Google’s Downtown West Campus Receives San Jose’s Blessing
Dubbed one of the most significant and transformative transit-oriented development projects in the world by San Jose District 6 City Council Member Devora Davis, who spoke at a May 25 hearing, Google’s Downtown West campus has been approved.
The tech giant’s plans for a new mega-campus and mixed-use project near San Jose’s Diridon Station began in 2017, resulting in a memorandum of understanding between Google and the city in 2018. With a development agreement reached in April and approval in hand, plans for 4,000 housing units, 7.3M SF of office, 15 acres of parks, plazas and open space, a 100K SF event venue with a 300-room hotel, and up to 500K SF of retail, cultural, educational and other uses within an 80-acre mixed-use district can proceed.
The project will have 25%, or 1,000 units, of designated affordable housing. It will also yield $165M in funding for community stabilization and opportunity pathways for marginalized communities. The total community benefits package amounts to $200M, in addition to $1B for infrastructure improvements.
“Staff and Google have continued to refine project outcomes, and the first site will come to us within 120 days of resolving any lawsuits that are derived from the project, which may be nine months to a year from now,” San Jose Director of Economic Development Nanci Klein said. “Moving quickly to develop affordable housing is the best way to discourage displacement.”
In addition to increasing the size of storm and sewer systems, another infrastructure upgrade associated with the project is a district utility system that will work in tandem with city networks to provide wastewater, recycled water and electricity via a microgrid to the mixed-use development.
The microgrid is geared to help the project achieve energy resiliency and will consist of one of three options under review. The first option is for a PG&E retail/community microgrid, the second would be a publicly provided grid and the third would be a Google grid.
“It's important to note that construction would be funded and performed by Google for all options,” San Jose Director of Community Energy Lori Mitchell said. “It's also important to note that there is significant additional analysis that still needs to be completed for the city option. So some of that analysis includes the development of a business plan, a risk-benefit assessment as well as agreements.”
A city-led microgrid business plan is expected to be ready for city council review by this fall, Mitchell said.
Construction on Downtown West could begin next year, kicking off what would be a decades-long process.