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Google’s Plan to Transform San Jose Diridon Station Draws Criticism

A plan to build a mega Google complex on 250 acres near the Diridon Station in San Jose is drawing sharp criticism from many community organizations.

On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council will decide whether to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement to develop at least 10 city-owned properties near the SAP Center.

A training facility for San Jose firefighters is one of the several properties the city is considering selling to Google.

City officials said the tech giant is interested in developing up to 8 million square feet of office space on 250 acres near Diridon Station. The project is expected to create 20,000 new jobs in downtown.

Several community groups on Monday said they fear Google will squeeze out low-income workers and drive rental prices up. The groups fear the project will do more harm than good and want to have a say before the city gets too cozy with Google.

"We are concerned this project will mean less affordable housing, fewer good quality jobs and the displacement of many who have affordable housing now," said Ben Field, executive officer of the South Bay Labor Council.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said regardless of any deal with Google, affordable housing is a big problem the city is already working on.

"If you consider this development would get built over a decade, there is no question the city plans to build more housing and build a lot of it at all income levels," Liccardo said. 

Community members from Silicon Rising and several other groups took a letter outlining their concerns directly to the mayor's office. The groups said they hope the city council will work to make sure the new development benefits the entire community and not just tech companies.

The groups also asked the city use local labor to build the new project.

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