Warm Springs – Lennar seeks approval for 600 more East Bay homes

San Francisco Business Times

February 25, 2019

Homebuilder Lennar (NYSE: LEN) wants to add almost 600 homes to Fremont as it pushes ahead on a massive redevelopment.

The developer seeks approvals this week for 225 residential units across 12 acres, plus 202 more units on a separate 8-acre parcel. All are for-sale units near to the Warm Springs BART station. Another 146 condos, which will complete this chunk of the development, will also head to the commission once Lennar finalizes designs.

Although they number in the hundreds, these residential units are just one piece of Lennar’s “Area 4 Master Plan,” a megaproject encompassing 111 acres that aims to create a dense community surrounding BART. When it’s all built out, Lennar’s site will ultimately contain over 2,200 housing units and about 1.4 million square feet of commercial space.

And that’s part of an even larger vision for the Warm Springs/South Fremont area that seeks to transform about 880 acres into an industrial hub with new jobs, housing and commercial space.

“The goal of the master plan was to put a mixed-use, high-density housing development adjacent to the new Warm Springs BART station,” said James Willis, a Fremont associate planner leading the entitlements for the project. “It’s a walkable community.”

Initial phases of the buildout included 385 for-sale housing units now nearing completion, plus another 966 multifamily residential rental under construction. Lennar was awarded the contract as master developer of the massive acreage back in 2015. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

KTGY Group, Inc. and Environmental Foresight, Inc. are the architects for the next phases of the project, while CBG is the civil engineer.

It’s one of several megaprojects the homebuilder has pursued in the Bay Area. Miami-based Lennar has added over 350 single-family homes to the South Mare Island off of Vallejo, and is working with Wilson Meany on a $5-billion redevelopment of Treasure Island that will include 8,000 new homes and 500 hotel rooms, among other buildings.

The company is also working on the redevelopment of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard with Five Point Holdings (NYSE: FPH), a company Lennar spun off several years ago. Although approved for 5,000 homes and 4 million square feet of commercial space, the project has been mired in litigation and scandal over the cleanup process and alleged fake soil testing. Five Point is also overseeing the potential $6 billion redevelopment of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station.

Fremont, meanwhile, has seen a wave of development in recent years as the city pushes to become a more urban, transit-oriented area. As of 2017, the city had over 4,000 units in the pipeline.

But the cascade of projects has also caused a backlash among residents.

“The vision … is to be more urban,” said Kristie Wheeler, Fremont’s planning manager, in 2017. “What we’ve been seeing is maybe the community isn’t quite ready for the higher-density residential development.”