On Tuesday October 31, the San Jose City Council dutifully signed off on spending a total of $14 million to acquire properties needed for the extension of Autumn Street and additional car parking for SAP Center. $11 million will go to the purchase of the Milligan commercial site for Autumn Street and $3 million for the Francia commercial site, which will be converted into a surface parking lot for arena use.
But angry residents complained that such major expenditures being made now on behalf on Google before the city has bothered to listen to the community on the search giant’s 20,000+ worker mega-development in the San Jose Diridon Station Area.
“Before the city has even held a single public meeting on the Google project, the council is being asked today to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars of parking and transportation to support Google and its partner Trammel Crow,” said resident Bob Emmett.
“This is another example of the council being asked to use limited public resources to subsidize the Google and Trammel Crow private developments before the public has had any opportunity to discuss the impacts of the project in terms of inequality and housing un-affordability,” said Working Partnerships USA Director of Public Policy Jeffrey Buchanan.
“I’d like to ask why the city is willing to spend millions of dollars on land that relates to the Google project, but keeps saying its too early to begin a community engagement process,” said Unite Here Local 19 Reseach Analyst Sarah Mcdermott. “If you’re willing to spend this money, you should be willing to start talking about the project with the community.”
The city’s staff and Mayor Sam Liccardo defended the purchases, and pretended the “improved” Autumn Street and surface parking lot for SAP Center had nothing to do with Google’s Diridon “Transit Village” mega-development.
“We have an obligation as a city to maintain 3,175 [car] parking spaces within a third of a mile of the arena,” said a city staff member Nancy in defense of the property purchases. “Whatever [Diridon BART station] gets built across [Santa Clara] street, whether it be South or North option, there will be up to a ten year period where we will lose up to 1,800 spaces. The purchase of the Franzia and Milligan properties go to help replace some of those parking spaces.”
“This large site, the Milligan site, is something that we’ve been targeting for about two decades,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “And the extension of Autumn Street is a construction project that has been ongoing now over that period of time. We just completed the portion that gets us to Julian Street, now we have to get it the final length of the way all the way to Santa Clara [Street].”
“I just want it to be completely clear that we’re not somehow finding new public money to go subsidize some corporation or some developer,” lectured Liccardo. “These are dollars that allocated and identified years ago.”
In addition to razing the Milligan commercial site, four single-family homes will be acquired by the city and destroyed to make way for the “improved” four-lane Autumn Street, according to city plans.