SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Google’s plans to build a sprawling mega-campus — a virtual city within a city — in downtown San Jose are a step closer to reality with the tech giant filing its for application with the city’s planning department.
“They control about 60 acres. And what they’ve proposed is a mix of uses — homes, offices, shops,” said Scott Knies, the Executive Director of the San Jose Downtown Association.
The project which has been dubbed “Downtown West” by Google would be San Jose’s largest development in decades. It features 6.5-million square feet of office space, as many as 5,000 new homes and a 300-room hotel.
The planning department’s review of the proposed development would likely take about a year with a final vote tentatively projected for late 2020.
Not everyone in San Jose is on board with the development.
“I have deep misgivings about a big company like Google coming into an area like this and changing the character of it,” said Barry Smith, who was critical of the project.
Google’s proposal has been deeply polarizing. City leaders say it will be transformational — holding the promise of thousands of high-tech, highly paid and sought after jobs. Critics worry it will deepen the area’s affordability crisis.
“There is a direct correlation in Silicon Valley about the ascent of corporations like Google and the cost of housing. And it’s not a coincidence that so many people are homeless here,” said Pastor Scott Wagers, who ministers to the city’s needy.
However, business leaders point out that affordable housing and homeless were problems long before Google announced its plans.
“There is panacea here. No one development is going to stop the cost of living in Silicon Valley from rising,” Knies said.