GSA takes Coast Guard property to public auction

Las Vegas pair wants to renovate 286 units at Coast Guard Villages for immediate rentals

CONCORD, CA (July 14, 2021) — The current dearth of mid-range housing and the condition of the units at the former Coast Guard property in North Concord have a pair of Las Vegas developers feeling optimistic in their initial $58 million plunge into the local real estate market.

“These 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units are ready to go right now; they are ready to rent immediately,” Eddie Haddad told the city council at a pre-application study session June 23. Haddad and Georges Maalouf are partners in Q Villages LLC, the limited liability company that submitted the winning bid for the 59-acre surplus site in March.

“Everyone is building to luxury standards and smaller units,” Haddad told the Pioneer prior to the study session. “No one is building to middle of the road. This is an opportunity to bring those larger, family units to the community right away.”

Since securing the site, initial work includes assessing the utility infrastructure with PGE and the Contra Costa Water District and reviewing three oil pipeline easements that run between the two villages. Work on long overdue landscape maintenance is currently underway.

Because the original units were not built to state or local codes, it has been long assumed there might be health and safety issues involved in renovating.

“The city has been told the units are unusable, that people can’t live there,” Councilmember Laura Hoffmeister said. “There will be a lot of (public) misconceptions.”

Haddad said only a few of the units have issues with some small areas of asbestos and lead paint that are easily remediated.

Amendment/rezoning issues

Due to the existing General Plan land use designation and the existing zoning designations, a General Plan Amendment and Rezoning will be required whether there is redevelopment of the site or renovation of the existing units.

Prior to the recent sale, the city had submitted a bid to the GSA for $15 million with the expectation that DeNova Homes would develop he property as high-density housing in accordance with the city’s Specific Plan. The bid was rejected.

The council is not in favor of the developers’ plan to renovate all existing units immediately and delay until far in the future any high density redevelopment that would help the city meet its affordable housing needs.

Instead, they see a phased approach with the renovated 206 apartments in Victory Village available for rentals for a predetermined time period while Quinault Village is redeveloped now to high density standards. Redevelopment of Victory Village would then follow when there is a timeline for the Concord Naval Weapons Station development.

“We share the vision of higher density,” Maalouf said. “It’s just a timing issue.”

Whatever the developers’ plans are, Councilmember Carlyn Obringer wants to see “robust community engagement” before any zoning change is approved.

She is also concerned with transparency and affordability.

“What is market rate?” she asked. “This is important information for me.”

Haddad was reluctant to commit.

“Six months ago, it was in the range of $2800-$3200,” he said.

Other considerations include whether Concordians and specifically veterans, will be given preference for the affordable units, PLA agreements with local labor and open space plans.

The partners have not yet submitted an application.

The city has considerable discretion in reviewing the project.