Tech giant is funding 3 affordable housing projects in the Bay Area
(The following story appeared March 4 in the San Francisco Chronicle. The story appears as it did online.)
By Roland Li
Google and its nonprofit partner Housing Trust Silicon Valley have loaned $30 million to three Bay Area affordable housing projects. The commitment, announced Thursday, is part of the tech giant’s $1 billion funding plan to support local housing, which started in 2019.
The projects include Bridge Housing’s Hope SF development in Potrero Hill, Eden Housing’s La Avenida in Mountain View, and USA Properties Fund and the Pinyon Group’s Tasman East in Santa Clara.
Google, Apple and Facebook pledged billions in 2019 to help bolster housing after rents and for-sale prices soared in the past decade, making it harder for even well-paid tech employees to find homes. The coronavirus pandemic has cooled the rental market, but weakness in the job market has made housing an ongoing burden for many. Market-rate housing development is expected to slow in the Bay Area, reducing the fees that help support affordable housing projects.
“Affordable housing is needed now more than ever given the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our communities,” Rebecca Prozan, Google’s West Coast policy lead, said in a statement. “We continue to be as focused as ever on helping the Bay Area build more affordable homes in this time of need.”
The Potrero Hill project includes around 619 replacement units of public housing, which existing residents will move into, along with around 1,000 new affordable and market-rate units. The project was approved in 2017 and the first new building opened in 2019.
Cynthia Parker, CEO of Bridge Housing, said Google’s loan will help speed up development at the project.
“This means more than 800 affordable homes plus a range of housing, amenities and open space that will lift up the entire community,” she said in a statement.
La Avenida includes around 100 affordable housing units, with a third reserved for the homeless. The project at 1100 La Avenida St. has a budget of around $78 million, according to a 2020 city report. It’s 1 ½ miles from Google’s headquarters.
The Tasman East project at 2310 Calle Del Mundo calls for up to 150 housing units.
“This project will be one of the most well-located transit-oriented developments in Silicon Valley and will bring much needed affordable housing at a broad range of incomes near new and existing employment hubs,” Geoff Brown, CEO of USA Properties Fund, said in a statement.
Google previously funded projects in San Jose, Newark and Sunnyvale. Other plans include converting commercial land that it owns into housing sites.
Despite a shift to more remote work, the tech giant has numerous office expansions planned in the Bay Area, including in Mountain View’s North Bayshore, Santa Clara and near Diridon Station in San Jose.