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California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills—Senate Bill 6 and Assembly Bill 2011—that incentivize housing projects in underutilized and vacant commercial corridors. The bills aim to help California fill a multimillion-unit shortage in its housing supply while guaranteeing union-scale wages and an expedited construction process. Supporters of the bills estimate the surge in building in the state could create more than 100,000 construction jobs.

The two bills offer developers options on projects intended to convert underutilized and vacant commercial spaces such as big-box stores, strip malls and office buildings into much-needed housing.

Sen. Anna Caballero said SB 6 will help rural communities recover from a big chain store exodus that left behind a trail of vacant buildings and parking lots. She sees the new law as a way to produce housing for first-time buyers.

Housing advocates are particularly excited about AB 2011.

An August analysis by UrbanFootprint, a software platform that analyzes city data for urban planners and local governments, found that the new law could produce 1.6 million to 2.4 million new homes, depending on market conditions, including hundreds of thousands of affordable units.

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