By Amanda Bartlett
Nov 5, 2023
Google has abandoned its plans for $15 billion in affordable housing, office and retail development in Silicon Valley, per a Friday announcement by tech giant and Australian developer Lendlease.
“The decision to end these agreements followed a comprehensive review by Google of its real estate investments, and a determination by both organizations that the existing agreements are no longer mutually beneficial given current market conditions,” the statement read.
The San Francisco Bay Project was slated to roll out the construction of four neighborhoods across San Jose, Sunnyvale and Mountain View, where Google is headquartered, in 2026, Lendlease said. In June 2019, Google pledged $1 billion to help build a total of 20,000 homes in the Bay Area over the course of a decade. That included a promise to repurpose $750 million in land that had previously been zoned for commercial and office space into 15,000 homes.
“We really see this proposal as taking another step forward with our housing commitment, and we look forward to working with the City and community on next steps,” Michael Tymoff, Google’s Mountain View development director, said in a statement about the new campus at the time.
The plan also included Google’s 80-acre Downtown West mega campus, which was slated to be San Jose’s single largest development and wrapped up its first demolition phase in June.
In spite of the scrapped plans, Google still hopes to move forward with the project and may collaborate with Lendlease or another developer again in the future, Alexa Arena, a senior director of development at Google, told the Wall Street Journal.
“As we’ve shared before, we’ve been optimizing our real estate investments in the Bay Area, and part of that work is looking at a variety of options to move our development projects forward and deliver on our housing commitment,” Arena said. “We appreciate Lendlease and the work the team has done to get us to this point.”
The news comes in the wake of Google laying off hundreds of recruiting staff in September after the company spent $633 million reducing its office space footprint in the first six months of 2023. Google announced mass layoffs of around 12,000 employees, or 6% of its staff, in January, in addition to eliminating some perks for staff like onsite snack bars as cost-cutting measures continued in an uncertain economic climate.
Amanda Bartlett is a senior reporter for SFGATE covering culture, Bay Area history, science and breaking news. Prior to joining the newsroom in 2019, she worked for the Roxie Theater, Noise Pop and Frameline Film Festival. She lives in San Francisco with her rabbit, Cheeto. Send her an email at email@example.com.