Yesterday, Google and the City of San Jose released a plan that lays out a collective vision for a vibrant mixed-use urban center with LOTS of new homes, including homes affordable to San Jose’s lowest-income residents. Check out the official draft Development Agreement for the area known as Downtown West here. Downtown West covers about a third of the 240-acre Station Area.
So what’s in the plan? Google’s is agreeing to incorporate 4,000 new homes alongside its new office space. Of the 4,000, 25% will be affordable to lower- to moderate income families for the long term. We are particularly excited that Google plans to dedicate land in addition to integrating affordable homes with market-rate units. Land is always one of the most challenging pieces of the development puzzle for affordable housing developers, and by dedicating land developers can access more funding and create more affordable homes. Additionally, Google has said that it will “front load” much of the affordable housing development so that it moves forward now not later—an important point given the long construction timeline, which will easily stretch out for ten years.
In addition to the news about new homes, Google’s commitment to provide a total of $200 million in funding to the community, including $150 million for the new Community Stabilization and Opportunity Pathway Fund, is really an exciting opportunity. This Fund will provide real resources for affordable housing production, preservation, and housing stability/tenant protection in addition to addressing other community needs. The fact that the community will have a say in how the funds will be used is another reason to celebrate.
SV@Home has long said that, as we add new jobs, we need to add homes for the jobs to live. The fact that Google has prioritized a significant amount of housing is worth celebrating, and it sets the stage for the development of 15,000 new homes for the Diridon Station Area—a goal that SV@Home has long advocated for, together with other advocates and community partners.
Just a short while ago, we wouldn’t have thought this was possible. From advocating for 25% affordability in the Station Area to pushing the boundaries of the number of potential units—originally planned at 2,300 homes—SV@Home has provided data to show that 15,000 new homes are possible, a number the City is now studying. Kudos to the City of San Jose and Google for all the work that they have done over the past few years to get to this pivotal point.
Want to make your voice heard? Want to share why the housing and affordable housing pieces of this proposal are so important to San José’s future? Make sure to log onto the final Station Area Advisory Group (SAAG) meeting now scheduled for next Wednesday, April 14th beginning at 6pm to learn the details and provide your ideas and your voice before the the City Council takes it up later in May.