Shea Homes taps density bonus incentives to build condos in Livermore

14-acre site sits on a proposed rail extension between Dublin and the Tri-Valley region

Shea Homes plans to build 164 condominiums in Livermore
Shea Homes' Bert Selva with a rendering of Shea Aura, southwest of the intersection between Portola Avenue and Tranquility Circle (Shea Homes, Woodley Architectural Group)

Shea Homes wants to build 164 condominiums in northwest Livermore.

The Walnut-based developer has filed plans to build the three-story complex southwest of the intersection between Portola Avenue and Tranquility Circle, in Isabel, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

The 21-building development, dubbed Shea Aura, would be built on 14 acres next to a swath of land owned by Bay Area Rapid Transit. Of the 164 condos, 33 would be set aside as affordable housing to an undisclosed earning segment.

The gray and white complex, designed by Colorado-based Woodley Architectural Group, would include for-sale condos between 1,400 to 1,850 square feet.

Shea employed a density bonus that allows the firm to build a taller complex with greater setbacks than zoning rules allow, presumably in exchange for the affordable units.

The project this week went before the Livermore Planning Commission, which weighed in on whether to approve a CEQA exemption, design review plan, density bonus waivers and more.

If approved, the project would be built in the 1,100-acre Isabel neighborhood, where the city wants to add housing, community uses and transit options.

In 2020, Livermore passed a specific plan for the neighborhood, setting a goal to build up to 4,095 new homes, a quarter of which would be affordable, plus 1.97 million square feet of offices, business parks and shops.

While BART has land there, the transit agency doesn’t have any developments planned in the area, an unidentified spokesperson told the Business Times.

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The Shea development site sits on a proposed Valley Link rail extension that aims to connect the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station to the Tri-Valley region. While the BART board nixed the extension in 2018, the San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority appears to have revived the railway, now under environmental review, according to its website.

In January last year, Shea announced it would build 299 homes on 13 acres at Collier Canyon Road and Portola Avenue in Livermore’s Isabel, according to The Real Deal

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The development would consist of 89 condominiums for sale and 210 for rent, with units ranging from 1,600 to 2,400 square feet. Of those units, 60 would be affordable.

Shea Homes, founded in 1968, has built more than 125,000 homes in California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Washington, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Texas, according to its website.

In October, Peter Shea Sr, whose family construction firm helped build Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, U.S. freeways and homes in 11 states, died. He was 88.

— Dana Bartholomew