By Tim Hunt
Huge Concord project blows up over union labor agreementUploaded: Apr 23, 2020
With COVID-19 dominating the news cycle, it was easy to miss a very significant story out of Concord last month.
The Concord City Council, in a 3-2 vote, ended negotiations with the Lennar Corp. over the developers’ plans to develop the former Concord Naval Weapons Station site on the northside of the city. Lennar had put together a plan for up to 13,000 homes and six million square feet of commercial space in what was estimated to be a $5 billion project.
The sticking point was a project labor agreement with the Contra Costa Building Trades Council that would determine how many union members are used on the job. The council and Lennar negotiated for two years, but were deadlocked.
Lennar leaders told the council that they could not afford an all-union worksite. The split council vote let the exclusive negotiating agreement with Lennar lapse March 31. Earlier San Francisco Business Times articles said that Lennar already had invested three years and $15 million in planning for the 2,327-acre site. Plans included the homes, commercial space and 2.3 million square feet for a college campus.
It’s now back to square one for the city, which has been working on uses for the land since the Navy declared it surplus in 2005 and the city was named the reuse authority in 2006. That’s a stiff price to pay to ensure union jobs, but sadly not surprising in Northern California given our Democrat-dominated politics.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors took a wise step last month when it authorized advance payments to community-based organizations to help them deal with the financial impact of COVID-19.
Many have had to limit or shutter their basic services because of the shelter-in-place order and cash flow from operations has dried up. It’s critical to keep their functioning because some, such as Axis Community Health, provide lifeline health services.