Google has bought a key downtown San Jose site that is expected to become part of the search giant’s game-changing transit village, paying about $5 million for a metal foundry across the street from the Diridon train station.
The property sale occurred in a downtown San Jose location where the tech titan has proposed a transit-oriented community of office buildings, homes, shops, restaurants and parks that could accommodate 25,000 workers, including 15,000 to 20,000 Google employees.
Mountain View-based Google paid $5.25 million in cash on March 12 for the Kearney Pattern Works and Foundry site, according to Santa Clara County property records.
“The foundry is a prime site, front and center near the SAP Center, San Jose Diridon Central Station and a future BART subway station,” said Scott Knies, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association.
The Kearney Pattern Works, founded in 1919, has now closed its doors after a century of operations. The foundry was one of the last places in the Bay Area to create metal castings and shape them into specific patterns and objects. The company poured its final casting last October.
For decades, the foundry was a familiar sight for people who strolled past the industrial building on their way to a San Jose Sharks game or a host of other events at the SAP entertainment and sports center.
Farmers, packing firms, canneries, wineries, utilities, concrete companies, nuclear plant builders, disk-drive companies, transit agencies, defense contractors, computer makers, semiconductor firms and medical devices manufacturers were among the businesses that Kearney Pattern Works served, according to Jim Wagner, the company’s principal owner.
“We did a lot of work for a lot of companies,” Wagner said last year in an interview about the closing of the Kearney foundry.
The Kearney foundry has addresses of 40 S. Montgomery St. and 55 and 57 S. Autumn St., county assessment records show.
Google began purchasing properties in December 2016, when it acquired an old telephone company building. Industrial, office, commercial, retail, and residential properties, along with some vacant lots, as well as city parcels, are among the sites acquired by the digital giant, either directly or in an alliance with development partner Trammell Crow.
With the Kearney purchase, Google has now spent roughly $315 million buying an array of properties that would provide the land for the future transit village.
“It’s clear that Google is all in on this venture,” said Nick Goddard, a vice president with Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm. “The city is supportive of this project, the community supports it.”
Google also has obtained options to buy numerous other properties in the transit village development zone. Those include the sites of the Templo La Hermosa of the Assemblies of God church, Poor House Bistro and World of Sports Memorabilia.
Some community groups have raised concerns about Google’s proposal and have raised the specter that the massive development could displace residents, fuel rising rents and home prices and unleash gentrification.
“There will always be naysayers, but this purchase is another positive development in the process,” Goddard said.