Report: San Jose Google mega-campus will lead to increased rents

A new report Wednesday paints a bleak picture of life, if Google’s planned mega-campus comes to fruition in Downtown San Jose. Researchers hired by Working Partnerships USA said the village would exacerbate the housing shortage, and increase rents for those already housed in the city.

“All told, that would create additional housing demand, leading to $235M dollars in added costs to families that rent here in the valley,” said Jeffery Buchanan, Director of Public Policy for Working Partnerships USA.

He said researchers analyzed economic forecasts covering the construction of the Google Village. Their 39 page report finds adding 20,000 tech jobs, and 8,000 service worker jobs added to the downtown area will make finding housing a needle-in-the-haystack proposition. And, it will add more than $800 annually in increased costs for renters. Some residents say they’ve already seen rents rise ahead ahead of an official plan..

“We can see that there was a marked jump, from the time the announcement was made until now. And it’s affecting everything,” said Robert Aguirre of the Silicon Valley Affordable Housing Network.

Reaction to the report has been swift and stern.

“This is the Swiss cheese of reports. Lots of holes,” said Carl Guardino, executive director of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

He and other critics say most of the 20,000 Google employees already live in Santa Clara County. According to supporters from SPUR, the company has an agreement with the City of San Jose mandating 25% of all new housing construction associated with the Google Village be deemed affordable housing. Google will also pay millions in impact fees and community benefit fees that will also fund more affordable housing.

In an emailed statement, Google representative Javier Gonzalez said in part, “…We know that housing is a vital issue and we’re committed to invest in new housing in the area, including affordable housing.”

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to address the housing crisis we have today with all of the developments happening outside the city. We certainly recognize google will have an impact, and we’re going to do everything we can to be ready for it,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo, (D) San Jose.

The report closes by saying if the city is going to be ready for google’s arrival at the end of the next decade, the company will need to build nearly 5,300 units of affordable housing, and 12,400 market rate homes to avert a crisis, the scope of which is clearly up for debate.