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California eyes shuttered malls, stores for new housing

California Housing Empty Malls
Posted at 3:33 PM, May 31, 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With California facing a housing shortage, some state lawmakers want to make it easier for developers to build houses on commercial sites.

A bill that cleared the state Senate last week is aimed at the growing number of closed shopping malls and big box retail stores. It would let developers build houses on those sites without going through the hassle of changing local zoning.

Another bill will would pay local governments to change zoning to let developers build affordable housing. Housing advocates love the idea, but are concerned a requirement that such projects use skilled labor that usually means union members will drive up prices.