The Mercury News reports that San Jose City Council has approved to negotiate only with Google to sell 16 city-owned parcels to the search engine company. Since September 2015 Trammell Crow, Google’s development partner has spent $58.5 million US dollars for an 8.3 acre “transit village” site to potentially build 1 million square feet of offices and 325 apartments.
“This is a once-in-a-century opportunity” for San Jose, Kim Walesh, the city’s economic development director, told the council. “This is a dramatic opportunity to expand the downtown core westward.”
“The transit village would generate millions of dollars in tax revenue and add thousands of tech jobs in an area where experts have estimated that up to 3,000 housing units could be built, city officials said Tuesday. “It will mean more local jobs closer to home,” Nanci Klein, the city’s assistant director of economic development, said in a presentation to the council.”
While thousands of housing units have now been built in the downtown core, it is estimated that a further 3,00 units can be built within this new area. This adds significant tax dollars for San Jose, as well as more high-tech jobs to boost the economy.
“I am supportive of Google’s interest in coming to San Jose and expect they will continue to be the great corporate citizen they have shown to be in other communities,” San Jose City Councilman Sergio Jimenez stated in a letter to the City Council. “It is my sense that Google recognizes and appreciates the impacts this project will have on our city.”
While some locals have decried Google’s choke hold on potential downtown properties in a city that is experiencing high housing demand, the Mayor of  San Jose is more upbeat: “Google is not in the business of solving the city’s problems,” the mayor said. “Google didn’t cause these problems. These are problems we have to solve.”


  1. This is a very interesting story for urbanists. A major employer, one of the richest household names in the world, is moving from an office park off the freeway system to transit-rich and walkable downtown San Jose with a fine-grained street network and relatively affordable housing.
    When Apple built its spaceship just 10 km west, it seemed to miss the irony, and spent enormous capital building a huge parkade under the spaceship on a site in a transit-poor suburb. When the spaceship piece appeared here I got curious and StreetViewed downtown San Jose and discovered the Diridon Cal Trans station, and I wondered why Apple rejected a sustainable location while ironically promoting a partially solar powered spaceship. This could be a testament to the power of ego and status to override common sense when employees value their Teslas more than a lover.
    Now Google has done the exact opposite, and capitalized on the extremely convenient train station within walkable distance of its new site, and an existing light rail line running right by. They will also enliven downtown and earn karma points over Apple with their investment in sustainable urbanism and local businesses. They could go over the top if they also traversed into deep conservation with respect to building energy.
    Jarrett Walker also picked up on this ironical positioning between the two tech giants:
    Meanwhile, San Jose has just been sitting there, right adjacent to Silicon Valley, with a historic downtown that has great bones but could use more investment. Inner San Jose is a pleasant, walkable, historic city that non-elite techies can afford to live in, and that still offers good transit access to the rest of the Bay Area. Adobe, to its credit, is already there.
    So bravo. I hope this is opens the floodgates to more employers relocating in the most transit-oriented place in Silicon Valley.

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