San Jose

San Jose Approves Land Sale for Google Expansion Despite Protest

Eight arrested after chaining themselves to seats in council chamber in protest of $111M development proposal

San Jose city leaders on Wednesday approved a roughly 11-acre land sale to Google that paves the path for the tech giant's proposed downtown development. 

The unanimous vote of approval did not come without objection as protesters interrupted city council proceedings late Tuesday, prompting a response from police. 

Public comments lasted for hours Tuesday evening before the protesters interrupted the meeting. Eight of the protesters chained themselves to seats, and police had to use bolt cutters to break them free. All eight were arrested and charged with disrupting a public meeting.

The council reconvened and continued its discussion of the issue into the early morning hours Wednesday and voted around 12:30 a.m.

Google's development planned for an area near Diridon Station and SAP Center could create roughly 20,000 to 25,000 new jobs in San Jose. In addition to Google work space, development plans call for retail, hotel and housing space.

City officials received a significant amount of public comment regarding the proposed development. If surveys and previously submitted letters from the public were any indication, the plan had received broad support.

But not everyone has been pleased with the proposal. A homeless advocacy group on Monday began a three-day fast to urge the city to consider setting aside money for homeless programs and for permanent tent encampments.

In a statement issued earlier this week, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said that through the Google partnership at least 25 percent of new housing will be affordable and rent restricted. A new downtown fee and a pending community benefits package will provide millions more for affordable housing.

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