Google-backed affordable home site in downtown San Jose could sprout near Shark Tank

SAN JOSE — Some unassuming properties that Google bought in downtown San Jose near the Shark Tank are poised to provide land to “jump-start” an affordable housing site made possible by the search giant’s transit village.

During 2018, in multiple transactions over a span of seven months, Google bought three properties on North Montgomery Street and North Autumn Street.

At the time, the transactions raised eyebrows because the properties were outside of the emerging footprint of the tech titan’s proposed Downtown West neighborhood. Property experts said the purchases primarily suggested that the Google transit village was expanding into new territories.

Now it turns out the sites are crucial because they provide land for Google to provide to the city of San Jose so the municipality can launch the development of 200 affordable homes.

“The opportunity for Google to donate land for the development of affordable housing is great,” said Nanci Klein, San Jose’s director of economic development.

Taken together, the three parcels total slightly more than 0.8 acres and they are situated so any development on the site would have frontage on both North Montgomery and North Autumn.

“This gives the city the ability to jump-start affordable housing in the Diridon Station area,” Klein said.

In April 2018, Google paid $1.9 million for a site with addresses at 240 and 250 N. Montgomery St., documents filed with county officials show.

Then in November 2018, Google paid $3 million for a site with addresses of 255 N. Autumn St. and 260 N. Montgomery St., according to the county property records.

The properties are all just south of West Julian Street and east of the SAP Center’s northern parking lots.

The proposed development agreement for the Downtown West neighborhood that Google filed on April 6 with city officials included plans for 4,000 homes to be developed on Google-owned lands within the transit village’s footprint.

Of these 4,000 homes, 1,000 would be affordable, according to the development proposal for Downtown West, a mixed-use village of offices, homes, shops, restaurants, hotel facilities, entertainment hubs, cultural centers, and parks where Google could employ up to 20,000 people.

“This amount of affordable housing is unprecedented for a private development in San Jose,” Google said this week.

Google also committed to the development of affordable homes outside of the Downtown West footprint through a variety of approaches, including the donation of land for modestly-priced and low-cost residences near the transit village.

“We are very lucky to have a generous Google in our midst,” said Mark Ritchie, president of Ritchie Commercial, a real estate firm.

Receiving land from Google for affordable development is crucial because Google’s increasingly visible interest in the creation of a dramatic new neighborhood on the western edges of downtown San Jose near the Diridon train station and the SAP Center has also shoved real estate values higher in the vicinity.

“The Diridon Station area is getting more expensive,” Klein said.


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Author: George Avalos

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