Google’s Plans For San Jose

Found from Google's proposed plans for their campus. (Blanca Castillo / for Lincoln Lion Tales)

From a population of 66 people in 1777 to 1,025,350 people in 2018, San Jose has undergone a lot of changes in the past centuries. Originally California’s first state capital, San Jose has always been an important asset to California. Now, San Jose is known as being the capital of Silicon Valley. But that comes at a great cost. Since there are so many high paying tech jobs in the area, the average price of things have gone up. It is more expensive to live in San Jose than it is to live in Los Angeles. For $60,000 dollars you can afford a 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom mobile home in San Jose. For the same price you can buy a 3 bedroom and 2 bathroom mobile home in Los Angeles. These prices have lead to a rising number of homelessness in San Jose. San Jose has an estimated population of 7,394 homeless people in 2018, Something Google believes they can change with their new campus being built in San Jose.

Google’s plan, known as the “Google Village”, plans on constructing a campus in downtown San Jose. Many people living in San Jose are supporting the Google Campus because of the new available homes, and many are against the planning due to the overcrowding in downtown. In a survey conducted by Lincoln High School students, a mass majority say that living in San Jose is already very expensive for vehicle owners because of high cost for gas and high cost for homes in downtown. Many also state that downtown will become even more crowded due to the population expanding. Mercury News says “ Google aims to build right in the city’s center, in a western part of downtown that many believe is ripe for renewal.” Mercury News also stated that the “Google Village” will employ thousands of workers. Mercury News said “Google is fashioning plans for massive, transit-oriented village consisting of 6 million to 8 million square feet of offices where 15,000 to 20,000 of the company’s employees could work.”

On January 24th, 2018, housing activists, who were concerned with what google village could mean for struggling families, protested at Google’s current headquarters in Mountain View. The city of San Jose is negotiating with Google about their plans to build a new 6.8 million square foot campus, and they plan to create 20,000 jobs with their new campus. In the midst of a city with already astronomical housing prices, the possibilities of the new Google campus is worrying people about how this will affect costs of living. “We are here because our economy is hurting” said Maria Noel Fernandez, who is part of an unnamed group protesting at Google’s HQ. The Group Silicon Valley Rising (SVR) was present at the protest with their requests, saying that Google needs to help affordable housing and legal representation for those at jeopardy of losing their homes because of climbing house prices. While SVR were at the protest with their requests, the pro business group Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) were telling residents to welcome Google and the benefits that they could potentially bring. Carl Guardino, the President and CEO of SVLG said “First, we have an iconic company like Google, who wants to invest 20,000 high tech, high wage jobs in Downtown San Jose, where it belongs.” Google recently released a statement concerning plans with local officials to benefit the city of San Jose and it’s residents.

Google proposed “village” in San Jose could have its advantages and disadvantages according to the article in NBC Bay Area, “Pros and Cons of Google’s Proposed Campus in San Jose” by Kris Sanchez. The advantages they state is Google’s village could bring up to 20,000 jobs  to the San Jose area. Also Google’s village has the belief to convert San Jose to the “Grand Central Station of the west”, of which Google would bring more workers to San Jose to push forward the Dridion Station. But with Google’s village creation in San Jose has its disadvantages. The article states that the village would create traffic congestion and overcrowd the public transportation of the local area due to bringing more workers to one of the largest cities in the U.S. Also there is the problem of housing space and housing affordability, San Jose is already known to be pricey in housing, and it could be affected even more with the creation of the Google village. Then, in a survey conducted by my group we received results that show most of the people were not taking it series. Then most of the respondents were Juniors in high school giving their opinion. Although we asked the question, “How do you feel about the Google Village?” and the answers shocked me with thirteen of the seventeen responses they did not know about the Google proposed village. Also most people believe that San Jose is expensive to live in, stating that San Jose is, “Horrible super expensive” and “… expensive for most families”. Then about one third of the respondents say they want to live in San Jose after they Graduate and about another one third are undecided. Overall the Google village has advantages and disadvantages, but for the people of San Jose who are unaware of this proposed project this is written to expand their knowledge of this topic in their community.