Brookfield Residential has abandoned plans to build 360 apartments on a parking lot at the North Concord BART Station.
The division of Toronto-based global real estate giant Brookfield Asset Management has walked away from a three-year-old proposal to build homes atop 20 acres of parking, of which half were to have been affordable units, the East Bay Times reported.
Brookfield gave no reason for departing the East Bay project, BART officials said. The company did not respond to interview requests from the newspaper.
“Folks leave for a variety of reasons and priorities change within companies,” said BART Director Mark Foley, whose district contains the North Concord station. “I certainly would like to understand if there was something BART did that we could avoid repeating in the future.”
The scuttled deal strikes a blow to Concord’s attempt to meet state-mandated housing goals. The city must build 5,073 homes by the end of the decade, more than 2,000 of which must be affordable, according to its housing element.
It also came after a local developer backed out of a deal to build 13,000 units of housing at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station next door.
Concord First Partners, led by the Contra Costa County-based Seeno family, said in May that building the homes wasn’t economically feasible and sought extensions and financial guarantees to move forward.
Brookfield had been a contender to develop the Naval Weapons Station, but had been edged out by a City Council vote of 3-2 to favor Concord First. One councilman said it was because Brookfield had dragged its feet on the BART station project.
The undone deals occurred as Concord and other Bay Area cities struggle to find private developers willing to accept lower profit margins to build affordable housing as labor, materials and demand drive up building costs.
BART’s attempt to turn the often deserted North Concord station will now be put on hold indefinitely.
BART first chose a partnership of Brookfield and Walnut Creek-based developer Iman Novin to build the new housing. After the partnership dissolved, developers competed for the project, which Brookfield won in 2019.
Novin, who previously ran for Walnut Creek City Council, filed a contract lawsuit against Brookfield. The two sides reached an undisclosed settlement earlier this year, when Brookfield told BART it was abandoning the housing development.
[East Bay Times] – Dana Bartholomew