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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Creating great communities for all

San Jose approves Google’s downtown village and campus in historic vote

By Maggie Angst, Mercury News, May 26, 2021

“San Jose council members unanimously and enthusiastically approved Google’s master plan to transform 80 acres on the western edge of downtown into a vibrant new urban neighborhood complete with blocks full of new office buildings, apartment complexes, shops, and parks.

The monumental project [also referred to as Downtown West] … marks the largest economic development deal ever made in San Jose and promises to bring a profound change to the city landscape by significantly expanding the downtown core.

“The long-awaited development, which is expected to bring as many as 25,000 jobs to San Jose, will feature 7.3 million square feet of office space, 4,000 housing units, 300 hotel rooms, 500,000 square feet of retail space, and 15 acres of open space and parks.

“In return for buying up some of San Jose’s most valuable public land to create the project, Google will provide $200 million in community benefits and guarantee the construction of 1,000 affordable housing units — or 25 percent of the total within the development.

“As part of the agreement, Google is creating a $154.8 million community fund for aiding unhoused residents, offering job training, and addressing displacement and the city’s lack of affordable housing […]

“As part of the area’s transformation, San Jose is also planning a massive overhaul of Diridon Station and working to extend BART from the new Berryessa station [and] across downtown to Diridon.

“[T]he most vocal opponents of the project, the San Jose Sharks, reversed course [after] the city agreed to ensure the same amount of parking spaces are available throughout the project’s construction and completion and to regularly consult with the Sharks regarding the design of parking structures and the street network around the arena.”

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