Public/Private Partnership Breaks Ground on $400M TOD Project in Bay Area

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorContra Costa County, Calif.–AvalonBay Communities Inc., Millennium Partners, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) and the county of Contra Costa today broke ground on a transit-oriented, mixed-use development, Avalon Walnut Creek at the Contra Costa Centre.The four-partner public/private venture is jointly investing $400 million in the project, located adjacent to BART’s Pleasant Hill station.“The transit village will show the rest of California that providing adequate public infrastructure and services that keep pace with growth is the best way to increase density within transit rich locations,” says Susan Bonilla, Contra Costa County supervisor. “By creating a public/private partnership and engaging the local community, Contra Costa Centre and the BART Transit Village are providing over 2,800 residential units and employment for 6,500 people; and the Pleasant Hill BART station is serving 6,500 BART customers daily.”Today’s groundbreaking marked the initiation of the second phase of a plan for a transit village on the Pleasant Hill BART station property. The initial phase of construction of the Walnut Creek began in March 2006, when AvalonBay started work on the expansion of the BART parking garage, which opened earlier this month. Completion of the garage was critical to the continuation of the project, as it freed the parking surface for development.When complete, the Avalon Walnut Creek transit village will feature 422 apartments, of which 85 will be affordable units. Avalon Walnut Creek will also include 100 condominiums, 35,000 sq. ft. of retail space, a civic use area, 19,400 sq. ft. dedicated to a business conference center, and 270,000 sq. ft. of office space.  “In this uncertain economy, public agencies can no longer be the sole funding source for community redevelopment,” says BART Board President, Gail Murray. “The solution to this dilemma is forging a solid partnership between public and private entities that mobilize private resources for the public good. Also, as private automobile transportation has become a greater burden on commuters and as its environmental effects have become more of a public policy concern, public transit-oriented development has drawn increasing attention.”