San Jose officials on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve a $110 million public land sale to Google, just weeks after the company spent a whopping $1 billion to acquire more property in Silicon Valley. It’s part of the search engine giant’s plans to transform the city’s downtown and develop a huge complex that will eventually feature up to 6 million square feet of space, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, but came amid mass protests by residents anxious about skyrocketing housing costs and potential residential displacements that reportedly led to some arrests.
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But Mark Golan, the vice president of real estate development for Google, told San Jose officials the company is committed to prioritizing “housing at varying levels of affordability,” according to a spokesperson for Google.
“Google has said that it would pay full market value for any land we acquire and that we were not seeking subsidies or tax abatements,” he added. “We have stayed true to that promise. We have also said that it’s fair and appropriate for Google to pay community benefits as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding that’s been prepared for your approval."
Although plans still need to be finalized and approved, Google said it would ultimately bring 20,000 jobs to the city, making it the largest private employer in the area. "We look forward to continuing to engage with the community and city of San Jose to form a joint vision for the proposed development.” Javier Gonzalez, South Bay policy lead for Google, said in a statement.
The spokesperson added that Google has poured millions into non-profits in the area and participated in city-wide meetings to better understand the community that will surround the new building.
In addition to the $110 million land it plans to buy and the $1 billion purchase in Mountain View, Calif., Google has poured another $2.83 billion into property acquisitions in San Jose, Sunnyvale and Mountain View, over the course of the past two years, according to the Mercury News.
Google has also been expanding beyond the realm of Silicon Valley: Earlier this month, it geared up to increase its real estate holdings in New York City, adding enough space for about 12,000 new employees.
In February, the tech company spent $2.4 billion to acquire Chelsea Market, an office complex, food hall and tourist attraction -- the biggest property purchase in the U.S. this year.