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Google hands San Jose an expensive piece of downtown land for affordable housing

Google hands San Jose an expensive piece of downtown land for affordable housing
Photo Credit: City of San Jose
By Wesley Severson - Published on October 19, 2021.

Google has handed the city of San Jose three small but expensive pieces of land right by the SAP Center in downtown where the city plans to build affordable housing. The three connecting parcels sit along North Autumn Street and North Montgomery Street which is just a short distance from Google’s future transit village known as ‘Downtown West.’ The tech giant plans to load the area with housing, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment over the next several years.

“Google is going to build 1,000 affordable homes for its project but the company is also providing these sites to further the development of affordable housing in San Jose,” San Jose director of economic development Nanci Klein told the Mercury News. A total of 240 units of affordable housing would be permitted to be built on the three sites which total eight-tenths of an acre. Google bought the properties for $4.9 million in two different purchases in 2018 and has apparently always had it in its sites as part of the overall Downtown West community.

“The vision for Downtown West always included affordable housing. Google moved swiftly to get these three sites into City control.” Scott Knies with the San Jose Downtown Association told Mercury News. Downtown West is expected to contain up to 4,000 homes with 1,000 of them slated to be affordable. Prices for those homes and the 240 that will be built on the parcels given to the city have yet to be determined. 

“There could be a mix of incomes that would be eligible for the housing. Some of the units could be deeply affordable. Google is being a great partner for the city. They are working to create a neighborhood that will be good for Google and good for the community,” Klein told Mercury News. It’s possible that Google’s Downtown West community could create 20,000 jobs which could provide deep economic benefits for the city. 

Over the next few months, city officials are expected to start laying out plans for the three parcels they just received. They will also soon be hiring a major developer to design the buildings and the layout of the property to get the affordable homes built. So far, no timelines have been set.