Hiking, biking trails and visitor center planned for new Concord Hills Regional Park

Concord OKs negotiating pact with Brookfield for CNWS

CONCORD, CA (Sept. 21, 2023) — Moving forward on an “aggressive timeline,” the City Council approved an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with Brookfield Properties on Sept. 19 for development of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station.

According to Guy Bjerke, the city’s director of Economic Development and Base Reuse, the accelerated schedule calls for a council vote on a Term Sheet in January 2024. That document will set the conditions for the city’s relationship with the developer.

Then, Bjerke said, there will a “Super Tuesday” of sorts – with staff bringing back a Specific Plan, Environmental Impact Report, Disposition and Development Agreement and other entitlement documents to the council in January 2026.

“We’re pushing hard, because the Navy really expects us to get back on track as soon as possible,” Bjerke said of the 2,300 acres currently owned by the Department of Defense. “If we need more time, we’ll take it, but I think we can get there.”

Josh Roden, Northern California president for Brookfield, concurred.

“It would be very aggressive, but with the things that we’ve already done, it’s certainly very doable. And everybody here seems to be ready and willing to run.”

The council, sitting as the Local Reuse Authority, voted unanimously for the ENA only weeks after selecting Brookfield as the new developer. The city cut ties with previous developer Concord First Partners in January.

Questions about new LCC, financial reporting

During public comment, Concord resident Hope Johnson expressed disappointment that Brookfield Properties didn’t sign the ENA – instead it was BCUS Acquisitions LLC. Councilmember Carlyn Obringer subsequently sought clarification from Roden.

Calling BCUS “a wholly owned subsidiary of Brookfield Corp.,” Roden told the council it’s typical for developers to set up a Single-Purpose Entity (SPE) for specific projects.

“We are very upfront about it, and it’s very clear that as we go through the process, we’ll create a new SPE for this project. At some point, we will transfer it to something with probably the name of Concord in it,” Roden said, adding: “All the funding comes through directly from the parent company.”

Meanwhile, Obringer asked Bjerke to outline how the public can track funding for the project.

“I’m just trying to prevent any future grand jury reports accusing us of not being transparent and accountable,” she said, in reference to last summer’s Contra Costa Civil Grand Jury report entitled “A Promise Unfulfilled” that detailed the city’s “series of missteps” over the past 17 years.

Bjerke reported that city staff is updating the reuse project website, including new information on how city loans have been spent and a revised Program Report – which is the overall spending on the project. Residents can visit the site at www.concordreuseproject.org.

As staff and Brookfield finetune the Term Sheet, the council is expected to review a draft on Nov. 14.

Bev Britton
Bev Britton
Copy Editor at The Concord Clayton Pioneer | bevbritton@sbcglobal.net

Bev Britton graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota and moved to the Bay Area with her soon-to-be husband Jim in 1986. She was features editor at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek before becoming managing editor of the Contra Costa Sun in Lafayette in 1995. She retired from newsrooms in 2001, but an ad for the Clayton Pioneer drew her back in. The family moved to Lake Wildwood in the Gold Country a few years ago - but working at the Pioneer keeps her in touch with her old neighborhoods in Concord and Clayton.