Google has been given the green light to begin construction of a huge new campus in San Jose, which is expected to take between ten to 30 years to fully build.

The San Jose city council on Tuesday finally approved Google’s plans for the mega campus that has been in the works for the last four years, CNBC reported.

Construction could begin as soon as 2022, and the project is welcome news for California, after the US state was rocked by a number of big name tech firms exiting or relocating to other states because of high local taxes, a lack of affordable housing, stiff cost of living expenses, and strict local regulations.

Downtown West

San Jose city is California’s third-largest city, and the approval of Google’s “Downtown West” ‘mixed use’ project, will see the search engine giant develop 80 acres of land in downtown San Jose, around Diridon Station.

The plan includes 7.3 million square feet of office space for 20,000 workers, as well as up to 5,900 residential units.

Google is guarantee that 25 percent of the first 4,000 residential units will be affordable for low- and middle-income residents.

And because it is a ‘mixed use’ campus, officials have have granted permission to build up to 500,000 square feet of retail and arts space, up to 300 hotel rooms; up to 800 limited-term corporate accommodations; up to two event and conference centres.

In addition, the plan will allow for the construction of warehouse space, as well as roughly 15 acres of parks and open spaces.

Google will also fund a $200 million community benefits package and about $1 billion for infrastructure features such as parks, walkways, and preservation of historic sites in exchange for approval of the mega campus.

And that is not the only campus currently development, as Google is also planning another massive, town-like hub just 10 miles up the road in Mountain View.

Community campus

“There’s tremendous mistrust of the government and suspicion of Big Tech and it could have been easy for many of our community members simply to succumb to slogans and simplistic thinking but thousands rolled up their sleeves,” San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo was quoted by CNBC as saying at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Rather than jump in one camp or another, community members pushed and prodded, and urged the city and Google to stretch and reach higher,” he said.

“We’d like to thank the City and community for years of engagement and true partnership,” Google’s San Jose Development Director Alexa Arena reportedly said in a statement. “Together, we have created a foundation for an equitable and environmentally focused place that represents the best of San Jose and Google.”

Google has been heavily investing in real estate of late.

Last week it announced plans to open a retail store in New York.

In March Google pledged to spend $7 billion on US office space and data centres this year.

And the same time Google also pledged to create 10,000 new jobs as it tackled a surge in online traffic during the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as a commitment to its home state of California.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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