Lenders Back $600MM in Projects with Pau’s Sand Hill Despite Litigation

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It is common knowledge that The Carlyle Group, a global asset manager based in Washington, D.C., with more than $180 billion in assets, is Sand Hill’s equity partner for The Grove, the office campus in Los Gatos being built to house Netflix. A Carlyle spokesperson declined comment for this story.

[contextly_sidebar id=”c3a4dbdb6c1f5ceb9313453c59f39d2b”]Now, according to two sources, one with direct knowledge of the transaction, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund for the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, is backing Pau’s ambitious development project in Cupertino. ADIA Head of Media Relations Erik Portanger, reached via email in Abu Dhabi, declined statement, citing organizational policy. Pau, his employees and others involved are constrained by non-disclosure agreements.

But a banker with one of the country’s top 20 regional lenders said such “platinum-grade” equity partners as Carlyle and ADIA go a long way toward persuading his organization that Sand Hill is creditworthy, litigation notwithstanding.

Pau said: “To me I am thankful that people understand the litigation and are willing to give me loans and capital.”

Gaining entitlements for the Cupertino Main Street project in and of itself is an achievement. Residents of the West Valley town guard their suburban lifestyle and famous public schools with ferocious intensity. In 2006, citizens angered by proposals from two homebuilders including Toll Brothers Inc. to develop the same Hewlett Packard tract and some additional acreage into more than 500 condominiums and 113,00 square feet of retail space gathered 5,000 signatures to put the projects to a public vote, where they were cast out.

Now the city has approved not only the offices and hotel but also 130,500 square feet of retail space including some 20,000 square feet of “incubator” space, 120 work-live lofts targeted at professional adults and others with no children, and a multistory parking garage. As part of the entitlements, the council has limited Sand Hill to three years to have the entire project under development.

The location is immediately south of several Apple office buildings, next to a mid-rise multifamily development now under construction and across North Wolfe Road from the Vallco Shopping Center.

Pau has a history of development in Cupertino including a Whole Foods grocery center and office development adjacent to the existing Apple headquarters. In the late 1990s he bought and redeveloped Cupertino Village, a conventional neighborhood shopping center, re-tenanting it with retailers targeting Asian shoppers. He sold it to Kimco Realty Corp. for more $65 million in early 2006.

Cupertino city spokesperson Rick Kitson said Sand Hill is sponsoring a Sept. 15 groundbreaking and celebration to which it intends to invite the entire community. City staff and council members are participating in preparations. Based on current progress, the city planner expects to issue a grading permit to Sand Hill for the site on or near the same day, Kitson said.

Cupertino Mayor Orrin Mahoney said he harbored no doubts that Sand Hill and Pau would deliver. The project is one of the most important in the city’s history as a central community gathering spot that it now lacks, he said. He has known the developer since his own tenure on the city’s planning commission in the 1990s. “He has done a lot of good projects in the city,” Mahoney said. “He knows that if this turns out wrong, he won’t have a future here.”

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