Rose Garden Resident

Google nears end of first demolition­s

- By George Avalos gavalos@ bayareanew­

Google largely has completed the first demolition of multiple buildings ahead of the initial phase of its downtown San Jose transit village — even as the tech titan begins to reassess the project's potential timeline.

Patty's Inn, a longtime downtown San Jose watering hole, is totally gone. An adjacent industrial building on South Montgomery Street is completely removed. On Feb. 22, flat ground marked their decadeslon­g sites near the Dirodon train station and SAP Center.

Across the street at 145 S. Montgomery St., only the front section of the Sunlite Bakery Bread Depot building, constructe­d in 1936, remained early this week. The roof and the vast majority of the building were removed.

Google intends to salvage and relocate much of the front of the building, which features an entryway crafted in an art moderne design. Google aims to use the rescued remnant somewhere in the future transit village.

The tech titan has proposed a new mixed-use neighborho­od of office buildings, homes, shops, restaurant­s, cultural amenities, entertainm­ent hubs, hotel facilities and open spaces where Google intends to employ up to 25,000 tech workers.

Early this week, workers for Webcor, the veteran constructi­on company that has been tasked with this initial demolition project, operated machinery and proceeded with ongoing early-stage work at sites for the future village.

To be sure, this work provides visible signs that Google is pushing ahead with the very early preliminar­y stages of the vast developmen­t, known as Downtown West.

Yet the demolition­s and site preparatio­n have proceeded with a disquietin­g backdrop of a tech company that is attempting to recalibrat­e its operations and scale back its real estate footprint.

In recent weeks, Google:

• Announced it would cut 12,000 jobs worldwide.

• Sketched out plans to lay off 1,600 workers in the Bay Area.

• Told Wall Street analysts it would incur $500million in costs to terminate leases for unused or underused office space, mostly in the Bay Area.

• Revealed to this news organizati­on that it had launched a reassessme­nt of Downtown West in San Jose.

“We're assessing how to best move forward with Downtown West,” Sheela Jivan, Google's Downtown West Developmen­t Director, said Feb. 13 in comments the company emailed to this news organizati­on.

The tech titan's eventual pace for the project, constructi­on of which always has been expected to take many years, could affect many other plans for the downtown district.

Downtown San Jose's vitality has been sapped by business shutdowns — some of them related to the pandemic — as well as recent trends toward remote work throughout Silicon Valley.

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