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Downtown San Jose transit village near Google proposal steams ahead [The Mercury News :: BC-REAL-GOOGLE-VILLAGE:SJ]

SAN JOSE - A big tech village in downtown San Jose is moving forward, an ambitious project that could bring 5,000 jobs to a site that's adjacent to a separately proposed Google transit-oriented community.

The development by TMG Partners and Valley Oak Partners would create more than 1 million square feet of offices and is bounded roughly by West Julian Street on the south, North Autumn Street on the west, some train tracks on the north and Autumn Parkway on the east. The site is perched near the banks of the Guadalupe River.

"This part of San Jose has the potential to serve as the new focal point of Silicon Valley," said Matt Field, chief investment officer with San Francisco-based TMG Partners.

Wide-ranging plans for major office developments, tech campus expansions, new residential projects and retail are among the reasons some experts believe this could happen.

What's more, the existing Diridion train station already has light rail, Amtrak, Caltrain, ACE Train and bus connections serving the downtown transit nexus. Plus, plans have been approved for BART lines and high-speed rail that could create one of the busiest mass transportation hubs.

"Our belief is that Diridon Station, in particular, will activate this historically industrial part of downtown San Jose into a bustling, inclusive, economic powerhouse," said Steve Fisher, principal executive with San Jose-based Valley Oak Partners.

The site totals 5.5 acres and is within what's known as the Diridon Station Planning Area. The site of the development at present consists primarily of offices, shops, equipment yards, older industrial buildings, empty lots and surface parking sites.

"This is a great site," said Bob Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Valley Synergy, a San Jose-based land use planning consultancy. "It's walkable to the train station and has great vehicle access."

The respective sizes of the office buildings will be 499,000 square feet, 367,000 square feet and 157,000 square feet. Together those could be enough space for 5,000 employees.

Separately, Mountain View-based Google plans a big transit-oriented village that would consist of 6 million to 8 million square feet of offices, enough space to accommodate 15,000 to 20,000 Google workers.

Trammell Crow has gained approval for a mixed-use complex that would include 1 million square feet of offices and contain residences and retail.

Just east of all of this activity around Diridon Station, Adobe Systems is pushing forward with plans for an office tower that could contain 3,000 of its workers, in a major expansion of the tech giant's downtown San Jose headquarters campus.

"What TMG and Valley Oak are planning is right next to the what Google is looking at developing," said Scott Knies, executive director of the Downtown San Jose Association. "There is a huge amount of change that is ahead for the west side of downtown."

The developers have gained a key approval from San Jose city officials and now have requested approval for a specific permit to develop the site. The project is being designed by New York-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, lead designers of Hudson Yards in New York City.

"There should be a lot of interest from tech companies to lease or buy this property," Staedler said.

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