Jobs-to-Housing Ratio

Jobs-to-Housing Ratio


Dear Readers,
In this issue we feature two bookend projects. On the northernmost tip of the Peninsula we have Brisbane struggling to define development of almost 700 acres. Looking south we see the City of Santa Clara, a landowner, developing 250 acres.
What can be learned from Council stewardship and these two mega-projects?
Santa Clara has seven councilpersons. Brisbane has five. We wonder what history will say about the stewardship of these twelve leaders. Their names are Caserta, Conway, Cunningham, Davis, Davis, Gillmore, Lentz, Mahan, O’Connell, O’Neill and Watanabe.
Two things are for certain… the impact of these two projects is incalculable and the jobs/housing paradox will live long into our futures.

City of Santa Clara
The Center of What’s Possible

Note: This article may be subscriber only. Here are some excerpts.

“The Related Cos. is gearing up to start work on its 9.2 million-square-foot City Place development… will sit on about 240 acres that once served as a landfill.”

“Related Cos. will ground-lease the property little by little as it develops the project in seven phases over the next 25 to 30 years  The ground lease is expected to eventually add about $16.9 million to the city’s general fund.”

“We can charge really, really high rents on this land,” Mayor Lisa Gillmor said during this week’s study session with a grin. “We are really happy about that.”

Ed. Comment: We estimate that this development as envisioned today will create 21,600 jobs on 5.4 million square feet of commercial space and perhaps 1,100 more jobs in hotels and retail. Slightly less than 1,700 housing unit would be built on site. What is the jobs/housing ratio? We conservatively estimate 13 jobs for every housing unit.

Brisbane City of Stars
“Indicating they felt backed into a corner by state legislators ardently pushing for housing development along the Baylands, Brisbane officials reluctantly agreed to permit building at the highly-watched site. The Brisbane City Council unanimously approved moving toward a ballot measure allowing construction of as many as 2,200 housing units and 4 million square feet of commercial space in a potentially transformative development…..”
“The pivotal decision was not made without a great deal of consternation though, as council members shared their dissatisfaction with the pressure to build housing in Brisbane as a means of alleviating the regional affordability crunch.”

Ed Comment: We read that Brisbane’s scenarios call for four to seven million sf of commercial development creating between 16,000 and 28,000 new jobs. We assume 4 new jobs for every 1000 sf of commercial space. Accordingly those scenarios call for 1,000 to 4,400 new housing units. What does this mean for housing supply and demand? Brisbane Council is moving to 2,200 housing units and 4 million sf of commercial space. What does this mean for regional housing supply and demand?
We acknowledge the dangers of making too many assumptions, but we estimate job/housing ratios (J2H) for this project range from 6 to 24. Brisbane’s ballot measure seems to suggest a 7.3 J2H ratio to their voters.

Facebook redux
Here are our three favorite Facebook commentaries from local newspapers.
Facebook’s Broken Promises by Jon Mays, Editor of San Mateo Daily Journal
California privacy advocates ask Facebook why it is opposing proposed ballot measures by Levi Sumagaysay, Editor of Bay Area New Group Good Morning Silicon Valley Newsletter.
Menlo Park Council and schools challenge Facebook growth.

Humor Alive and Well

In our last newsletter we appealed to readers for Peninsula humor. We rejected readers suggesting that there was humor in the Facebook mess. Nevertheless, we found two examples that humor is alive and well.

First, we all may decide to move to Pittsburg, PA when the incentives align.

Second, we recognize a double dip: criticism piled upon satire.

Most thoughtful man in SV?
Finding economic opportunity for the middle class—including Silicon Valley residents struggling to hold on as the cost of living soars—is the “challenge of our time,” said Rep. Ro Khanna.

In a brief speech that underscored the drastic way the Bay Area’s affordable housing shortage is threatening the region’s culture and diversity, Khanna pressed for solutions that would offer all Silicon Valley residents a stab at the American dream—not just those wearing hoodies emblazoned with tech logos.

Success of SFPRA newsletter success depends upon its readers. Please feel free to forward the newsletter to your friends and neighbors. Ask them to subscribe at no cost by clicking the subscribe button above or by emailing

Editors, Neilson Buchanan and John Guislin, are unpaid, private citizens on the SF Peninsula and have no ties to developers or government organizations.

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