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
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.