Entrance to BART Diridon Station in downtown San Jose on West Santa Clara Street, concept. Plans are subject to change. Multiple hurdles must be cleared before a Google-developed residential complex that could include affordable homes in downtown San Jose atop a future BART station can become a reality. (VTA)
SAN JOSE — Multiple hurdles must be cleared before a Google-developed residential complex that could include affordable homes in downtown San Jose atop a future BART station can become a reality.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is in the driver’s seat regarding the potential development of several hundred residences in a transit-oriented project that Google might build over a future BART stop near the SAP Center and the current Diridon train station in downtown San Jose.
But plenty of work looms before anything can sprout over the anticipated BART station, according to the VTA.
Among the milestones that must be passed: Any development over the BART station near the Diridon transit hub would have to conform to precise VTA and BART requirements, according to Bernice Alaniz, a spokesperson for the VTA and BART Silicon Valley business operations.
BART Diridon Station levels in downtown San Jose on West Santa Clara Street near Cahill Street and Montgomery Street, concept. Plans are subject to change. (VTA)
“Development or any type of construction over a transit center must meet very stringent structural requirements,” Alaniz said.
VTA has yet to reach a development agreement with Google for a residential project over the site of the BART station in the Diridon transit center area.
The potential development area has addresses that include 574 W. Santa Clara St. VTA owns the sites where the mixed-use residential and commercial development might occur.
This site is next to the footprint of a proposed transit-oriented neighborhood in San Jose that Google plans to develop that is known as Downtown West where the search giant could employ up to 20,000 tech workers.
Downtown West would consist of office buildings, homes, shops, restaurants, hotel facilities, cultural hubs and entertainment centers in the vicinity of the SAP Center and Diridon train station.
Site plan that shows respective downtown San Jose locations of BART Diridon Station, site of potential transit-oriented development over the BART station, as well as other key existing facilities in the vicinity. Plans are subject to change. (VTA)
Google and the VTA have crafted a public-private partnership agreement with several elements.
Among the key features of this deal:
— Google was obliged to obtain San Jose planning approvals for the transit-oriented development that the VTA is considering above the BART Diridon Station site.
— Google would agree to lease to VTA a parcel at 8 S. Montgomery St. that’s just east of the future BART station. The parcel could be used as a construction staging area for the Diridon BART project. In the wake of Google’s purchase of the site in 2018, the property is now valued at $17.7 million.
— Google would also agree to lease to VTA a warehouse building at the southwest corner of Cinnabar Street and North Montgomery Street. In 2018, Google bought a big public storage building for $32 million in cash at 570 Cinnabar St. that corresponds to that site description.
At the BART Diridon Station site itself, a mix of residences and retail are being contemplated.
“Up to 500 units of high-rise residential in air rights development above the Diridon BART station with 18,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, commercial and service use” are the key elements of what would be developed on that site, VTA documents show.
VTA’s board would have to vote to authorize VTA staffers to launch negotiations with any developer — such as Google — for transit-oriented development on the VTA-owned site.
Affordable homes also are expected to be part of the Google housing development, according to VTA public records.
“Such a project would need to include at least 20% of the units affordable to low- and very-low-income households as set forth in VTA’s affordable housing policy,” the agency stated in a document.
Mountain View-based Google said it wished to limit its comments about the housing development primarily to what was shared in the VTA documents.
“Right now we’re working with VTA to formalize the agreement and more details will be available publicly once that’s finished,” a Google spokesperson said earlier this month.
The transit agency hopes to spearhead a cooperative effort in connection with the potential mixed-use project over the BART Diridon Station.
“VTA continues to collaborate with the city of San Jose, Google and other Diridon (area) stakeholders on how to maximize the benefits from Downtown West and other development proposed in the Diridon Station area,” the transportation agency said in an email it sent to this news organization.
Interior and access to the underground train platforms at the BART Diridon Station in downtown San Jose on West Santa Clara Street, concept. Plans are subject to change. (VTA)