The 5,000-acre Concord Naval Weapons Station is the most promising opportunity for drawing industry and capital to the Concord and Contra Costa County region. The multibillion-dollar housing, park and commercial development opportunity would be the largest in the Bay Area, giving the area international recognition.
Located just a 30-minute drive from Downtown San Francisco and 40 minutes from Napa, Contra Costa County is the perfect answer for the housing problem in the Bay Area. Aside from location, the Concord area already has a pleasant Downtown, several BART stations, and award-winning community college programs.
Businesses and startups overlook this area, much like Silicon Valley before it was Silicon Valley, but there's actually a lot already going on! Concord Naval Weapons Station already houses the nation’s largest autonomous vehicle testing site, GoMentum Station.
The future of this site could easily turn into the hub of airborne and road-based autonomous vehicle testing—arguably the future of cutting-edge transportation. In addition, that testing can also include unmanned aerial systems (UAS), agriculture and food technology, and legal cannabis industries.
Failed Development Efforts
The opportunities for the Concord Naval Weapons Base are practically unlimited, yet developing this land area has been anything but straightforward. Despite its obvious benefit to the residents of Contra Costa County and the Bay Area, the Naval Weapons Station has been steeped in labor wage disputes, government regulations and some controversy.
In 2016, Lennar Corp., a mega developer out of Miami, was chosen as the master developer for the $5 billion dollar project, but the deal fell through in March 2020 when the Concord City Council voted to break the agreement with Lennar. Lennar wasn’t willing to meet the demands of the labor union and this dispute eventually unraveled the agreement.
After years of waiting for progress on developing the Station, the vote that put an end to the agreement (and delayed the project by several years) sparked outrage in the local community that were eagerly waiting for their region to expand.
The Search for a New Master Developer
Now, the Concord City Council is working to find a new master developer for the Naval Weapons Station. The City even considered developing it themselves, but it’s likely out of Concord’s financial reach.
This leaves the City looking for a new developer—hopefully one willing to meet the complicated demands of the union and project. Under the Surplus Lands Act that the Station falls under, they’re required to offer the land to affordable housing developers for a period before it can be sold to other developers.
The selection process for a new Master Developer began on April 16, 2021 and the City is aiming to begin interviewing candidates by August. Planning with the chosen Master Developer is slated for early 2022. Until then, we wait!