The sleepy town of Brisbane, California, located on the outskirts of Silicon Valley, is poised to become the next major housing destination in the Bay Area, with help from the tech industry.
Leaders from nearly three dozen tech companies, including Salesforce, Yelp, AT&T, Comcast, and Square, signed off on a letter to local officials last week, urging them to consider a development proposal that would add seven million square feet of commercial space and 4,400 housing units to the small city, according to the San Francisco Business Times.
The Brisbane Baylands project has received sharp criticism from people living in Brisbane, who don’t want to see an influx of tech workers change the character of their neighbourhoods. The project would more than triple the city’s population of about 4,600 over the next 30 years.
At a meeting of the Brisbane City Council on August 8, local officials heard from residents and housing advocates in a meeting to decide the proposal’s fate. Protesters came from across the region, passing out “Build housing” stickers and carrying signs that read “Boycott Brisbane!”
“We are a little town. We are unique. There is no other place like Brisbane until we get far away from here,” said resident Carolyn Parker in an interview with local paper, The Daily Journal.
“We did not create the housing crisis in the Bay Area and we should not be the solution to the entire Bay Area’s housing crisis,” resident Karen Cunningham told the Journal.
An increase in housing supply could bring other changes to the waterfront community. The additional 4,400 units of homes and apartments could lower the value of existing homes.
City council members pushed the vote on the mixed-use development to the end of August.
In a letter to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, tech moguls including Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and Yelp’s Jeremy Stoppelman described the Brisbane Baylands project as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to make progress on the area’s housing imbalance.