Are the San Jose Sharks being forced out of San Jose?
That’s what the organization said “could” happen in a letter sent to their fans this morning, which outlined their concerns with the city of San Jose and Google’s development projects in the Diridon area of downtown San Jose, which surrounds SAP Center.
“For the past several years, we have been sharing those same concerns with city of San Jose officials and Google,” the San Jose Sharks wrote. “Unfortunately, those discussions have yielded limited results and the planners of these projects appear intent on moving forward in a manner that could force the Sharks out of San Jose.”
ICYMI: This is full letter #SJSharks sent to their fans this morning.
"We have been sharing those same concerns with city of San Jose officials and Google…the planners of these projects appear intent on moving forward in a manner that could force the Sharks out of San Jose." pic.twitter.com/LepWOABUPf
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) November 12, 2020
What Are San Jose and Google Planning?
Last month, the city of San Jose released its revised Diridon Station Area Plan (DSAP), outlining the re-development of about 250 acres around Diridon Station. Diridon Station is a major San Jose transit hub located next to SAP Center.
Google plans to open a campus within the DSAP.
The city of San Jose and Google say this will add more than 60,000 workers to the area. Google’s proposed campus will feature 65 new buildings over 84 acres — it’s the largest development project in the history of downtown San Jose.
Why Do Sharks Object?
According to their letter this morning, the San Jose Sharks’ objections are three-fold: Street network access, parking, and the construction impacts of these projects. Essentially, they’re worried that these projects will significantly hamper accessibility to SAP Center.
Street Network Access
The city of San Jose already has long-term plans to reduce vehicular traffic in the Diridon area.
They’ve proposed, per the Sharks letter, to reduce the number of lanes on Santa Clara Street — where SAP Center is located –from four lanes to two lanes, one in each direction, for cars.
The San Jose Sharks contend that this general reduction of automobile capacity — on top of traffic associated with a vast development project — “will severely limit access for downtown employees, transit riders and SAP Center guests intending to reach the Diridon area by automobile.”
Simply put, the San Jose Sharks don’t think the DSAP and Google plans add enough parking to the Diridon area, and they’re worried how that will impact their customers. From the letter:
“Google’s Downtown West project is proposing to provide only 2,850 parking spaces for their 30,000 employees and there are minimal increases in parking planned within the remainder of the area. Without an adequate supply of parking for the tens of thousands of additional cars coming to the area, the streets surrounding SAP Center are likely to be hopelessly gridlocked.”
This concern is less specific.
But besides the city of San Jose and Google’s development plans in the Diridon area, there’s also a scheduled extension of BART to Diridon Station and the possible introduction of high-speed rail to Caltrain.
The San Jose Sharks are concerned about the overall impact of four major construction projects happening simultaneously and the lack of coordination between the projects: “There does not appear to be a plan that ensures SAP Center patrons can continue to safely and conveniently access the arena, and that our neighbors can maintain their quality of life during this transformational period.”
What Do San Jose and Google Say?
San Jose Hockey Now has reached out to the city of San Jose, Google, and the DSAP. We’re waiting to hear back.
(UPDATE: The city of San Jose has replied to SJHN; there is no statement forthcoming today from them, SJHN will follow up tomorrow.)
What Do Sharks Want?
SJHN has spoken with San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher and his availability will be published shortly.
In a nutshell, Becher says the Sharks support the development of the downtown area and want to stay at SAP Center, but they believe the city of San Jose and Google’s plans don’t do enough to ensure convenient accessibility to SAP Center. They’re hoping for amendments to these plans to avoid the worse-case scenario of the Sharks leaving San Jose.
#SJSharks have option to leave SAP Center in 2025.
Sharks prez Jonathan Becher: "We don't want to move. This is our building."
But he added, of SJ/Google development plan: "Nothing changes, it become inevitable in the future…It would seem we are not the highest priority."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) November 12, 2020
The San Jose Sharks are also urging their supporters to share their feedback with DSAP planners here.