SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Google executives were met with protestors Thursday night as the company unveiled its vision for downtown San Jose. At least six people had to be escorted by police out of City Hall.
The proposed Google project will sit on 60 acres of land the company had purchased around the Diridon Train Station. Critics fear it will push long-time residents out as development moves forward.
Right outside San Jose City Hall chambers, Thursday's meeting began with loud chants from opponents against Google moving in to San Jose.
Google executives revealed its preliminary concept on a project that’s expected to transform downtown. The development is six million square feet of mixed use of offices, shops, restaurants and 15 acres of parks and plazas.
“We started the process on how we can work together,” said Alexa Arena, Google’s real estate development director. “We can't do this alone. Google is just a catalyst for what is a vision that has existed for so long.”
Google said it plans to be in San Jose for the long haul committed to creating jobs near transit and building up to 5,000 housing units. Twenty-five percent is required to be affordable.
The company also promises to invest in an affordable housing fund, $250 million for the Bay Area and $50 million for homelessness and anti-displacement grants.
During the presentation, protestors one by one began shouting and police had to step in and guide them out.
“I think there is great opportunity here and we are very sincere about that so hopefully we can keep working together at this,” said Arena.
Critics worry Google’s plans to bring in 20,000 employees will drive up the cost of housing.
“I’m on Social Security,” said Geneva Strickland who is homeless. “I can't afford more than $500 a month to live just a decent life in this area.”
“San Jose has both a housing crisis and a jobs deficit,” said Kim Walesh, City of San Jose deputy manager.
City leaders said it's developing an anti-displacement strategy to include expanding tenant protections and increasing funding for homeless prevention.
“This is a much bigger issue than just the Diridon Station area,” said Walesh. “It’s a city wide and regional issue.”
Google will submit its planning application to the City of San Jose in October. The development review process takes 12 months. City staff will provide a recommendation for the project to the council at the end of next year.