CONCORD -- The city seeks a master developer to guide the transformation of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station property into a thriving community with housing, parks, retail and office space.
The Local Reuse Authority plans to pre-qualify a select group of master developers who will be invited to submit formal proposals in the summer.
In 2012, the City Council adopted the Concord Reuse Project Area Plan which calls for building housing, office buildings and commercial space near the North Concord BART station and reserving 69 percent of the property for open space and recreational use.
In December, the council approved a $300,000 loan from the general fund to the Local Reuse Authority to keep the project on schedule. This was the third loan the city made to the reuse authority last year, bringing the total amount it owes the city to nearly $1.3 million.
The loans will be repaid with interest from the proceeds of the sale of parcels to private developers, once the Navy begins to transfer the 5,046-acre property to the city. Repayment is expected to begin in late 2015 and the loans should be paid off by 2017, according to Michael Wright, executive director of the Local Reuse Authority.
The 16-day federal government shutdown in October delayed the project by about three to four weeks for each day the government was closed, Wright said. The $300,000 will pay for engineering studies, legal counsel and other work to keep the project moving, he added.
"In your crystal ball, when do you anticipate the very first groundbreaking to ever occur at the Naval Weapons Station?" Councilman Ron Leone asked during the December council meeting.
"The answer that I give a lot of people is in my lifetime," Wright replied. "But the schedule we're on right now is that the Navy will begin to transfer property to the city in the first or second quarter of 2015. That doesn't mean that we immediately go into development mode. There's a lot of things that have to be done on the site."
Wright added that he believes site preparation for infrastructure work -- including water lines, electricity and roads -- could begin in early 2016. But work on the housing, retail and office buildings likely will begin in 2017, he said.
Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.