Google’s Downtown West Clears Planning Commission – Public Town Hall Thursday 4/29

Rendering of Google Downtown West.

Google’s Downtown West planned transit village for the 80 acres around San Jose’s Diridon Station has been approved by the city’s planning commission, and will advance to San Jose City Council for review. At Wednesday night’s meeting, the commission gave its blessing on the massive mixed use plan based on 10 years of city planning. Google first unveiled its draft mixed-use framework in August 2019, and held a community meeting on its development application last October. The city held a community meeting on April 17.

San Jose City Councilmember Pam Foley is hosting a public virtual town hall meeting on Thursday, April 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., featuring presentations from Google representatives on project specifics. “It’s important we get the land use around this transportation hub right,” she wrote in the meeting invitation. The vision for the station has earned it the moniker ‘Grand Central Station of the West,’ “with more rail line access than any other station west of the Mississippi River,” Foley wrote.

The meeting is slated to cover Google’s plans for 80 acres around the train station, their community outreach efforts to date, the benefits that San José hopes to capture, and their plans to mitigate and address various concerns. “There will be plenty of time for questions,” Foley said in her invitation. “Downtown San Jose belongs to everyone.”

Residents can register for the Town Hall on Zoom or join via Facebook Live.

The Downtown West project will eventually include 7.3 million square feet of office, 4,000 housing units including land dedicated to the city for 600 units of affordable housing and 200 units of potential affordable housing, 15 acres of parks, plazas and green spaces and 500,000 square feet of space for retail, cultural, arts, education, hotel and more.

Downtown West has the support of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who has advocated strongly for the project amidst reports of contention with San Jose Sharks over parking. On Sunday, the Sharks sent a letter to its Friends of SAP Center, declaring its opposition to the project ‘as currently designed,’ according to reports. The issue revolves around the Sharks’ proposed sale of three parking lots to Google, and the prospect of future parking and access to SAP Center, the terms for which the parties are not yet aligned. The Sharks has assured the public that it believe both sites ‘can coexist,’ however, and Liccardo remains optimistic, telling news outlets, “We will continue to build a vibrant downtown in which both San Jose residents and Sharks fans can take pride.” The City Council is set to review the Downtown West project on May 25, 2021.