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City sows goodwill in negotiations with Coast Guard

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The city of Concord expects a response in the coming weeks to its offer for 58 acres owned by the Coast Guard for a mixed-income residential project by DeNova Homes.

The offer comes as Concord officials work to forge a relationship with the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Coast Guard to demonstrate the city will be a good partner moving forward to complete the deal. At the Sept. 10 City Council meeting, Economic Development manager John Montagh characterized the current relationship as “professional and collegial.”

Montagh, citing confidentiality, declined to specify how much the city is offering for the land. The price is based on an appraised value it received for the property.

While 25 percent of the units are to be affordable, the exact number of market rate, low-income, multi-family residential and single-family units is still being determined.

“Each side is working together to lay out a clear path for negotiating the purchase and sale agreement of the Coast Guard property,” Montagh said.

Discussions on the price will likely start in the next two weeks. In addition, the city and DeNova need to continue to do due diligence on the property.

“We are hopeful that we should have an agreement in place within six months, once a price is negotiated,” Montagh said.

Dialogue started in 2014

Dialogue with the Coast Guard for the property started in 2014, after the Navy transferred the land to the Coast Guard. Montagh acknowledged some “stops and starts” along the way but said the process is now moving ahead.

The Aug. 30 Letter of Intent containing the city’s offer also states contingencies, including completion of the Phase II environmental evaluation by DeNova consultants that will spell out issues that will impact the property.

“Conversations with the GSA are the next the hurdle,” Montagh said, “and the Phase II work can happen simultaneously.”

Council members questioned if the city’s initial offer would be adjusted if environmental issues were later identified. Montagh and Trent Sanson of DeNova Homes acknowledged that would occur.

Existing Coast Guard housing at Quinalt and Victory villages currently occupies the land along East Olivera Road. Although some have suggested using the buildings to house the homeless, Montagh noted they were built to federal and military standards – not state or city codes.

“Based on those issues, it makes it problematic to repurpose them for civilian use,” he said.

Meanwhile, Concord Mayor Carlyn Obringer recently announced that the Concord-based developer and local construction trades had reached an agreement to partner for this project.

“The agreement provides for our local economy and local workers to reap the benefits of housing development while ensuring that more housing is made available in the East Bay,” Obringer stated on her Facebook page.

Various trades representatives on hand at the Sept. 10 meeting lauded DeNova’s willingness to work with them in hammering out an agreement, citing the opportunities it ultimately means for the people of Concord.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues, industry and the local construction trades to ensure the project is completed in a timely manner,” Obringer added.

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