A new chapter in Fremont’s history is about to be written with the addition of more jobs, housing, and supporting development close to the new Warm Springs BART station that is scheduled to open in December 2015. Back in July 2014, the City approved the Warm Springs Community Plan. And, last week the Fremont City Council approved a master plan and development agreement with Lennar to build a large-scale, mixed-use project in the heart of the district.

The agreement is crucial to transform 111 acres of vacant land north of the Tesla Factory from what was once slated to become a Union Pacific rail yard to a vibrant, strategically urban center with 2,214 housing units and 1.4M square feet of Class A office/industrial space. The development also includes an elementary school, urban park, public plazas and the development of “Innovation Way”, an east-west street connecting the BART station area to Fremont Blvd., and the primary internal roadway for the development project. The master plan will create 4,100 new direct jobs and spur investment in the area. The master plan approval is a key milestone for Lennar’s purchase agreement with Union Pacific.

Given the vast size of the project, Lennar has proposed four phases for the development. Phase 1 begins in the spring of 2016 with the construction of the backbone infrastructure. This phase includes the construction of Innovation Way, North-South Streets, Lopes Court, and Industrial Drive. Phase 2 will see the building of affordable housing units, the elementary school, urban parks and plazas. Phases 3 and 4 will lead to the completion of the market-rate multi-family units for the project.

Lennar’s development is significant because it will provide the infrastructure for R&D and commercial development. The company’s upfront investment in schools, parks, public plazas, and roads is estimated to exceed $100M. Additionally, Lennar’s catalytic project will leverage other public improvements such as a pedestrian bridge over the Union Pacific rail spur.

This is a giant step forward in Fremont’s plans to become a “strategically urban” community and build on the Innovation District prototype that has been taking shape in South Fremont.