By Stephen M. Lepore for Dailymail.Com
01:48 April 23, 2023, updated 01:56 April 23, 2023
Google is halting construction on its planned 80-acre campus in San Jose with no plans to resume it in the “near future” as a series of layoffs and cost-cutting measures begin.
The Google village, dubbed Downtown West, would include shops, restaurants, a hotel, and cultural and entertainment centers, as well as potentially serve as a campus for 25,000 Google employees.
The company gutted its development team for the campus — which it said would have had a $19 billion economic impact — earlier this year in a series of downsizing efforts as the economy worsens for big tech.
Rising interest rates and fears that the country is on the verge of a recession have forced the cuts.
The plan was to break ground at the site before the end of 2023, but was put on hold due to delays earlier in the year, with no plans to start over.
San Jose council member Omar Torres, who represents the area, was concerned about the rumours.
“Early on we all knew it was going to be a long-term plan,” Torres said in February. “But yeah, it’s definitely worrying that a lot of money comes in when the cranes are in the air.”
CNBC reports that sources are “great” that the campus will eventually be built, it may need to be downsized.
LendLease, the lead developer on the project, made 67 layoffs in February, including community engagement managers.
In a statement, a LendLease spokesperson said it remains “committed to building thriving mixed-use communities in the Bay Area, including Google developments,” and still has a “significant team to help deliver these communities.”
In March, Google removed updates about campus construction from its website.
Two months earlier, the company announced it was cutting 12,000 jobs, or about 6 percent of its workforce, to address slowing sales growth after record growth in its headcount.
Google’s chief financial officer Ruth Porat wrote a rare company-wide email explaining how the tech giant is introducing measures to cut employee services in a bid to cut expenses.
The company’s 2023 goal is “to deliver lasting savings through increased speed and efficiency.”
Porat detailed how Google is cutting everything from fitness classes for its employees to office basics from staplers and tapes, while also reducing the frequency of laptop swaps for its workers.
Google submitted its initial application to the San Jose planning division on October 10, 2019.
“We embrace this vision not because it’s Google, but because it embodies the aspirations for a vibrant, dynamic downtown that our community has long championed as generations of San Jose residents have sought to create a regional destination that reflects our authentic character.” and diverse”. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in 2021, according to Mercury News.
“Especially amid all the challenges of this pandemic, I’m grateful for Google’s continued collaboration with city staff to enable our community to benefit from thousands of jobs, affordable apartments, vibrant shops and restaurants, public squares and car parks”.
“We’re excited about this next step in our project, which incorporates feedback from thousands of people over the past two years and provides another opportunity for community input,” added Alexa Arena, director of development for San Jose at Google. at the time of the plan unveiled nearly two years ago.
The Downtown West area in San Jose was to cover 80 acres, 55 of which can be developed. Of these, 30 acres would be devoted to housing and public spaces.
As part of the plan, Google has agreed to work with the city to ensure that 25 percent – 4,000 – of the homes in the Diridon station area are accessible.
“We continue to hear that housing and maintaining affordability are a priority for San Jose, and our proposal provides more affordable housing, business locations, and community spaces for San Joseans,” Arena said.
The development was also asked to blend into surrounding neighborhoods instead of serving as a standalone technology campus.
“Downtown West is designed to be a true part of the city, the opposite of a traditional corporate campus,” said Laura Crescimano, founder of urban studio SITELAB, the project’s lead urban designer.
“The draft standards and design guidelines released today set the roadmap for a resilient and connected Downtown West.”
And the area’s historic buildings and natural features were also to be incorporated into the plan.
“Our team worked with Google to tap into the uniqueness of the place to propose a place where urban life and nature can coexist,” Crescimano said.
“We’ve brought together new and historic buildings, opportunities for art and culture, play spaces, and quiet moments along the creek.”
According to the draft environmental impact plan presented in 2021, the project would not create net increases in greenhouse gases.
The company said the new buildings it develops will be nearly 100 percent electric, and 65 percent of travel will involve mass transit, biking, and walking.
The plan called for Downtown West to generate 7.8 megawatts of solar on site in addition to having its own local microgrid.
Google’s plan has been welcomed by city officials who say the “city within a city” will be of enormous benefit to residents.
“This is the next level of development for San Jose,” said Scott Knies in early 2021, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association.
‘You have the accommodation, the affordable accommodation, and certainly the offices are there. But you also have the amazing combination of open spaces and cultural uses that make it truly unique.
“It’s like a city within a city,” Knies added. ‘Downtown West will not be a forest of tall buildings. It’s damn impressive.’
“At a time when so much in our world is on pause due to COVID, it is heartening to know that San Jose’s most significant long-term urban development project is on track and reaching a key milestone” with the documents , Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh said.
The project has not been without its critics, however, as some locals fear it will replace working families and communities of color amid the pandemic.
“The pandemic has made major community concerns about this project that prevents displacement, adds affordable housing and secures quality jobs for working families and communities of color even more critical,” said Maria Noel Fernandez, campaign director with Silicon Valley Rising who are fighting the plan again.