San Jose to make way for affordable housing in the Diridon Station area

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — After last week’s historic vote from the San Jose city council to approve Google’s mega Downtown West project near the Diridon Station, the city is now tasked with reaching its own goal of making sure 25 percent of the new development to make way for affordable housing. 

The city recently approved the Diridon Affordable Housing Plan, a collection of strategies aimed at the production and preservation of affordable housing and renter protections in the Diridon Station area and surrounding neighborhoods. 

“The Diridon Affordable Housing Implementation Plan is a plan that we put together in order to think specifically about affordable housing in the whole Diridon Station area,” says Rachel VanderVeen, deputy director of the city of San Jose’s Housing Department. “This is actually the first time in history that we’ve done this sort of a plan alongside the stationary planning process.”

The program also draws from the Council-approved citywide residential anti-displacement strategy in using a “3Ps” framework focusing on production, preservation, and protection strategies. 

As part of its agreement with the city, Google has committed to investing $1 billion through a community stabilization fund with a portion to be used towards the city’s protection and preservation strategies. 

“It was all designed to work together and really what we want the affordable housing implementation plan to be is foundational for all the development to come in this area,” says VanderVeen. “The Google development agreement includes a very well-defined production strategy and also provides funding and money available to support our preservation and protection strategies.” 

Community members and advocates have long negotiated to make way for affordable housing and Google has responded. 

A poll conducted by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) reveals a majority of San Jose residents supported the “Downtown West” project. 

Courtesy: Google

“The exciting thing about this project is that it offers so many benefits to a cross-section of residents,” says Vince Rocha, senior director of housing and community development for SVLG.

“You’re going to see 25,000 new jobs created because of this project, 15 acres of parks and open space, 4,000 new homes, 1,000 of those homes affordable, lots of transportation infrastructure investment,” Rocha added.

“I think this project benefits San Jose in so many ways and I think what you’re seeing is that people are really highly supportive of that.”

Construction of any new development in and around the Diridon Station area could start as early as next year. 

The city is set to return to the council with a work plan of the next steps in implementing the Diridon Housing Plan.

To learn more about the production, preservation and protections strategies of the Diridon Housing Plan, click here.

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