New Google campus will force millions of dollars in rent spikes, report says

San Jose, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, various community groups are calling on Google to build thousands of new homes near San Jose's Diridon Station, which is where the company is expected to build a massive campus in the future. This comes as a new report released Wednesday claims the project will lead to millions of dollars in rent spikes throughout the Bay Area's largest city.

"If Google makes the right investments in housing, particularly affordable housing, that it has the opportunity to be a model for Silicon Valley to develop without displacement," said Jeffrey Buchanan of Working Partnerships USA, the labor-backed group responsible for the report.

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An analysis says that local renters will face $235 million in rent hikes by 2030 when the bulk of the Google campus could be near completion. The study makes the assumption that nearly 20,000 new employees will come in as a result of the campus, along with 8,000 service workers. However, the city disputes those numbers and says the majority of jobs will be shifted from other offices.

"We've got a lot of work to do to address the housing crisis we have today, with all the developments happening outside the city," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. "We certainly recognize that Google will have an impact, and we'll do everything we can to be ready for it."

Working Partnerships USA wants the tech giant and city to work together to build 5,284 affordable homes and 12,450 market-rate units. Google hasn't revealed how much housing it will build as part of the project but says that at least 25-percent of it will be affordable or reduced rent.

"We're working closely and collaboratively with the City and many community groups on our future development in San Jose," said Javier Gonzalez, Google South Bay Public Affairs Manager. "As we do so, we know that housing is a vital issue and we're committed to invest in new housing in the area, including affordable housing."

Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a non-profit, public-policy advocacy group serving nearly 400 businesses based in Silicon Valley, says his team's research shows overwhelming community support for the Google project.

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"The assumption that somehow this is going to increase rents for all of us isn't based on factual accuracy," said Guardino.

Google is expected to present its plans for the Diridon Station project in the coming months.
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