Chinese Banks Asked to Fund SF Development Projects

SF developer Lennar tapping Chinese investor cash.

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012  |  Updated 2:01 PM PDT
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Chinese Banks Asked to Fund SF Development Projects

Joe Rosato jr.

A rooftop view of Heron's Head Park. Hunters Point Naval Shipyard sits in the distance.

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Built in the United States -- built by Chinese investors.

Lennar Corp. is in talks with a China-based investment bank to fund the massive redevelopment projects on former Navy bases in Hunters Point and Treasure Island in San Francisco, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Lennar has the rights to build up to 20,000 homes on the former shipyard in the southeast part of the city and the landfill next to Yerba Buena Island in the bay, according to the San Francisco Examiner. But finding funders for the $1.8 billion project is the tricky bit in this economy -- so the company has gone overseas in its search for capital, the newspaper reported.

Lenanr, based in Miami, is in talks with the China Development Bank, which has funded infrastructure projects around the world, the newspaper reported. Such projects are often completed by "roving Chinese workers," the newspaper reported.

The total cost of the project to rebuild Hunters Point to housing and retail from a dilapidated, polluted former naval shipyard is expected to run close to $10 billion, some of which will be covered by local bonds.

Both the foreign investment and the idea that foreign workers could do the work irked labor leaders in San Francisco.

“I’m extremely disappointed that they had to go outside the United States,” Tim Paulson, executive director of the Labor Council, told the newspaper. “I just think it’s incredibly ironic that the Chinese financial institutions are more interested in jobs and housing than American corporations.”

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