Environmental reviewers approved plans for a $6.7 billion mixed-use development in Santa Clara, CA, on the site of a former 5.5 million-ton landfill, according to The Mercury News.
The 9.2-million-square-foot Related Companies' development, City Place, would add as many as 1,680 housing units across from Levi's Stadium, and it would be the largest housing development atop a landfill in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Related has faced legal pushback from critics who say a discrepancy between the project’s job-creation potential and total housing produced (23,000 jobs to 1,680 housing units) would put undue strain on the region. The city of San Jose sued the city of Santa Clara, saying the project would raise local housing demand and stress area infrastructure.
City Place wouldn't be the first development to be built atop a former landfill. Others are rising elsewhere in California and across the country.
A mixed-use development in Santa Monica, CA, will see the construction of retail, office and entertainment space, built over a closed landfill, according to the Daily Breeze. And in Campbell, CA, a 170-unit apartment complex was built over a closed landfill that held construction and demolition debris. That landfill produced fewer gases than does Santa Clara’s and the apartment complex is smaller than Related's proposal — two factors that have worried regulators about the latest development, The Mercury News reported.
Regulatory, engineering and health and safety concerns have limited the feasibility and uptake of building atop landfills, especially for housing. Remediation and site preparation present two of the biggest challenges, Anna Amarandos, a partner with California firm Rutan & Tucker told Construction Dive in July 2016. The other, she said, are the longer timelines landfill development needs. The approvals processes, along with securing the necessary safety measures, can take time. Estimates for City Place’s entire construction timeline indicate that the project could take more than two decades to complete, according to The Mercury News.
San Jose officials face a tough battle when it comes to producing enough housing supply to meet demand. The metro ranked among Realtor.com's top 10 most active real-estate markets in June. Meanwhile, the state’s supply of active listings fell for the 23rd-straight month in May, with inventory down 12.4% year-over-year, leaving the state with a 2.9-month supply of homes on the market.