Gov. Jerry Brown said last week he was in search of "plenty of billions" of dollars during his trip to China. Today, he announced is on his way to the goal.
The governor, who is in China this week and made the announcement from Beijing, said he has secured a $1.5-billion investment partnership between a California-based developer and a China-based investor that will bring a huge new retail, housing and park complex to Oakland's waterfront.
The Brooklyn Basin investment deal is between China-based Zarsion Holdings Group Co. Ltd. and California-based Signature Development Group. Brown said the project will build 3,100 units and have 200,000 square feet of retail space plus 30 acres of parkland. He said it will also create 10,000 jobs.
"This massive influx of Chinese investment will put thousands of Californians to work and dramatically improve Oakland’s waterfront," said Brown, who used to be Oakland's mayor. "This project is just one example of what’s possible when business leaders in two of the world’s most dynamic regions connect."
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan says she's been working hard to court Chinese investors and said that hard work has paid off in this deal.
"This is going to be one of the nicest new housing projects in Oakland. You're going to be able to be right on the estuary you can paddle to Lake Merrit if you wanted. It is a gorgeous site," Quan said.
Brown is leading a delegation of business leaders in China this week in search of what he called "plenty of billions."
"They've got $400 billion or $500 billion they're going to invest abroad, so California's got to get a piece of that,'' Brown said in an interview last week ahead of his seven-day trip.
In a release announcing the Oakland deal, the governor cited research that found California has the potential to attract up to $60 billion in Chinese foreign direct investment by 2020.
The Bay Area Council was quick to applaud the deal.
"Let the floodgates open," Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman said. "California is ripe with opportunities for China’s massive store of investment money and this deal represents just the kind of economic partnership that the state’s new Trade and Investment Office is focused on securing, to create jobs and grow our economy. China is looking at making foreign investments of up to $500 billion in coming years and there’s no reason California shouldn’t grab its fair share of that."
The project is scheduled to break ground in 2014.