San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan is downplaying a CNBC report that Google has halted construction on the 80-acre “Downtown West” office project in San Jose.
“I just got off the phone with Google,” Mahan told reporters in a hastily called press conference Friday after the CNBC story broke.
“There is no news,” he said. “Google remains totally committed to San Jose in the long term, and San Jose is totally committed to Google.”
Google issued this statement to media: “We’re working to ensure our real estate investments match the future needs of our hybrid workforce, our business and our communities. While we’re assessing how to best move forward with Downtown West, we’re still committed to San Jose for the long term and believe in the importance of the development.”
Mahan did not dispute specifics in the online business news report, that the Silicon Valley giant has slowed its construction timetable for developing land it owns around Diridon Station west of downtown.
“Big projects like this, the speed at which they move forward is based on the national economic situation,” Mahan said.
“In its February earnings call, Google made it pretty clear that while they are shedding some of their leased properties, they are doubling down on the property that they own,” he said.”I would argue that as the company looks to future expansion, I think there is no owned property that is more strategically located than downtown San Jose.”
“Google has a 30-year development agreement – they have a lot of flexibility built into that plan,” Mahan said. “When they are ready to go, they will move quickly.”
CNBC went so far as to say that “Some sources close to the development told CNBC that the company doesn’t have plans to revive the project in the near future.”
Mahan said he remains confident and optimistic, despite massive layoffs and cost-cutting announced by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, earlier this year.
“We are very excited,” said the mayor.”Nothing has changed. CNBC just got the news a little late…based on news that came out a month ago.”
“I think we’ll seen an initial slowdown in this market, with interest rates where they are,” Mahan said. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to build a lot of commercial right now.”
CNBC reported that Google “has gutted its development team for the San Jose campus,” and that “no plan to restart has been communicated to contractors,according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named due to non-disclosure agreements.”
“Sources are optimistic that a campus will be built at some point,” according to CNBC, but added that while ”Google representatives have expressed a commitment to it, they’re concerned the project may not reach the scale promised in the original master plan.”
The online business news outlet also reported that last month, “Google also removed construction updates from its website for the project, according to internal correspondence viewed by CNBC.”
The Downtown West plan would add 4,000 new residences, and create up to 20,000 jobs, in addition to the Google buildings.
CNBC visited the site a couple of times in April during the normal workday, to see swaths of land where old buildings have been replaced by cranes, tractors and other construction equipment in a fenced-off area and reported seeing no construction activity.
Yup, and we’ll see Cisco in Coyote Valley soon too. The only thing it would take at this point for Google to follow through with their downtown San Jose plans would be to delist from the stock market and become a private not-for-profit company. I’m still thinking the project is dead. The panic in the politicians we’re seeing now makes me think they somehow baked Google in downtown into the city’s budget projections.
A number of us knew and said all along it was vapor until it actually materialized.
Never, never, never trust Google in anything but ads. They will get you clicks, but they bail on everything else.