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Google's Plan for Massive San Jose, Calif., Tech Village Could Grow Even Larger

Google's plans to reshape a wide swath of downtown San Jose could get even bigger than previously indicated, potentially reaching 8 million square feet, according to a new staff memo prepared for a key City Council meeting next week.

by George Avalos, San Francisco Chronicle / June 15, 2017
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(TNS) -- Google's plans to reshape a wide swath of downtown San Jose could get even bigger than previously indicated, potentially reaching 8 million square feet, according to a new staff memo prepared for a key City Council meeting next week.

That could boost Google's already massive development plan by 2 million square feet, making it one-third larger than previously indicated by San Jose city officials.

"Preliminary discussions with Google indicate interest in planning and building a master-planned transit-oriented development that includes between 6 and 8 million square feet of office/R&D space and retail/commercial amenities," according to a city staff report.

The project's development footprint could dramatically increase downtown San Jose's office market, though it's unclear how much of the project would be developed as office space.

"Eight million square feet is basically the size of all of downtown San Jose's office market," said Mark Ritchie, president of San Jose-based Ritchie Commercial Development.

Numerous far-reaching changes loom, which would alter people's driving and access habits for an array of activities, including attending San Jose Sharks games and other events at the SAP Center. That's because some of the largest of the government-owned parcels that the city proposes to sell to Google as part of the project are the big surface parking lots next to SAP Center.

Google intends to bring 15,000 to 20,000 of its employees into the project area.

"We're excited about the possibilities," a Google spokesperson said Monday in an interview.

Google added that the potential size and transit-oriented nature of the development area were big draws.

Real estate investors connected to Google or its development partner, Trammell Crow, have already spent a combined $124 million to gobble up an array of properties inside a 240-acre part of downtown. A Trammell Crow affiliate has struck deals to purchase at least five more parcels.

"The estimate of 8 million square feet is one of those core planning issues where they contemplate the max buildout, which you usually see with transit-oriented projects," said Bob Staedler, a principal executive with San Jose-based Silicon Valley Synergy, a development consultant.

Google and city agencies also will negotiate the purchase of 16 publicly owned parcels.

Google's development plan would clearly be a years-long project. City staffers said that development applications aren't likely to be submitted to the city during 2017.

"Diridon Station will become the Bay Area's transit hub and the premier location in the Bay Area for significant transit-oriented job growth," the staff report said.

 ©2017 the San Francisco Chronicle Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.