San Jose

San Jose City Leaders Approve Google's Downtown West Project

Mega campus includes space for 25,000 workers, 4,000 homes, retail, arts and parks

NBC Universal, Inc.

San Jose city leaders on Tuesday approved Google’s Downtown West mixed-use project, making it the largest development deal in the city's history.

Google's massive campus in the area of Diridon Station and SAP Center will house offices for up to 25,000 workers and includes 4,000 homes, some of which will be classified as affordable.

The city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the project. Mayor Sam Liccardo said it's a win for everyone.

"The city wouldn’t cut any taxes or fees," he said. "There would be no land giveaways. Google wanted, simply, to be treated fairly, to have predictability that if they followed the rules they’d be able to move forward. And, of course, Google did far more than follow the rules. They made massive commitments to the community."

The project also calls for 500,000 square feet for retail, cultural, arts, educational, hotel and other active uses, as well as 15 acres of parks and plazas.

"It's also one of the most significant and transformative large-scale transit oriented developments happening in the entire world," councilmember Dev Davis said.

While most spoke in favor of the project Tuesday night, some housing advocates expressed concerns.

"In order to offset the rising rents that will be caused by the Google plan, we would need 5,000 new affordable housing units," said Sandy Perry, president of the Affordable Housing Network. "The Google plan includes some affordable housing units, but only about 2,000."

The San Jose Sharks had been the most vocal opponent of the project, saying it might force them to move due to traffic and lack of parking. But the city announced a last-minute settlement with the team and Google, ensuring almost 3,000 parking spots at SAP Center for events during construction and that the Sharks won't sue over the project.

Google could break ground as early as next year. And the project could be on the fast track after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed California Senate Bill 7 which expedites developments that include affordable housing. The total project is expected to be completed in 10 to 20 years.

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