Google's plan to remodel and develop downtown San Jose received its first approval on Tuesday, with the City Council giving the Mountain View, California-based tech giant the go-ahead to start buying 16 parcels of land in the area owned by the administration in the Diridon Station district. The decision was made with a ten-to-one vote in favor and will see San Jose start exclusive negotiations with the Alphabet-owned company over the sale of the parcels. Google is planning to turn the land into a massive transit hub and will possibly add up to 20,000 jobs to the city in the process of doing so. Diridon Station is located on the western side of San Jose's downtown zone that's expected to be expanded as a result of Google's initiative.
While the local administration was keen to approve the start of exclusive negotiations with Google, local residents and labor representatives aren't as convinced by the idea of allowing the company to start development in the district, with many fearing that another high-profile expansion will additionally increase already high housing costs in the area and make the city's traffic problem even more pronounced. Concerned parties have been pressuring the City Council to implement safeguards into the final deal with Google in an effort to put those fears to rest, though it's currently unclear whether they have enough political capital to do so or if the local administration is already planning such a move on their own.
Concerns about the initiative are expected to be discussed at a later date, with the project itself still being in the early planning phase as the Silicon Valley giant has yet to buy any land. Following its initial purchases, Google will submit development plans to local officials that will then be revised and possibly altered; actual development isn't expected to start until 2018 at the earliest. Provided that the plan is completely approved, Google will build up to 3,000 housing units and between six to eight million square feet of new office space. A contemporary rail line in the area is also currently being considered by the local administration and its development plans may be sped up if and when Google's initiative gets greenlit.