SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — New plans released by Google on Thursday show how the company plans to transform the area around the Diridon Station in downtown San Jose.
Nearly 2,000 pages of documents show Google’s vision for the so-called Downtown West Project as a busy, vibrant hub of housing, office space, transportation, retail parks and plazas.
“This is the first big unveiling of the scope and the vision of these 80 acres,” said Scott Knies of the San Jose Downtown Association.
Knies says the project will be transformative.
He called it “a city within a city,” but one that uses the existing streets and infrastructure.
“They’re not building a walled-off spaceship that turns its back to the community. They are building it so that it fits into San Jose,” explained Knies.
Whether it fits in or dominates will be in the eye of the beholder.
Renderings show how seven million square feet of office space and 4,000 high-rise housing units will tower above existing neighborhoods.
“I don’t like the increased traffic it will bring, but I do like how it will bring critical mass to downtown San Jose,” said John Stamps, a neighbor who lives near Cahill “ark.
Google has agreed to work with San Jose to build in 1,000 units of below-market-rate housing. Some of that affordable housing will be on Google land, and some will be on land owned by the city.
Not everyone thinks the tech giant is doing enough to help those in need who live downtown.
“They could spend so much more, and they can do so much more,” said Pastor Scott Wagers, one of the first housing advocates to call on Google to include affordable and homeless housing into its plans.
“You can’t move them out. So you have to have a plan for them. I think it behooves Google and all the corporations, if you want to build in San Jose, you have the build the unhoused into the equation,” Pastor Wagers said.
In a statement, Google said it is listening to those concerns.
“We’re excited about this next step in our project. We continue to hear that housing and preserving affordability is a priority for San José and our proposal offers more affordable housing, job pathways, and community spaces for San Joséans,” the statement read.