City of Concord plans redevelopment project for Concord Naval Weapons Station

CONCORD, Calif. (KTVU) - The huge expanse of land known as the Concord Naval Weapons Station is soon heading for some major changes.

The City of Concord is busy making plans for a giant redevelopment project. "It's a diamond in the rough," says Vice Mayor Laura Hoffmeister

The former military installation has stood as little more than an empty monument to its past for decades. "Other people seem to think that it is mothballed land, it's full of weeds, it's full of dilapidated structures," adds Hoffmeister.

But since 2006, the city has been working on a redevelopment plan and it's now finally coming into focus. "You're probably looking at 2018 before you'll actually see structures out on the base," explains Reuse Authority Executive Director, Mike Wright.

This week, the city council held meetings in which three different developers presented their plans for the 5,000 acre area, "All three approached the being a master developer a little differently. Some a little more closely aligned to the communty's vision plan," said Hoffmeister.

The biggest segment will become a 2,700 acre regional park. Then, there will be 12,000 units of housing, a quarter of which must be affordable housing. There will also be lots of mixed use development, retail and business space and other smaller parks. "We are trying to create a very walkable transit oriented community that helps to get people out of their cars, makes their neighborhoods more walkable," says Wright.

At the North Concord BART Station, which is near a few homes but little else, people said the change is overdue. "The BART station has been here, but anything new would be so helpful," said Kathy Beals of Concord.

Billy Delgado of Concord adds, "Develop new housing and new shopping opportunities, it will probably increase the job opportunities as well."

Benicia resident Kate Hanley says she comes here to catch BART but little else. "If there's a regional park, I might go here instead of all the way to Tilden."

Joseph Conner from Bay Point said he likes the idea of development, but that it could cause major traffic problems. "What about the freeways? They're already pretty maxed out as it is.

The city council will choose the master developer sometime this summer, then the city will gain control of the first parcel of land near the north Concord BART station early next year. After that, the $1.5 billion in infrastructure improvements can start.

The Naval Weapons Station is a Superfund cleanup site, but officials tell KTVU the area that needs remediation is closer to the shoreline along the Carquinez Strait, not where the development is happening.