Google has gotten approval to build a “multi-billion dollar megacampus” in San Jose, California, just 10 miles away from the other giant campus the company is building in Mountain View. CNBC reports that city officials approved Google’s “Downtown West” project on Tuesday night.
Google’s sales pitch describes the development as a “mixed-use urban destination” built around the Diridon Station transit hub. When the project is completed, Google will own an 80-acre chunk of land that will have 7.3 million square feet of office space, 4,000 housing units, 15 acres of “parks, plazas, and green space,” and 500,000 square feet dedicated to “retail, cultural, arts, education, hotels and more.” One thousand of the 4,000 houses will be designated as “affordable” housing. Google’s San Jose development director, Alexa Aren, described the project as “much less the corporate campus” and more like “a resilient neighborhood.” It sounds like it’s essentially going to be a Google Town that employees can live and work in.
The campus has been in the works for four years. Google came up against opposition from Santa Clara County, which was concerned about building heights, and from NHL team the San Jose Sharks, whose SAP Center is about to be engulfed in Google’s construction project. The Sharks were concerned about parking, but Google and the team worked out a deal just before the campus was approved. Santa Clara was overruled by the city council’s unanimous vote. Concern about building heights is pretty much the cause of all the housing problems in Silicon Valley. As the world’s biggest tech hub, the area could support giant skyscrapers, but local politics prevent them from being built. San Jose is the most populous city in the US with no buildings of 300 feet (91 m) or higher. The tallest building is only 22 floors.
A company spokesperson told CNBC it’s too early to estimate the costs of the offices. Construction could start as early as next year and will take anywhere from 10 to 30 years to complete.