By John Ramos

CONCORD (KPIX 5) — The city of Concord announced it is competing for Amazon’s second headquarters.

The East Bay city is a natural fit for the tech giant, with the world class Concord Reuse Project set to transform the 5,000-acre Naval Weapons Station into a transit-oriented development with approximately 6 million square feet of office/R&D/commercial space, a 120-acre campus district and 12,000 housing units.

The project lies in proximity to both San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and is anchored by one of Concord’s two Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations, a general aviation airport and easy access to Interstate 680.

On Thursday morning, online retail giant Amazon rocked the development world with news that it was seeking a location for a second headquarters, potentially a $5 billion project.

Guy Bjerke, Concord’s director of community reuse planning said, “Our plan as already adopted totally would accommodate what Amazon would like to bring to a community, and Concord would make a perfect fit.”

Concord may not be the biggest city in the Bay Area, but it has something most others don’t: land, lots of it.

The 5,000 acres that used to be the Concord Naval Weapons Station has been slowly moving toward some kind of mixed use development and the Amazon project seems tailor-made for it.

“I looked at the requirements and this is exactly what the Naval Weapons Station was designed to do,” Bjerke said.

The company needs space for 50,000 employees, mainly administrative and engineering with thousands of new housing units for them.

They prefer open space but also want to be near transit. Oakland International Airport is only 45 minutes away, there are two freeways near the site and the North Concord BART station is literally just a chain link fence away from the property.

The mayor says the Amazon project is exactly what they’ve been planning for.

Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister said, “We can work with that partner and find out what it is it that they need and how can we incorporate that into our planning efforts…that’s going on right now. This is perfect timing.”

The only problem may be that Concord doesn’t have any money to contribute. They would need the state to help with any costs.

But they believe luring Amazon to California might be attractive enough to get Sacramento to play ball.

Regardless, Concord says even if they don’t get the project, just by bidding on it they’re letting businesses across the country know what the city has to offer.

“Any additional exposure that the weapons station gets by competing for Amazon will benefit us in the long run over the life of the project,” Bjerke said.

Amazon says it prefers “shovel-ready” sites. And apparently — they mean it. They’re giving cities just 30 days to submit their proposals.

Oakland and San Jose have also expressed interest.


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