After mulling over the details of a major mixed-use development near Marsh Creek Road, the Brentwood City Council approved revisions for a scaled-back project this week.

Once envisioned as the site of a regional events center, The Vineyards at Marsh Creek now includes plans for a small community-focused events and performance facility. When it was first proposed in 2004, the commercial and residential community was planned to house a working winery and regional-based amphitheater.

The economic downturn made the regional events center plans impractical based on feasibility studies, according to city officials. Under the revised agreement, the city and one of the project's developers, Shea Homes, will collaborate on development plans for the alternative community facility.

"I think the city needs to be flexible because of the economic times right now," Brentwood Vice Mayor Steve Barr said. "I think the city needs to be willing to work with investors in our community."

The Vineyards project will eventually boast 1,100 single-family residences for seniors by Shea Homes, with 200 already constructed, 132 executive residences and Pioneer Square, which will feature up to 120,000 square feet of commercial or office space, congregate care and a maximum of 350 apartments. The Contra Costa Community College District's proposed 16-acre Brentwood campus was also recently relocated on the site.


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Located adjacent to the 3,659-acre Marsh Creek State Park, The Vineyards project is the ideal spot for a 29-acre rustic amphitheater, an access road and associated parking, Barr said. The proposed community events center could start out like the original California Shakespeare Center near Orinda and grow with time as funding becomes available, he noted.

Other major revisions include moving four estate lots that were part of the previous winery site to the end of a cul-de-sac, dedicating several parcels as open space with grapevines and olive trees, reserving space for a possible paramedic or ambulance station, setting parameters for the Pioneer Square commercial development, and the city accepting fees from the developers for development impacts, maintenance costs and affordable housing requirements.

According to Barr, the approved amendment represents the city working with the developers on planning a quality project. He also said that the development still offers many intangible benefits to the city.

"It gives the council and staff some flexibility to ask for some amenities and back off other things," Barr said.

Councilman Erick Stonebarger questioned some of the concessions made by the city in the agreement and the cost analysis presented, including the paramedic station and its construction costs and affordable housing fees paid by the developers.

"I appreciate it, but I know we can do better than that," he said.

Paula King can be reached at 925-779-7174.