Google will build 15,000 Silicon Valley homes

Google is teaming up with an Australian developer to build $15 billion worth of homes, offices and retail space in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lendlease will work with Google for the next 10 to 15 years to redevelop the U.S. tech company’s landholdings in San Jose, Sunnyvale and Mountain View, the Sydney-based company said in a statement Thursday. Work could start as early as 2021.

Google’s agreement with Lendlease will “play a key role in helping deliver at least 15,000 new homes on our land,” David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president for real estate and workplace services, said in a statement.

The tie-up with Lendlease is part of Google’s $1 billion pledge in June to help create more affordable housing options in the Bay Area. The tech giant committed land worth $750 million to building residential projects, as well as $250 million to encourage developers to build affordable housing.

Silicon Valley, home to some of the world’s biggest tech companies, has been grappling with a housing crisis for years.

A shortage of affordable housing across the Bay Area is pushing out middle and low-income workers like teachers and restaurant employees. Critics say the influx of companies such as Google and Facebook, and their well-paid workers, have led to a massive spike in property prices. In San Francisco alone, more than 7,000 people are homeless, according to the city’s most recent survey.

Shares in Lendlease rose 4.75% in Australia on Thursday.

The project comes as more U.S. tech companies are getting involved in regional housing issues.

In January, Microsoft pledged to invest $500 million to make homes in Seattle, where it is headquartered, more affordable. That same month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company and his charitable foundation — the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — were partnering with local firms and organizations to raise more than $500 million to help fight the housing crisis.

Ahiza Garcia contributed to this story.