Google pairs up with developer on Bay Area housing commitment

Mere weeks after Google unveiled a $1 billion commitment to help spur new housing development and preserve existing affordable homes in the Bay Area, the tech titan has partnered with a real estate developer to bring some of that housing to fruition.

Sydney, Australia-based Lendlease Corp. has made a formal agreement with Google to help build up to 15 million square feet of new residential, retail, hotel and other community space over the next 10 to 15 years. Google last month announced it would rezone $750 million worth of land in the Bay Area from land where only commercial and office spaces can rise, to places where residential development could be built.

“This joint agreement between Google and Lendlease will help address the need for new housing in the San Francisco Bay Area,” Denis Hickey, chief executive officer of Americas at Lendlease, said in a statement Wednesday. “We’re eager to contribute our world-class approach to creating unique urban communities, and we are focused on delivering outstanding places that redefine how people choose to live, work, connect and contribute to creating an active community.”

The newly-announced effort, which will include creating master plans, getting city approvals for projects and developing on Google-owned land, is slated to have an “end development value” of around $15 billion in U.S. dollars, according to a statement released Wednesday by the companies.

The pair will focus on three Bay Area cities where Google has banked huge swaths of land: its hometown of Mountain View, Sunnyvale and San Jose.  Though the tech titan also has a big office presence in San Francisco, it does not own land in the bustling city as it does along the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

Google has been expanding and planning for expansion in the Bay Area at a breakneck pace, scooping up billions of dollars worth of land and office space, much of which it plans to redevelop. But when it looks to do new development, the company has consistently been proposing building mixed-use campuses in cities in the South Bay and around the world.

The tech titan will focus on developing its own office space, while Lendlease will focus on the residential and public or shared space in the developments Google has been presenting to cities in the Bay Area and around the world.

While Google has previously said it would lease the land it owns to a residential developer to build the homes and retail it has promised cities and residents, the announcement Wednesday offers more details to a previously vague promise, though many details around the tech giant’s promise remain unclear.

David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president of real estate and workplace services, on Wednesday touted Lendlease’s long history and reputation of building major developments in cities across the world.

“Today’s agreement expands on an existing and successful partnership that will help us deliver on two important objectives: our commitment to accelerate the production of residential units in the Bay Area, and our plan to build mixed-use developments. Lendlease will play a key role in helping deliver at least 15,000 new homes on our land,” Radcliffe said.

Contact Janice Bitters at janice@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @JaniceBitters on Twitter.

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