Watt Companies has sold “The Vale,” a 24.5-acre former industrial campus located in Sunnyvale, CA for $186 million. Watt purchased the property two years ago with the intention to redevelop the site into a high quality, urban-infill residential village. In late-2015, the City of Sunnyvale approved an entitlement package for the project that included an environmental impact report that addressed the property’s historical environmental challenges, allowing 450 homes in a neighborhood surrounded some of Silicon Valley’s most notable tech companies.
Watt Companies and their capital partner sold the entitled project to new residential player Landsea Holdings, the U.S. subsidiary of one of China’s largest builders. This transaction is one of the largest single Silicon Valley residential land deals in years and shows how valuable entitled residential sites can be in prime Silicon Valley locations.
“On behalf of Watt Companies, we are proud to announce the sale of ‘The Vale’ to Landsea Holdings,” said Max Frank, Division President of Watt Communities. “With an almost 70-year legacy, Watt Communities works passionately to build great places to live, and continues to do this through creative and thoughtful planning, that balances challenges, that upholds our company’s highest standards and that builds trust with the community from the project inception.”
Frank also noted the deal evolved from an initial smaller sale between the two parties for one of The Vale’s several villages. “Landsea’s appetite to grow their Northern California operation made this acquisition incredibly strategic. Their entire management team demonstrated professionalism and expertise, giving me the confidence they could execute on our vision and our commitments to the City of Sunnyvale.”
Watt, the third developer to attempt the redevelopment of the property, acquired the property in 2014, after convincing then-land owner, Spansion, Inc. and the City of Sunnyvale to place their trust in Watt’s history and reputation as one of the nation’s most trusted builders with over 100,000 homes throughout the Western United States.
With extensive knowledge in remediating and developing environmentally challenged properties, and with his significant re-entitlement expertise, Frank then sought out a strong capital partner and worked to reassure the community and the City of Sunnyvale that redeveloping the property as a new residential development offered greater potential for quality of life and much needed ownership housing, given the jobs/housing imbalance in the City.