Silicon Valley’s Latest Desperate Housing Idea: On A Landfill

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Silicon Valley real estate developers want to construct a $6.7 billion housing complex over a former landfill with 5.5 million tons of municipal waste from the last 25 years. “The regulators were pretty skeptical at the start, I have to say,” one of the firm’s partners told a local newspaper. Besides the 1,680 units of housing, there’d also be 700 hotel rooms, plus 5.7 million square feet of office space, and 1.1 million square feet for retail stores. The project “includes elaborate safety systems to block the escape of combustible methane gas and other dangerous vapors, and to prevent groundwater contamination,” according to the Bay Area Newsgroup — including one foot of solid concrete over 30 acres of landfill, with the housing built above the first-floor shops and parking structures “as a way of creating additional distance between residents and any escaped gases in the event of an emergency.” In addition, there’s alarms and sensors, “as well as another system to monitor, collect and dispose of gases underground.”
Though the project has gained key approvals from the city of Santa Clara, it could still take two decades to complete. “Last year, the City of San Jose sued the City of Santa Clara, charging that the imbalance between the project’s jobs and housing — 23,000 jobs and 1,680 housing units — will increase housing demand in San Jose and tax its overstretched services and infrastructure… but both sides said they hope for an out-of-court resolution.”


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