project’s 25 percent affordable units ‘junior accessory dwelling units’ — in other words, backyard cottages — rather than townhomes or apartments in multi-family buildings.

“A year ago, the Concord City Council picked the Concord First Partners group over two other builders, one of which was Brookfield Properties, among the largest developers in the world. Concord First Partners is led by the Seeno family, which has a long track record of lawsuits and controversy in Contra Costa County.

“It is unlikely, however, that the term sheet will breeze through the political process. Already, affordable housing and environmental groups are questioning its details.

“ ‘The bottom line is that the Seenos and Concord First Partners are ignoring big parts of the area plan that the community has worked on for almost 15 years. We expect to see (the developer) nickel and dime the city and cut the public benefits,’ [said Seth Adams, conservation director of the 50-year-old organization Save Mt. Diablo].

“ ‘I think we are going to have a lot of questions about the ADU strategy,’ [said Gloria Bruce, executive director of the East Bay Housing Organizations]. ‘I think we are going to have a lot of questions about how you monitor the affordability of units that are part of private homes. How can you ensure that they will be rented out at affordable rates?’

“On the other hand, Bruce said that she is pleased that the developer still plans on pricing the affordable units at 80 percent of area median income.”

Read the full article here.  (~5 min.)

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