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Google, San Jose Development Deal Includes $200 Million in Housing Funds

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Google's plans for a new campus in San Jose. (Google)

After four years of negotiations between Google and San Jose, the tech giant and the Silicon Valley city have announced a development plan for Google’s new transit-oriented campus near downtown. The plan includes $200 million in funding for affordable housing and preventing displacement. The Google community benefits package includes $150 million for various social programs aimed at preserving affordable housing, fighting homelessness and other housing-related goals.

The proposed campus, called Downtown West, will include 15 acres of open space, 4,000 new homes and 600 units allocated for affordable housing. 

Google’s benefits package also includes “opportunity grants,” which would provide college scholarships, career exploration for middle and high school students and support for small business and entrepreneurship in the city. 

“Google gets it, they’ve heard the community,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said Tuesday. “They’re eager to respond to the needs of the community and we look forward to this partnership.” 

Since 2018, when city officials approved the $110 million sale of public land for Google's expanded campus, local housing advocates have been vocal about their concern over the development’s likely impact on the city's already low housing affordability.

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Maria Noel Fernandez, campaign director for the advocacy group Silicon Valley Rising, has been outspoken about her fears of what impact Google will have on San Jose’s low-income communities. 

“Google and the city listened to our four years of organizing, coming together with the community to develop a different kind of project,” Fernandez said. “By putting $150 million and real decision-making power in the hands of grassroots leaders in neighborhoods at risk of displacement, this project sets a new model for how tech development can keep families housed, and lift the quality of blue collar jobs.” 

The City Council votes on the project in late May, after which city officials are planning  to create a commission made up of local organizations to decide how and where to spend the money. 

“What we want in our downtown is not a corporate campus that’s going to simply displace people,” Liccardo said. “And what we see in response is not simply 7 million square feet of office,  but in fact thousands of homes, many affordable, as well as retail and restaurants and a whole host of amenities that will be a really great attraction for residents who live right here in downtown ... as well as the entire region.”

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