As Google lays the groundwork for its downtown San Jose mega-campus, the tech-giant announced today that its making its first project-specific investment from a $250 million fund it pledged to invest in affordable housing.
The $5.3 million chunk of change will help fund the Kelsey Ayer Station project—a 115-unit development made up of affordable, market-rate and disability housing. It’s part of Google’s broader plan to spend $1 billion on 20,000 new homes in the Bay Area.
The complex, which will be a mix of two-bedroom units and studios, will be located at 447 N. First St.—a 25-minute walk away from Google’s future hub. It’s also the first project for The Kelsey, an organization that “creates and advocates for housing where people with and without disabilities live, play and serve together,” according to CEO and Founder Micaela Connery.
“My cousin Kelsey and I were born three months apart, going through every life milestone together,” Connery wrote in a blog post on Google’s website. “When it came time to live on our own, it took me several months to find housing—but it took Kelsey almost eight years. Her family struggled to find a home that was supportive of her disabilities, while still letting Kelsey be part of the broader community.”
Of the 115 units, 89 will be affordable. Twenty-eight of the total units will also be earmarked for people with developmental disabilities: 26 at a below-market-rate price tag and two going for market-rate. Google’s investment will help fund pre-development costs such as, acquiring the land, entitling it and helping with initial design work, according to Google spokesman Michael Appel.
The development will have a number of services for those with disabilities including a drop-off for accessible transit and a sensory garden. Two staff members, called “Inclusion Concierges,” will also live on site and help “connect residents to each other, the services and support they need and the broader city around them.”
“The Kelsey’s first development in San Jose will be a pioneering, inclusive housing community," Google’s San Jose Real Estate Development Director Alexa Arena said. “As we engage with the city and community, we continually hear that preserving affordability is vital to San Jose’s future. Google is very excited to be a part of The Kelsey and we’re looking forward to more opportunities to help with the creation and preservation of affordable housing.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo praised Google's investment in the Kelsey Ayer Station project.
“I'm happy to learn of Google's contribution to help house some of our community's most vulnerable, and look forward to seeing their continued investment in our city," Liccardo told San Jose Inside.
The news of Google’s new investment comes just two weeks after it submitted plans for its upcoming San Jose campus.
The 80-acre site is adjacent to Diridon Station and will have 6.5 million square feet of office space, 3,000 to 5,000 residential units, up to 500,0000 square feet for retail, arts or cultural purposes and as many as 300 hotel rooms. The project is in a year-long public engagement and environmental review process, which will culminate in a vote by the council in late 2020.