Google Eyes Diridon Station Area for Transit-Focused Development

Google is eyeing San Jose’s most prized real estate for future development, which could bring thousands of jobs to downtown and help the city realize its goal of creating a mass transportation hub.

Mayor Sam Liccardo announced Tuesday that city officials are in talks with the high-tech giant about building offices, retail and apartments around Diridon Station. The proposed development could add upward of 6 million square feet of office and research space and accommodate up to 20,000 jobs, according to city estimates.

“In partnership with Google, we can reimagine Silicon Valley’s landscape, by creating a vibrant, architecturally iconic, transit-focused village that provides a model for a more sustainable future, and a sharp departure from the sprawling, auto-oriented tilt-up tech campuses of the Valley’s past,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “The time has come for us to think boldly about the future of our city’s center. Silicon Valley’s center of gravity is shifting southward. As we build Diridon to become the busiest multi-modal station in the west, the tens of thousands who will commute here daily will know that they have arrived in Silicon Valley’s urban center, and that downtown San Jose has arrived.”

The project proposal includes massive investment in the long run, with striking architecture and publicly accessible plazas, paseos, street-level retail and public parks along the Los Gatos Creek. The development would link to light rail, Caltrain and, eventually, to a BART station slated for downtown. It would also include additional walkways and bicycle paths.

San Jose has long hoped to lure the Oakland A’s to the space by building a new ballpark across the street from SAP Center. But those plans never materialized, prompting city officials to court other opportunities. Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco celebrated the potential partnership by saying Google’s vision for the Diridon area could transform the heart of the city.

“Google’s interest in potentially laying down roots in San Jose will be transformational to the landscape of downtown and the entire city,” she said. “We have been working for a project like this for decades. The development of the Diridon area is at a critical juncture, this is the right place, the right time, with the right people, for the right reasons.”

Downtown Councilman Raul Peralez said Google’s ambition hews with the city’s blueprint for future growth. “I believe it is the best use for Diridon,” he said. “We share the company’s vision and look forward to working with them.”

Realizing that vision will require an elaborate partnership with tech companies, transit agencies and local government. It’s unclear if last month’s announcement that Caltrain will electrify the railways between Gilroy and San Francisco had any impact on Tuesday’s announcement. City officials are hopeful they can lay the groundwork by entering into an exclusive negotiations agreement with Google.

“Google’s interest in the Diridon Area is an affirmation of the growing value of the Diridon Station, downtown San Jose and the talent pool San Jose offers,” Kim Walesh, the city’s economic development chief, said in a press release. “We look forward to working with Google and stakeholders to bring forward a transformative project for Council consideration.”

14 Comments

  1. > “In partnership with Google, we can reimagine Silicon Valley’s landscape, by creating a vibrant, architecturally iconic, transit-focused village that provides a model for a more sustainable future, and a sharp departure from the sprawling, auto-oriented tilt-up tech campuses of the Valley’s past,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

    San Jose covers an area of 180 square miles. That’s a LOT of territory. If San Jose makes “a sharp departure from the sprawling, auto-oriented” city that it is so that it is no longer “sprawling”, and no longer “auto-oriented”, that implies an awful lot of population density and and awful lot of bicycles.

    We’ll be the next Calcutta.

    I’m not sure I want to live in Calcutta, even if it is “vibrant”.

      • > Have you ever been to Amsterdam? Or even Paris?\

        Only to the non-Muslim parts.

        Paris is really just a theme park. It’s kind of an accidental “history exhibit” which the French tourism authorities chose to preserve in because it brings in tourist dollars.

        Outside of the “historical center”. Paris is just a European “Detroit” or “Peoria” with public housing and slums.

        • I’m afraid you’re wrong, Paris is a city where real people live. And Parisian Muslims live in all sorts of areas. It’s also far from having slums: Paris probably has fewer tents in its streets than San Jose and that’s with a real geographic difficulty with limiting refugee movement that the US does not have.

          Please be less ignorant about these issues or spend your time educating yourself instead of giving your opinion.

          • > Please be less ignorant about these issues or spend your time educating yourself instead of giving your opinion.

            MAX:

            Thanks for your thoughtful suggestion.

            I should probably ask for a refund for my public school education.

          • You are more than welcome. But please abstain from blaming your public school for your own failings. Personal responsibility and all that.

  2. Lets see, if we make 500’x 500′ x 24 stories = 6,000,000 sqft. That would be a small Borg cube, but if you put a baseball stadium on top and no place to park below?……….. Maybe you could get the Detroit Tigers to move in!

    On the other hand my house will be worth 2 million by next week! Go Tigers!

  3. This is a very cool idea. I was born and bred in San Jose and what has happened with the downtown area is very cool. Time to expand a little more of that and make it accessible without having to drive and park a car. It could be like a Santana Row, but without the headache of parking. Sam Liccardo is on the right track, as he’s already shown by reviving the downtown area. This is much cooler than a ball park, I think.

    • Federico are you a shill for Liccardo? I havent laughed so hard in a long long time! He has already revived downtown! Are you seriously writing this with a straight face? Ive been around downtown SJ for over 28 years. No mayor has revived downtown and thats going all the way back to Janet with Sam being the worst of the entire bunch . Thanks for the good laugh though

      • It’s hard to say whether Liccardo is to thank for it or not, but it’s pretty obvious that DTSJ has more things happening than it used to (SoFa, SPSM, new high density housing with retail, etc.). I think Federico’s comment clearly notes that a lot more needs to be done though.

  4. MAX:

    > You are more than welcome. But please abstain from blaming your public school for your own failings. Personal responsibility and all that.

    You’re denying me social justice and preventing me from blaming inadequate and underfunded public schools. Instead, you’re blaming me.

    I’m the victim. You’re blaming the victim.

    Reptilians have more compassion than you do.

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