Google's world headquarters, pictured here, are located in the San Jose suburb of Mountain View, Calif. File Photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI | License Photo
May 26 (UPI) -- After three years of negotiations, the San Jose City Council agreed Tuesday night to turn over part of its downtown to tech giant Google for development of a vast living space with apartments, shops, parks and office space.
Google's multi-billion dollar Downtown West project, first proposed in 2019, will take 80 acres of San Jose's downtown area to develop 7 million square feet of corporate offices, thousands of housing units, hundreds of hotel rooms and a half-million square feet of retail space. Fifteen acres will be developed as open space and parks.
"I want to thank everyone at Google for seeing this possibility," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said during Tuesday's meeting, according to San Jose Mercury News. "Google has done far more than follow the rules, they've made a massive commitment to our community."
Alexa Arena, Google's San Jose development director, said the company's commitment to downtown San Jose exhibits a commitment to be there for the long haul.
Google's world headquarters are located in the San Jose suburb of Mountain View, Calif.
"We are not a developer who is just coming in for five years, but we're really thinking about how we can become an integrated part of the neighborhood," Arena said, according to the Mercury News.
Even the project's most fierce critics, like homeless advocate and Houseless Homies SJ founder Stephanie Avila, admitted there was no stopping Google's arrival downtown. She was the lone protester at Tuesday night's city council meeting.
"I acknowledge that Google isn't going anywhere, and we do need Google in some ways," she said, according to the San Jose Spotlight. "But we have to do it in ways where we're preserving the culture of San Jose and we're protecting the people of San Jose."
Google tried to blunt criticism of displacing current San Jose residents with a $200 million community benefits fund, to provide grants to low-income resident programs to help preserve affordable housing downtown.
Sandy Perry, of the Affordable Housing Network, said that likely won't be enough to prevent rent increases that will drive low and moderate-income residents out of downtown San Jose -- which is located about an hour's drive southeast from the notoriously high-rent San Francisco.