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Google venture buys downtown San Jose transit village sites, purchases reach $233 million

SAN JOSE — A Google-led venture has bought more downtown San Jose sites that could provide chunks of land for a transit village of offices, homes, shops, restaurants and open spaces near the Diridon train station.
TC Agoge Associates acquired two parcels on North Montgomery Street and one property on West Julian Street, both located north of the SAP Center, according to Santa Clara County public records.
The buyer, a joint venture of Google and its development ally Trammell Crow, paid $9.5 million on June 12 for the three parcels, county property documents show. The seller was EBJ Partners.
The deals widen Google’s holdings in its areas of interest where the search giant is considering an ambitious multi-faceted development in the area of the Diridon Station and the SAP entertainment and sports complex.
“Google is executing a thoughtful, well-considered plan,” said Bob Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Valley Synergy, a land-use and planning consultancy. “They are working through a list of properties to create sensible, walkable, urban areas.”
Starting in December 2016, Google has been been buying a diverse array of properties — and has struck deals for even more acquisitions — on the western edges of downtown San Jose.
“Just to get the sites together by itself is obviously very complicated, and it’s not completed yet, and it’s taking a while,” Mark Golan, Google’s vice president of real estate development , said in April during a San Jose public meeting. “But we are getting close to having a site that is viable.”
The tech titan has spent at least $233 million in completed property purchases, this news organization’s review of county records shows.
However, Google’s investment commitment in downtown San Jose has reached the $359 million mark, when combining the dollar value of completed purchases with agreements to buy more proerties.
The $359 million figure emerges from the expected minimum dollar values for deals whereby Google would buy nine parcels from government agencies and a separate agreement through which Google would buy a site where Trammell Crow has proposed a huge mixed-use development on 8.5 acres.
The tech giant would pay $67 million for the government parcels, while the Trammell Crow site previously traded in 2015 for $58.5 million.
Mountain View-based Google has proposed a transit-oriented community where 15,000 to 20,000 of its employees would eventually work in a development containing 6 million to 8 million square feet of offices, residences, retail, restaurants and amenities in downtown San Jose.
“We want to connect people, places and experiences in an authentic way,”  Michael Flynn, Google’s urban design lead , told this news organization in May in a brief interview following a Google presentation to the Station Area Advisory Group, which is collecting public input about the company’s plans in downtown San Jose.
The transit village that Google is planning would spur cultural walking areas, create a commercial loop and integrate with adjacent neighborhoods, the company said during the presentation to the advisory group. Plus, the nearby Los Gatos Creek and Guadalupe River could become key components in the project experiences, especially since they flow between the hills that flank the Santa Clara Valley and the south end of San Francisco Bay.
“Wouldn’t it be incredible to use our project to connect the Bay to the redwoods,” Flynn said during the meeting.
Google latest purchase includes the operating sites of an ice cream company, metal fabricator and an automobile body works, along with some vacant land. The properties are primarily at 341, 345 and 347 N. Montomery St.
“If ever there was a place to do a project like what Google is planning, it’s right here in downtown San Jose,” Staedler said. “The idea is to build the offices near where people work and to get people out of their cars.”

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