Protesters fear Google's proposed complex in San Jose will drive up cost of living

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Byby Kate Larsen via KGO logo
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
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San Jose residents rallied outside and inside city hall Monday to protest Google's proposed mega development in downtown San Jose.

San Jose residents rallied outside and inside City Hall Monday to protest Google's proposed mega development in downtown San Jose.

"It's a safety concern that I have and I just wish that you guys would go outside and voice your displeasure out there," said a police officer minding the protesters.

Police barred many of them from attending the public advisory meeting about the development because they said the room was at capacity.

Google says the development would be six to eight million square feet and would include office, residential, and retails space near the SAP Center and Diridion

Caltrain Station.

When asked what Google doing to ensure that San Jose residents don't get displaced by their new complex, San Jose Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh said "Google is listening to community input along with the city and expressed early on their intention to be part of some of the solutions."

RELATED: Activists protest new Google development in front of San Jose conference

"If Google wants to come here, they've got to be a good neighbor," said Maria Noel Fernandez of Silicon Valley Rising.

Fernandez is on the advisory committee and works for Silicon Valley Rising, which looks at how tech development impacts working class people. "We want Google. We want tech to actually grow and flourish here but it's got to be with us," she said. "If they're going to come here, we need specifics around affordable housing, specifics around jobs."

"No one from Google is listening to us here," said San Jose resident Jeremy Taylor. He lives one mile from Diridion Station and works in tech himself. He owns his home, so the Google development is likely good news for the value of his property, but he's worried about his neighbors who rent.

He says the mere anticipation of Google's development, which likely won't break ground for another seven years, is driving housing costs up in his neighborhood. "My neighbors are getting kicked out today, so I get that they have their own timeline but we're already experiencing it."

San Jose is still in the early planning stages. The city council is on track to make a decision about the sale of tens of millions of dollars in public property to Google in December.

Google Public Affairs Manager Javier Gonzalez released the following statement on Monday, "The first six months of the city's public engagement, and our own community meetings, have clarified the aspirations and concerns for future development as it relates to housing, displacement, and job opportunities in San Jose. We'll continue to participate in these open dialogues and work with the community and city over the coming years to address these priorities together."