The developer of New York's Hudson Yards is ready to build another massive office, housing and retail complex — this time about 3,000 miles to the west.
Related Cos. announced that it has started work on a 240-acre site in Silicon Valley for what it says is one of the largest entitled developments in California history. Located just north of Levi's Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers play, the Santa Clara project will cost roughly $8 billion, replacing a public golf course that sits atop a former landfill.
The development has long been planned — Related first announced it six years ago — and the fact that it's just now getting underway speaks to the difficulties of building in a region that has become infamous for its housing shortage and legal wrangling over growth. But it's also a testament to the robust tech scene that the company is embarking on a lengthy project late into an economic boom.
When fully built, the project will have 5.4 million square feet of offices, 700 hotel rooms, more than 1,600 apartments, and a retail, dining and entertainment district, as well as a 30-acre park — all a short distance from public transit and adjacent to an area that the city is converting to a residential zone. Some of the residential units at Related's property will be earmarked for people making less than 120% of the area's median income, the company said.
And, in a first for Northern California, the developer will be allowed to build housing on a site that used to be a landfill.
The project, expected to open in 2023, will also feature a range of office types, from loft-style spaces attractive to startups, to a zone that could accommodate a large company's headquarters. "Room to grow is a big issue in Silicon Valley," said Steve Eimer, Related's executive vice president in charge of the project.
Whether a sleek master-planned community becomes more than just a playground for wealthy tech employees remains to be seen. Related's Hudson Yards development — a $25 billion megaplex — has been met with similar criticism. The New York Times called it "Manhattan's Biggest, Newest, Slickest Gated Community."
Creating authentic urban experiences is very difficult in an area that's developed all around the same time, said Margaret O'Mara, a professor at the University of Washington. Even so, she said, Related's development is clearly "better use of land than a golf course" in a region that's starved for housing.