SAN JOSE — In the most tangible sign yet of downtown San Jose’s upcoming transformation, Google will begin the first building demolitions ahead of the tech titan’s new Urban Village this month — but has saved a beloved ‘dancing pig’ panel as groundbreaking development begins.
The Stephen’s Meat Products sign – which depicts a dancing pig – near Diridon Station was moved on Thursday and was kept safe until it was re-lit at San Jose Historic Park. Eventually, it will be preserved as a permanent part of Google’s neighborhood, which is called Downtown West.
Certainly, the recovery and preservation of the familiar sign is a very visible gesture to mark the beginning of the mixed-use neighborhood proposed by Google. Despite this, other crucial efforts begin this month to signal the start of development.
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Google has outlined a teardown schedule that begins in mid-October and ends less than four months later, in January 2023, according to information provided by the search giant to this news outlet.
“This is a transformative moment for our city,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in an interview with this news organization on the Downtown West site Thursday. “What Google launches today will be transformative for our city for decades. »
When complete, the search giant’s new neighborhood will bring up to 25,000 Google jobs, millions of square feet of new office space and thousands of homes, including hundreds of affordable residences, to a currently quiet downtown neighborhood. city of San José.
“We remain focused on site preparation and infrastructure improvements needed to support the development of the Downtown West project,” said Google spokesperson Sheela Jivan.
On October 17, demolition is scheduled to begin at four locations and several buildings on South Montgomery Street and adjacent Otterson Street. The work will be completed no later than the end of January, according to information from Google.
“The site is rich in history and part of that work is the careful management of historic resources, including Stephen’s Meat’s ‘Dancing Pig’ sign,” said Jivan.
The well-known sign is expected to reappear in the coming weeks at San Jose Historic Park on Phelan Avenue. The sign will be re-lit at the Kelley Park History Center. Eventually, in a few years, the sign should return to the Downtown West neighborhood.
“The Dancing Pig is not transformed into a refuge by this development,” Liccardo said. “The pig will dance again. »
The buildings that will be demolished have the addresses 140, 145 and 102 S. Montgomery St. and 327 Otterson St.
The properties set to be bulldozed are known as the Sunlite Bakery Bread Depot, the former Patty’s Inn drinking establishment and a former Airgas store. A building next to the Airgas exit is also heading for demolition.
As a further sign that Google will preserve some key elements of the development, the company aims to use the Art Moderne-style entrance to the old bakery building somewhere in the transit village project.
The tech titan will also salvage other key historic elements of the downtown west footprint, including parts of a former foundry near the SAP Center. The company says it plans to inaugurate the project in 2023.
The mixed-use neighborhood is expected to accommodate up to 7.3 million square feet of office space, 4,000 residential units, 500,000 square feet of retail space that would include stores and restaurants, 300 hotel rooms and 15 acres of open space. Google is expected to employ up to 25,000 people in the Transit Village when the neighborhood is fully developed.
The impact of the Downtown West project could be more than dramatic for downtown San Jose, predicted Mark Ritchie, president of Ritchie Commercial, a real estate company.
“Google’s development will be the most important thing that can happen to any central business district in the United States,” Ritchie said. “This will nearly double the amount of office space that now exists in downtown San Jose. »
The tech company has engaged in “thousands of touchpoints” with the community, resulting in feedback that Google describes as very positive and helpful.
In May 2022, Google made a $7.5 million prepayment in a community benefits payment made to the city of San Jose. The company will pay out the rest of the public benefits as the development of the downtown west progresses. In total, the community benefits package totals $200 million.
“We look forward to continuing our work with the city and the community as we make progress,” said Google spokesperson Jivan.