Concord Naval Weapons Station Reuse Project Likely Facing Major Delay

March 25, 2020 10:26 am · 55 comments

A longstanding plan to remake the former Concord Naval Weapons Station in northeastern Concord into a new 2,300-acre community with 13,000 housing units and millions of square feet of commercial space will almost certainly be delayed, possibly by years, after the Concord City Council Tuesday night voted not to grant the current master developer an extension to negotiate with the area’s labor unions.

As part of a council “telemeeting” in which the five councilmembers took part remotely in deference to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, several votes were taken in response to a letter from Lennar, the master developer of what is known formally as the Concord Community Reuse Project. Lennar sought assurances from the City Council on four points — that the developer negotiated in good faith with labor representatives, that the developer could negotiate with individual trade groups rather than the blanket Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council; the specifics on what constitutes “prevailing wages;” and a six-month extension for the developer to negotiate with the unions.

The Council majority, on a 3 (Aliano, Birsan, Obringer)-2 (McGallian, Hoffmeister) vote, decided not to follow city staff recommendations to approve a 12-month negotiation extension, with added financial requirements.

“It delays the project, but doesn’t stop it,” Concord Mayor Tim McGallian said after Tuesday night’s vote. “We need to regroup and figure out what the next step is.”

A request for proposals from new prospective master developers will likely be put out in the coming months, he added.

In May 2016, the Concord City Council voted unanimously to select Lennar over Catellus as master developer of the first phase of the $6 billion project. Since then, planning has moved forward, including negotiations between Lennar and the Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council.

In October, Lennar and the trades council declared an impasse in talks. The stalemate centered on whether Lennar could afford to use as many labor union workers as county labor leaders propose. Lennar officials have said that the difference between Lennar’s overall labor offer and the trades council’s overall request is about $546 million.

In January, the City Council told Lennar and the trades council to go back to the negotiating table and work out a deal. But no formal meetings ever took place.

Both Lennar and the unions had their strong supporters locally, and regionally. Tuesday night, city staff spent almost an hour reading some 20 emailed public comments into the record.

Some reflected the sentiments of Joshua Anijar, executive director of the Contra Costa Labor Council, who wrote in to say Lennar has not carried out good-faith negotiations and criticized what he called “Lennar’s attempts to fracture the labor community.”

Others agreed with Debra Ballinger, executive director of the advocacy group Monument Impact, who urged Lennar, the trades and the city to cooperate, compromise and get the huge development project moving ahead. She was interested in jobs and much-needed housing.

“We will all lose if we don’t,” Ballinger said.

The council on Tuesday night said they did not take part in any negotiations, and voted unanimously to not confirm whether they were carried out in good faith. The council also opted, by a 3-2 vote, to reject the idea that Lennar could negotiate with one or more of the individual unions rather than the trades council.

McGallian said part of the problem was unclear language in the “term sheet” that, essentially, laid out the rules for Lennar to handle labor talks and other matters. In any event, he said, the huge Concord Community Reuse Project is far from dead.

“The Navy’s not going to just pull the rug out from under us,” he said. “We’re still OK.”

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

RANDOM TASK March 25, 2020 at 10:36 AM

good the plan and scheme by the council has been averted

time for trump to take back the land and blister the council for being union slaves and pushing for a biased construction scheme benefitting voting democrats and not the public as a whole

maybe the council will learn….ooops what was I thinking

they don’t even care about anything but their re election and simulated power

the fed should take back the land and make it protected wildlife refuge

that should force out some corrupt city council members as the unions will be out billions of dollars ….lol

caught with your hand in the cookie jar city council

for shame and good luck on re elections or rather no luck

down with corruption and bleeding American citizens

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Lazy One March 25, 2020 at 10:48 AM

Great idea!

Fred March 25, 2020 at 3:43 PM

Big time developer, screwing union workers, houses and business sounds like a Republican dream to me.

The Mamba March 25, 2020 at 10:42 AM

Shut it down Navy!

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Lazy One March 25, 2020 at 10:49 AM

Great idea! If only it would happen.

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Hope Johnson March 25, 2020 at 10:51 AM

Council did the right thing. Hoping we are rid of Lennar once the agreement expires March 31.

No evidence supports claims that keeping Lennar as developer would result in faster or better development. No affordable/average income/middle income homes have been built on Treasure Island or at Candlestick Point, both of which have been controlled by Lennar for many years. In fact, no homes or anything else have been built at these sites. No such homes were built on Mare Island. Lennar built 350 single family homes there and then split after taking the money they wanted, leaving Vallejo to start all over with two separate developers anyway. And the number of affordable and middle income homes built at Hunters Point remains elusive. Lennar has built just under 400 units of the over 4000 promised, and little info is released on what percentage of the promised affordable homes this incorporates. Again, the shipyard has been controlled by Lennar for a long time.

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Short Sighted March 25, 2020 at 10:55 AM

The sad part is this project would have prevented a recession in Concord for years. Even if the country, state, county went into recession, Concord would see growth for years to come.

The Unions prefer nothing for everyone else, if they cant have it all.

This is why you cant build a apartment unit in CA under 500k anymore.

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Sick of it March 25, 2020 at 12:04 PM

Are you kidding. It would kill the quality of life in this area with even more overcrowding. Just think of trying to go anywhere around here. This area is over saturated as is. Also we are running low on state water. Where is all of that going to come from to keep suppling this building craze that everyone thinks will help

shrektrician March 26, 2020 at 1:45 PM

Union or non-Union, it’s expensive to build in the Bay Area.

Cornfed March 25, 2020 at 10:56 AM

Good. The development whores have to wait a little longer.

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Mutts March 25, 2020 at 11:07 AM

Couldn’t have said it better

Shoiley March 25, 2020 at 11:02 AM

Get Rid of Lennar.

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Snickerdad March 25, 2020 at 11:11 AM

Sound to me like we picked the wrong developer.
The reason is money,

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Silva March 25, 2020 at 11:17 AM

Gee, after this is over maybe they could reconsider some of the contenders who submitted beautiful, fully fleshed out plans (I’m thinking specifically of the one who had just finished a project in Alamo) instead of the nearly blank and very rough sketches, who actually bid in good faith without sliding cash “donations” to several city reps involved.

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DVC Student March 25, 2020 at 11:24 AM

Who is going to play on that soil & drink the water from those pipes?

Allow it to be a wildlife refuge & monitor it for contamination leakage

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Cellophane March 25, 2020 at 11:26 AM

As I have written before, the City Council has no experience with this kind of project.

The city has lost a lot of money because of the Council’s mismanagement.

I believe no one on the City Council has any idea how to properly manage the City, much less a complex project like the Weapons station.

A City Council that can’t figure out how to get the local roads repaired doesn’t deserve much respect.

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hehaseesaw March 25, 2020 at 12:17 PM

They cant wait to build a plaque with all their names on it though for a quarter of a million dollars honoring themselves at the tax payers expense just like they did at todos santos…

Old Fart March 26, 2020 at 1:19 PM

@hehaseesaw. dittos. The statue, I can take it or leave it, but that plaque is disgusting. New Rule: Public officials that use public money to make public memorials to themselves must be interred under said memorial immediately. Those things are super creepy. Who makes grave markers to themselves in a public park? I guess people that are afraid that no one will remember them after they die, much less make a bronze plaque, so they just do it themselves?

Ricardoh March 25, 2020 at 11:32 AM

Turn it into a redwood forest. In a hundred years or so it would be like Muir Woods.My neighbor planted a redwood tree about twenty years ago and the thing is about eighty feet tall.

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Nature Lover March 25, 2020 at 12:55 PM

Hey Ricardoh I actually agree with you on this one.

Gittyup March 25, 2020 at 2:02 PM

Me too.

Foonman March 25, 2020 at 2:06 PM

Yup, agree also..

Shoulda Coulda March 25, 2020 at 6:37 PM

Ricardoh-

A nice idea but where would all the water
come from to grow a redwood forest. They
grow in narrow climate zones with a lot of
fog, rain or snow. A coast redwood needs
about 600 quarts of water per day. 40% of
which it gets from fog. I found this out the
hard way after planting a bunch of redwoods.
Now I am a slave to hauling recycled water
because our water bill was killing us trying
to keep them alive. (We lost several of them)
Plant native trees like the Oaks that are more
drought tolerant.

need.htmlhttps://www.gardenguides.com/13429050-how-much-water-does-a-giant-redwood-tree-need.html

Ricardoh March 26, 2020 at 7:48 AM

Shoulda Coulda
Redwood trees grow all over Walnut Creek which is not exactly the Marin county coast. I doubt my neighbors tree that is twenty years old and eighty feet high was ever watered. The site is near the Sacramento River which could be a great water source if needed.

Anonymous March 25, 2020 at 11:50 AM

Put the Tule elk back in and call it good. When did the citizens of Concord decide they wanted any development? We have enough traffic and problems already.

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Gittyup March 25, 2020 at 2:04 PM

“I’ve got a fever and the only cure is … more Tule Elk.”

The Wizard March 25, 2020 at 12:10 PM

Good ! Now bring back the Tule Elk.

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AJM March 25, 2020 at 12:11 PM

Best news I’ve heard in a long time. Very happy for the wildlife presently making Naval Weapons their home.

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Heffay March 25, 2020 at 12:31 PM

I bet the people complaining about the development of homes are the same that have their adult children living with because they can’t afford a house in this market! This whole process has been nothing but a huge cluster F… with accommodating the unions the biggest contributor. But, the unions buy the council, so they reap what they sow.

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To Do List March 25, 2020 at 1:07 PM

You just lost the bet. I am against making all of California look like a sea of house roofs like Orange County and against those who think all we need is just one more housing development and house prices will be low and prosperity will reign. Its just throwing gasoline on the fire.

Dawg March 25, 2020 at 1:11 PM

You will lose the bet my friend. I am against any and all further housing developing in the Claycord area due to over population and traffic. My adult child is a successful business woman, who worked hard to start up her own business. She is now married with a grown daughter, who is also becoming a success in her career.
“Affordable housing” is nothing more than a feel good cliche and meaningless. Housing in California is expensive, PERIOD.

whome March 25, 2020 at 12:36 PM

Great news…Yay!

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Joatmeal March 25, 2020 at 12:57 PM

Why do we need a single master developer? If you know how you want the land laid out and what you want and where you want it, let smaller, more efficient builders bid on the work. If they are a competent developer, I don’t care if they use union or non-union labor.

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NoMoreFreeRide March 25, 2020 at 1:17 PM

Just imagine what 680, 242 and HWY4 will look like after they add 13,000 homes! If you all think the traffic is bad now fasten your seat belts.

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bob March 25, 2020 at 1:26 PM

Dose anybody know what person at the Federal Level we can contact to voice our opinion about this project?

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Atticus Thraxx March 25, 2020 at 1:52 PM

bob, if you have evidence a crime or crimes have been committed you’d contact the FBI. There’s a field office in Concord:
1850 Gateway Blvd #1010 671-7330

If you’re just pissed, try the US Navy : NAVFAC https://www.navfac.navy.mil/products_and_services/am/contact_us.html
Both entities are less than enthusiastic about being contacted by private citizens, persistence and good manners would be my approach.

Of course you could take a shot at the Inspector Generals office in Washington if you think the Navy is not living up to your expectations. They have a hotline: (800) 869-4499

Cynthia March 25, 2020 at 1:44 PM

Just keep delaying! We don’t want anything built there!

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Hope Johnson March 25, 2020 at 1:45 PM

Just a reminder that the Navy will be selling this property and does not have to involve the City of Concord. Better for Concord to be part of the transaction or it will have little involvement in what is put on the property. Even a park placed there will require payment in some form, even if only set up (no infrastructure is out there) and maintenance costs, someone will have to pay for that. It would be higher taxes for Concord, if people were willing to vote for them.

At least we have the chance now for a more trustworthy partner.

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Cynthia March 25, 2020 at 1:47 PM

I am against almost of f the project. Let’s give it all to the East Bay Regional Parks!

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Cowellian March 25, 2020 at 2:05 PM

Hope is right about the Navy not being required to deal with Concord. The property is worth way too much money for it to be allowed to sit unused for too long. At some point, our elected officials in Washington are going to want their share of the so-called peace dividend, with or without Concord’s involvement.

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Ez Ryder March 25, 2020 at 2:15 PM

Open up a portion of the land for off road vehicles! Build a MX track and charge $10/head.

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Chicken Little March 25, 2020 at 2:52 PM

While I agree that this is an awesome idea, I think we all know it’s never going to happen.

If you’re familiar with the Carnegie fiasco, you already know why.

JRocks March 25, 2020 at 2:19 PM

To all of the NIMBY folks that want to stop all development.

Why don’t you all pool your money together and buy the land from the Navy and then you can make it what ever you want. Once you procure the billions of dollars to buy it, you can then take your plan to the Concord City Council for approval. When you plan your open space paradise just make sure that you have the labor unions on your side or you will suffer the same fate as Lennar.

The people that are complaining about Lennar making campaign contributions to buy politicians are either extremely lazy or extremely stupid. After one minute of research you will find that unions are the number one contributors to Ca. politicians. Organized labor owns this state. The actions of the Concord City Council prove that beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Gittyup March 25, 2020 at 2:24 PM

Based on their track record, it sounds like Lennar is single-handedly responsible for the housing shortage in California. The fact that they were the last and only company left standing in the bidding process tells you everything you need to know about how this whole thing went wrong. The area needs to be preserved for future generations to decide what happens to it. If any of it is developed, it should be parceled out to smaller companies with obvious integrity.

Marin County, at one time, imposed by public vote a development moratorium and it helped slow growth that was in jeopardy of damaging the quality of life of all its citizens. It wouldn’t hurt Contra Costa to consider something like that.

There is also the fact that there was an accidental release of radioactive materials from CNWS in the 1950s, so we know that radioactive materials were stored there. Has the Navy and cleanup crews found the area where they were stored yet? Or, are they even admitting to it? I doubt it. It was during the Cold War and I’m sure it was top secret, buried in some Washington DC archives that will never see the light of day.

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Gavin March 25, 2020 at 3:14 PM

Make it a campground, with homeless getting priority and free sites.

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Anonymous March 25, 2020 at 5:06 PM

Oh, sure. Great idea. Do that and the only people who will ever use that land are the homeless. It would need a 24-hour police force and daily health inspections to combat typhus.

inmotion March 25, 2020 at 4:32 PM

Good, it stank from the get go.

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Fed Up March 25, 2020 at 6:22 PM

So their choice was the few union members including some that do not even live here over the rest of Concord who need homes build and business build to help Concord. Lennar would of gone to private unions that would have people from Concord and/or Contra Costa working as well. The Builder’s Union is not the only union here just the largest and richest. Very sad very very sad. I am not a Lennar fan but by looking at the term sheet Lennar was correct they did not have to go to the Builders Union in Concord they could of choose any one of the Union in Concord or Contra Costa. You do know that if the project goes back to the Navy they will sell off the land as parcels and anyone can build anything. I would at least like to have some say and allowed Lennar was to build only phase one. Chicken people those three council members are, paid off by the Union????? not really looking at the full picture. Shame on them Shame on them.

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FPN March 25, 2020 at 9:37 PM

I am so happy. No additional people or traffic. It’s a win win situation.

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Michael March 25, 2020 at 10:42 PM

We need union labor to support our trade

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Carpe March 25, 2020 at 10:52 PM

Haha, wow, although of course not their intent, corrupt(ing) unions actually did some good by causing this deal to fall apart…we are still in the planning stages of our escape from CA and won’t be able to execute for another 5-or-so years, so the longer this drags on the better since we are quite near we want no part of this impending disaster.

And yes, another vote for return of the tule elk.

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Smee March 26, 2020 at 6:58 AM

I prefer a college and some college housing built there, and the rest open space. But since we don’t have any say in it, develop using laborers who primarily live in Concord, enriching them enough to pay for non subsidised housing. I can understand how building a development with a large portion of low income housing doesn’t pencil out using sky high union labor. This project is way too big and too political. But like I said, we non-organized citizens had no say in it (despite the many meetings)

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Scott D March 26, 2020 at 10:20 AM

Thank you Concord City Council for doing right by labor in general and our local workers. Thanks for not allowing them to bring in workers from other states that suppress wages for workers everywhere. Not to mention, we want better union construction, not low standards that will result in major issues for homeowners within five years of construction.

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JRocks March 26, 2020 at 12:29 PM

Sorry, but I have to call attention to the misinformation in your post.

1. Non-union workers are not from out of state. Over 90% of the labor used to construct housing in Ca. is non-union and the companies they work for reside in Ca. Out of State contractors do no travel to build single family detached homes. I work on over 300 residential jobs in Northern Ca. I do not know of one out of state contractor.

2. Union does not equate to better quality. I have real life experience with both union and non-union residential construction and there is no discernible difference in the quality of the product.

Mary March 28, 2020 at 1:23 AM

Can the government build social housing and cut out the private greedy developer?

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