REMINDER: UPDATE: Concord City Council to Discuss Requests of Firm Competing for Naval Weapons Station Reuse Project

March 28, 2016 10:00 am · 26 comments

City of Concord

Before the Concord City Council picks a master developer on a $6 billion reuse project early next month — after the selection was put on hold by accusations of impropriety — another meeting will be held tonight regarding a competing firm’s requests.

The City Council will convene in its chambers at 6:30 p.m. to consider a pair of requests made by Catellus Development Corp., one of two firms vying for a contract to redevelop the 5,046-acre Concord Naval Weapons Station site, city officials said.

The firm has asked for changes to its Agreement to Negotiate and Disposition and Development Agreement Term Sheet along with a request that the City Council return a $250,000 good faith deposit if the changes are not made, city officials said.

City officials were not immediately able to clarify what the changes were or if this might have an effect on the selection process.

The selection process was put on hold in September when Catellus wrote a letter to the city manager making allegations that its competitor, Lennar Urban, improperly lobbied City Councilman and then-Mayor Tim Grayson.

The firm also raised questions about the fact that a recommendation in its favor was removed from a final staff report regarding the developer selection.

The allegations were investigated by Michael Jenkins, an independent attorney hired after the suicide of City Attorney Mark Coon on Oct. 6, who was previously drafting a report on the allegations.

Jenkins’s report, released in February, concluded that there was merit to the allegations that Lennar made contributions through proxies to Grayson’s state Assembly campaign, constituting a non-legal definition of lobbying.

Although no evidence was found that Grayson was aware that the contributions were connected to Lennar, he later recused himself from the selection process.

The report left it up to the City Council to decide whether to proceed by disqualifying Lennar from the selection process.

The City Council in a meeting on Feb. 23 voted to allow Lennar to continue in the selection process, saying they wanted to consider the proposals on their merits and that it was in the city’s interest to have multiple bidders.

Mayor Laura Hoffmeister and Councilmembers Dan Helix and Edi Birsan are the only people tasked with the selection after the withdrawal of Grayson and Vice Mayor Ron Leone, who recused himself because state law says he has real property interest in the outcome since he lives within 500 feet of the project.

They are slated to come to a decision after Catellus and Lennar make presentations and public comment is heard during an April 5 meeting.

Expecting a large turnout, the meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Concord Senior Center at 2727 Parkside Circle instead of the usual City Council chambers.

The meeting will have to be continued in the City Council chambers on April 13 if a decision is not reached on April 5.

Well Folks March 28, 2016 at 10:23 AM

What decision…………..Lennar has already bought and paid for the “privilege” of developing the site.

annon March 28, 2016 at 1:39 PM

I think it is wrong that the entire city council is not responsible for voting on this decision.

Monty Abballo March 28, 2016 at 1:47 PM

Since it looks like Lennar is the last standing developer that was clearly chosen by proper non-objective procedure, maybe it’s time to start naming some of the subdivisions with some catchy, cutesy, homey, names that describe the beautiful land that the development will be built on. You know, like “Willow Glen”, or “Saddlebrook”, or “Deer Valley”. But with names that describe this land. Like, oh I don’t know, “Missile Meadows”, “Ammo Glen”, “Bunker Hills”, “Napalm Knolls”, or how ’bout, “Corrupt Crossings”

Redd187 March 28, 2016 at 2:36 PM

freakin hilarious. Id prefer the 2 bedroom model 3 in the ” Napalm Knolls” Neighborhood.

Vandy March 28, 2016 at 2:36 PM

100% open space and park. No condos please. I challenge the city council to find a way to compensate the navy for the land without paving it over. Clean it up, make it all into a park. “Port Chicago Memorial Park” with hiking trails adjacent to the BART and North Concord. Folks will get off at the North Concord BART to go hiking rather than having to drive over to Bailey road. No more traffic, no more light pollution. And North Concord gets to keep its quality of life.

Harold Diaz March 28, 2016 at 3:57 PM

Catullus should run for the hills. they are ahead of the game to let lennar have it.

Things could only get worse for Catellus.

Good luck lennar !! Have fun.

KAD March 28, 2016 at 3:59 PM

Monty – That is so funny. Thanks,

No Excuses March 28, 2016 at 5:45 PM

Of course, at this point, the best solution would be to simply allow BOTH Catellus and Lennar to submit their requested/proposed changes — look at what’s left, keep their good-faith deposits, delay the April decision while the original “experts” weigh the new term sheets. Above all – keep Bjerke’s hands out of the decision making.

Tendril March 28, 2016 at 6:39 PM

#3, I nominate your post for “Best Comment of 2016”.

ChampagneKitty March 28, 2016 at 7:10 PM

I am watching the city council meeting from home.

No Excuses March 28, 2016 at 8:00 PM

Maybe they should have had their Brown Act RE-Training before tonight’s meeting. There is nothing in the agenda to indicate that they should/could even discuss ANYTHING regarding what they could/should consider for Lennar. This meeting should have been strictly concerning Catellus’ request. Then, if the SSSt hits a fan–you deal with.

KAD March 28, 2016 at 8:22 PM

No excuses – I just said the same thing to my husband.

KAD March 28, 2016 at 8:51 PM

Surprise, surprise – Lennar wins.

FED UP March 28, 2016 at 8:59 PM

I’m with Vandy! 100% Open Space. If they develop CNWS, trying to get around Concord will be worst than it is trying to get around, Pittsburg, Antioch Oakley and Brentwood. Concord residents, you have no clue how horribly this development will affect your ability to do the most simple errand.

No Excuses March 28, 2016 at 9:11 PM

Here is the Eber article that he handed to City Council tonight. Truer words were never spoken…. City Council should have taken a break for time to read it. Please, remember Birsan’s scrambled brain comments throughout this whole fiasco — when you vote again for City Council. He should keep his nose in the Monument Corridor and leave the billion dollar decisions to people who don’t base their actions on board game rules of engagement.

KAD March 28, 2016 at 10:33 PM

City Staff can’t handle the contracts. I hope they are smart enough to hire good qualified firms to handle this. Michael Wright is qualified and I guess still working on this as part of a contract with the City. The City Manager needs to go.

Hope Johnson March 28, 2016 at 10:56 PM


I have to disagree with you on this one point. Lennar did not win – rather, Birsan and Hoffmeister sold out Concord.

No Excuses March 28, 2016 at 11:33 PM

“Staff” is Bjerke and Barrone with guidance from the attorney. What Birsan should have asked: “Do all of the hired consultants agree with your recommendation to just send Catellus on their way in exchange for a check and a promise to go quietly–and did they agree with your recommendation to keep Lennar in the running even after the investigation confirmed their corrupt actions?”

Even Bjerke hesitated in embarrassment when he admitted publicly that “staff” making such a huge recommendation was really just Barrone and himself.

KAD March 28, 2016 at 11:57 PM

Hope – You are correct. I just sent you an email. I hope I got the email address correct this time.

Paul Poston March 29, 2016 at 12:31 AM

@KAD and Hope

I hope you know that the attacks on Catellus did not stop at the Jenkins Report Meeting. They have continued and have included Council plus some neighborhood groups. Guess it would have not looked to good if the Catellus was voted out at the meeting on the 5th with a superior term sheet so get them out now.

It will be interesting to see how the Council will squeeze Lennar for a better deal as now according to some (and you know which 2) on the Council, Concord will have the upper hand. Lets see how this works out. Council: Lennar we do not like your term sheet numbers improve them or else.
Lennar: well lets see. We were going to give you 16 million for infrastructure now we will give you 16 million plus 1 dollar. Take it or leave it.
Council: we will go somewhere else if you do not do better.
Lennar: we have the contract where are you going to go???????

I will state that Council Member Helix really impressed me and quite a few others with his talk but he did get a little carried away with letting Lennar improve its term sheet instead of just accepting the couple of changes Catellus was asking for. But now that is all water under the bridge and we will only have Lennar and the end result to deal with.

Good Decision March 29, 2016 at 8:12 AM

Michael Wright has been the problem from the beginning. Wheeler and dealer has made a mess of this and taken no responsibility. Thank God, the two council members did not fall for the threat from C. Concord took back it’s power. C had some nerve.

Well Folks March 29, 2016 at 9:29 AM

Lennar bought and paid for the privilege to develop the CNWS. All the key players have gotten what they want, or so they think. This dang development is going to cost several million dollars in lawsuits before it ever gets started. The dolts at the top, Barrone, Bjerke and the council are completely clueless and managed to sell Concord down the river.

As I have said before this is what happens when you have small time minds try to run a medium large city.

Cowellian March 29, 2016 at 10:20 AM

From SFGate:

Concord to allow developer to pull bid on huge project

. . . Another speaker, Hope Johnson, characterized Catellus as a whistle-blower and chastened the council for missteps and a lack of transparency during the selection process. “You guys demonized Catellus and created a hostile environment for them,” Johnson said. “Why should they trust Concord after all that’s happened?”

Read more:

In other highlights, Helix thinks doesn’t think Lennar is a shoo-in, Helix was the lone dissent, and Birsan thinks the deal isn’t about making friends.

Well Folks March 29, 2016 at 10:33 AM

Edi Birsan has sold his soul to the devil………………….

Silva March 29, 2016 at 10:57 AM

No Excuses #15, Thanks for posting that article.

Silva March 29, 2016 at 11:20 AM

It was all a foregone conclusion from the beginning. By the time the $*#t hits the fan in Concord, all of these small time snake oil salesmen and women will be long gone.

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