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Google eyes first downtown San Jose village site and project timing



Google eyes first downtown San Jose village site and project timing
By GEORGE AVALOS | gavalos@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: April 14, 2021 at 5:45 a.m. | UPDATED: April 14, 2021 at 3:40 p.m.

SAN JOSE — Google’s first property purchase for its downtown San Jose transit village was an aging telephone company building — and now that area is slated to be the spot for the neighborhood’s first development sites.

Office buildings, housing, and a cultural center would be part of the initial stages of the development of the Downtown West transit-oriented neighborhood that Google has proposed for a mile-long stretch near the Diridon train station and SAP Center — if city officials give a final go-ahead to the project.

In December 2016, a Google affiliate paid $55 million for an unremarkable Pacific Bell building at 145 S. Montgomery St., which wound up being the first of dozens of transactions in a years-long assembly of land for the Downtown West neighborhood.

Now, this site, and several others near the phone company property are slated to be transformed into a Downtown West first phase that would sprout in a section of the development that’s dubbed The Meander.

The Meander’s southern section begins in the vicinity of Park Avenue and South Montgomery Street and then runs north along Montgomery Street to around West San Fernando Street, according to a Google spokesperson. The Meander also runs along Autumn Street between Montgomery Street on the south to San Fernando Street on the north, Google said. The boundaries are preliminary and subject to possible adjustment. These sites are generally south of the train station.

As for the timing: The tech titan has said it hopes to break ground on the first new buildings in 2023. Google aims to launch the construction of streets and other crucial infrastructure in 2022, if the project is approved.

Google’s description of The Meander site, the known locations of the company’s property purchases as compiled by this news organization, and an overview released this month by the search giant provide an idea about the general location of the first phase of development — as well as the types of buildings in the first phase.

“It is a great mixed-use part of the plan,” Alexa Arena, Google’s development director for San Jose, said during a presentation on April 9 to the San Jose Downtown Association. “It includes residential and office uses, it includes a cultural building.”

The Google site plan released this month shows that the cultural hub could be located in an existing brick building leased to San Jose Taiko, which offers classes and performances related to Asian and other cultures.

Other structures in The Meander section of the neighborhood such as the phone company building and a former industrial products site, as well as surface parking lots, are slated to be bulldozed to clear the way for the first phase.

The San Jose Planning Commission is due to vote this month on a Downtown West development agreement, including a community benefits package proposed by Google. The City Council is slated to vote by the end of May on the development agreement.

The transit-oriented neighborhood that Google has proposed would include office buildings, homes, shops, restaurants, activity hubs, cultural centers, hotel facilities, and open spaces.

“We’re really excited about this first phase,” Arena said.

Full Article By George Avalos: https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/04/14/google-first-downtown-san-jose-village-site-develop-tech-home-office/