SAN JOSE, Calif (KGO) -- Tuesday marks a pivotal moment for San Jose, as city leaders decide whether to approve a major deal with Google that would ultimately lead to a massive transformation downtown.
City officials expected public testimony to last several hours Tuesday evening. Residents packed city council chambers to await the fate of the first phase of the proposed Google transit village, which would allow the city to sell several parcels of land near Diridon Station west of Highway 87 to Google.
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"Cities are changing every day, so let's embrace the change in a way that we can shape it," said SPUR San Jose director Teresa Alvarado. "Google has actually been very open to the process, the public engagement process. They've listened to the community."
If approved, Google would spend more than $100 mil. on the land itself with the goal of developing nearly 50 acres into a mixed-use community with commercial, retail, restaurants, and open space.
Up to 25,000 Google jobs could be added downtown.
"In terms of jobs and taxes that will be extraordinarily valuable I think, for our schools, for our roads, for our city services more generally, things that are vital for us," said Paul Escobar, president of the Downtown Residents Association.
But critics say the city hasn't done its due diligence.
"We have a right to know what's going on in our city," said San Jose resident Rachel Subega. "I think that's why so many people are gathered here right now, and hopefully the city council will realize this."
Brian Parkman, who works as a librarian in San Jose, added: "Rents are already increasing. We've heard things from developers just going to the surrounding areas, you know, just eyeing property. It's going to get worse with Google coming in."
City officials stand by their public engagement process and call it one of the most transparent land deals the city has ever conducted.
"This is not the city of San Jose being subservient to anybody else," said Mayor Sam Liccardo. "These are two parties that are fairly negotiating a deal that is good for both."
San Jose city council to vote on Google land deal