On Tuesday evening, San Jose city officials officially approved a plan for Google to build a huge campus in the heart of California’s third largest city.
For its Downtown West project, Google will develop 80 acres of land in downtown San Jose, including 7.3 million square feet of office space for 20,000 workers and thousands of residential units. It is Google’s first mixed-use campus and will be one of the largest when completed. The San Jose City Council unanimously approved the company’s plans Tuesday night, with several council members holding back tears.
The approval comes as Google plans to model a move away from closed tech locations to curb growing alienation from tech companies, whose success has contributed to a lack of affordable housing and major cultural shifts in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs. Google, which is doubling down to get employees back to offices amid the weakening pandemic, is planning another massive, city-like hub just 10 miles up the street in Mountain View.
“There is tremendous suspicion and suspicion of big tech in the government, and it could have been easy for many of our community members to succumb to slogans and simple thinking, but thousands have rolled up their sleeves,” said the Mayor of San Jose , Sam Liccardo, meeting on Tuesday. “Instead of jumping into one camp or the other, community members pushed and nudged, urging the city and Google to stretch and reach higher.”
Liccardo went on to thank the community groups, Google, and Alphabet’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, and SVP Kent Walker, who said, “We are determined to see this through.”
“We’d like to thank the city and community for years of commitment and genuine partnership,” said Alexa Arena, Google’s San Jose development director, in a statement Tuesday evening. “Together we have laid the foundation for an equitable, environmentally conscious place that is the best of San Jose and Google.”
The Downtown West campus will have 4,000 residential units, 1,000 of which will be for a range of “affordable” housing. In the city of San Jose, “extremely low-income” qualifiers – the lowest category of low-income housing – earn 30% of the median median income. Exact house prices have not yet been established, officials said.
Downtown West will also include up to 300 hotel rooms and 800 residences for short-term accommodation for Google’s corporate guests. While Google will own all 80 acres, more than half of the project will be dedicated to residential and public spaces, and will include features such as parks, restaurants, retail spaces, entertainment spaces, and ecological observation stations.
Construction on the project could begin as early as next year, but it is expected to take between 10 and 30 years to complete.
A four year journey
Downtown West’s approval comes after four years of planning, adapting and obtaining buy-ins from lawyers from the community and housing construction, after they were pushed back early and intensively due to displacement problems. Within a week of the news being posted in 2017, property prices will appear within a five-mile radius of the site It rose 7%, according to real estate experts, and rose to 25% six months later.
On Tuesday evening, while the San Jose city council meeting was still in progress, the company secured a last-minute deal with the NHL team, the San Jose Sharks, which was the vocalist opponent of Google’s plan, and complained about the lack of suggested parking for It’s his home in the nearby SAP arena. In exchange for changes, the Sharks agreed not to sue the city or Google.
The Santa Clara County Airport Land Use Commission rejected the project in December, citing concerns about building heights along the way to the airport. However, the unanimous vote of the city council prevailed against the rejection of the commission.
Google and SVP’s Chief Legal Officer for Global Affairs Kent Walker joined California Governor Gavin Newsom last week when he hosted the signing of Senate Law 7 at the Downtown West location, which will benefit from the bill, the big one Real estate developments accelerated.
Without office space, Google will pay more than $ 1 billion for infrastructure features like parks, sidewalks, and historic site preservation. It also pays approximately $ 265.8 million in land and infrastructure fees and $ 200 million in “social benefits”, including anti-displacement and job preparation programs. A company spokesman said it was too early to estimate the cost of the offices.
“We are particularly proud of the community fund that was created with local social justice organizations to give underserved communities a voice on where community investments should be made,” Alexa Arena said in a statement. Arena said the company held more than 100 community feedback sessions.
Arena said late last year that after years of back and forth with the community, the company’s goal was “much less the corporate campus” and more “a resilient neighborhood”.