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June 08, 2017

Google excited about San Jose supporting its plan for a massive tech campus downtown

The Mercury News

George Avalos

SAN JOSE - Google is excited about receiving city support for its interest in downtown San Jose, the search giant said Thursday, amid its evaluation of opportunities in the suddenly red-hot Diridon Station district.

San Jose officials this week said Google is in talks with the city to create a massive tech campus downtown, near the Diridon train station and SAP Center, that could accommodate up to 20,000 jobs and transform the area into a transit-oriented tech village.

"We're excited to have the support of the San Jose city council as we evaluate our options at Diridon Station," a Google spokesperson said Thursday. Those were Google's first comments about the situation.
Mountain View-based Google and the city of San Jose are discussing a potential mixed-used development that could include more than 6 million square feet of office and research space, potentially making it the company's largest collection of tech offices. If built, it would be larger than the search giant's roughly 3.1-million-square-foot Mountain View headquarters, known as the Googleplex, which currently is its biggest U.S. work hub.

"We look forward to collaborating with officials and community members," Google said in comments emailed to this newspaper on Thursday.

Google's expansion plans could dovetail with San Jose's own quest to maximize transit links in and out of Diridon Station. The area is deemed attractive for offices, homes and retail because it's a hub for Amtrak, Caltrain and a light-rail system. It's also slated for a BART station and a possible high-speed rail line connection, although those won't materialize for years. All the transit upgrades could increase the number of commuters to downtown San Jose by eight-fold.

"I had reached out several times to Google the last few years," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told this newspaper earlier this week, referring to the possibility of the tech giant entering the city's downtown.

In prepared remarks this week, Liccardo said, "Based on our conversations with Google, we share a collective vision for the future of this space, a vision of urban design that will invite the public into the station."

Google's potential push into downtown would be a game changer for the city. At present, San Jose has about 10 million square feet of offices. Therefore, 6 million additional square feet would make for a huge addition to the downtown skyline.

"San Jose has been trolling for this big fish for quite some time," said Chad Leiker, a first vice president with Kidder Mathews, a commercial realty brokerage. "The city will do everything it can to make Google happen for San Jose."

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