SJ approves Google's massive downtown complex, largest single development deal in city history

Amanda del Castillo Image
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
SJ approves Google's massive downtown complex
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Google's expansive Downtown West project in San Jose is one step closer to reality.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Google's expansive Downtown West project in San Jose is one step closer to reality.

Late Tuesday, city leaders voted unanimously to approve plans for what's being considered a transit-oriented "village" of sorts.

This move will forever change the gateway to the downtown core. It also makes the massive 80-acre mega campus the largest single development deal in city history.

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"It's also one of the most significant and transformative large-scale, transit-oriented developments happening in the entire world," Councilmember Dev Davis shared.

However, the years-long journey didn't come without challenges. The plan received pushback from the start.

Two years ago, anti-Google protesters were caught on video, chaining themselves to chairs inside San Jose City Council Chambers.

During Tuesday's public comment period, council heard from dozens. A majority of people thanked Google for their community engagement and attention to requests from residents. Only a couple spoke out in opposition, amplifying their concerns.

"This is not okay. Last year, Google made $40-billion in profit," San Jose resident, Sandy Perry said, publicly. "They've had tens-of-billions of dollars in Trump tax cuts. And, for this amount of misery to continue to exist in our city with this amount of wealth is unacceptable."

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Reginald Swilley shared, "I think San Jose, as a city of a million people, should have a more vibrant downtown, and I think this is a good start. I think that this is a job well done."

Downtown business leaders told ABC7 News, they feel pushback has actually eased. They pointed to Google's offer to provide $200-million in community benefits. A big chunk of that money is expected to go to helping fight homelessness and displacement.

As it stands, Downtown West is slated to include a mix of housing, retail, public parks and enough office space for 25-thousand people.

The site will also hold four-thousand housing units, with nearly a quarter, expected to be affordable.

On Tuesday, many threw their support behind what the future of Downtown San Jose could be.

"Right now, Diridon is where I go to leave San Jose," resident, Brian Preskitt shared. "And with projects like these, I look forward to Diridon becoming a place where I bring my friends to San Jose."

The mega-campus could take nearly a decade to complete.