CONCORD – The developer of a planned downtown apartment complex more than doubled the number of affordable units so he could eliminate expensive underground parking spaces.
Originally, the seven-story, 181-unit Argent included three floors of parking with 263 spaces.
But the $55,000 to $60,000 cost to build each subterranean parking space made the project unfeasible, according to developer David Jones. To keep the rents reasonable, Jones said he had to scale back the parking garage back to two aboveground levels.
By providing 20 units affordable to very low-income tenants — up from nine included in the initial plan — state law allows Jones to reduce the number of parking spots to 182, which includes 40 for guests and a handful designated for car-share service Zipcar.
The complex will be built on the 1.5-acre former Blockbuster Video site at Willow Pass Road and Port Chicago Highway.
Jones believes there will be less demand for parking at the Argent because it will be within walking distance of the downtown Concord BART station, Todos Santos Plaza and a supermarket.
He hopes to attract empty nesters and young professionals who commute by BART to jobs in Oakland and San Francisco.
“There’s lot of people who don’t have cars anymore,” Jones recently told the Planning Commission.
“The kids now they don’t have cars, they pay too much in rent; they’re taking an Uber, they’re jumping on BART.”
The affordable units – three studios, 11 one-bedrooms and six two-bedrooms – will be spread throughout the development. A deed restriction will ensure that the 20 apartments remain affordable for 55 years. Of the four multi-family housing projects under construction or in the pipeline in downtown Concord, the Argent is the only one that includes affordably priced apartments.
The studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments…