San Jose City Council recommends Diridon Station expansion, hears public concerns2 min read

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Google’s Downtown-West mixed-use project would bring significant changes to the 250 acre Diridon Station area, including electrified Caltrain, BART and the California high-speed rail.

Heather Allen, Staff Reporter

The San Jose City Council met with the Diridon Station Advisory Group to assess progress and changes that have been made to the Diridon Station Area Plan for Google’s Downtown-West mixed use project. 

 

DSAP and Google’s Downtown-West mixed-use project would bring significant changes to the 250 acre Diridon Station area, including electrified Caltrain, BART and the California high-speed rail, which is expected to be completed in 2033.

 

Google’s other proposed developments involve office buildings, open spaces, residences and “active space.”

 

“Google’s investing considerably in something that will provide lasting benefit for us and hopefully be a model for others,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo.  

 

Liccardo said that it was remarkable that 1,000 of the 4,000 residential units in the plan will be affordable housing near the future transportation hub, which will benefit the surrounding community.

 

Director of Economic Development Nancy Klein shared similar sentiments. She said that Downtown West was a lucrative opportunity for Google to build world class office space, which makes the tech giant’s commitment to building residences that will not be immediately profitable even more remarkable.

 

“50% of their project is not office,” said Klein. “This represents a major achievement by Google and the city to shift the burden of the city requirements and community benefits to the office space.”

 

The project comes with risks that could prevent its realization with potential needs for additional land for track expansion at Diridon, which could take resources from other planned developments.

 

Other issues of concern mentioned were downtown crane height limits and parking and traffic when there are San Jose Sharks games.

 

“All parties must agree on key issues in order for A, B, C to be developed as a key part of the station,” said Klein. “The Sharks must be satisfied that the parking obligation and other obligations can be met in an alternative way.”

 

The project would take place over 10 to 30 years and has already been revised several times in response to community input, whose concerns range from high-rise apartment buildings towering over single-family homes in historic neighborhoods, population density and fears that not enough open space will be available to accommodate new residents of the area.

 

While acknowledging the community concerns and the remaining potential hurdles, council members who represent the area still felt that if the project were to fall through, it would be a huge economic loss for the community.

 

Klein said, “Overall profit could exceed $10 billion in investments, construction projects and wages from the 5,700 construction workers anticipated on the project.”

The Diridon Station Area Advisory Group is holding several community engagement events over winter 2020 and are accepting public community comment until Jan, 8, 2021. 

 

The target for city council consideration of the amended DSAP is spring 2021.

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