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Inside San Jose’s Deal to Develop a Google Campus—Sans Tax Incentives

San Jose’s mayor says he wants the deal to be the ultimate foil to Amazon’s HQ2 process. Will the community agree?
Google has campuses all over the world. Now, it wants another in California.
Google has campuses all over the world. Now, it wants another in California.Thomas Peter/Reuters

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo wants to make one thing abundantly clear: His negotiations with Google have looked nothing like Amazon’s deal with its new headquarters host cities, which offered a combined $3 billion in tax breaks to harpoon it.

When Google expressed interest in building a new, sprawling tech campus in downtown San Jose for the first time in early 2017, Liccardo says, the city didn’t offer the company any tax incentives in exchange for its business. “More importantly,” he added in a Medium post, “Google never asked for a dime.” Instead, Google was drawn to the region for its plan to develop Diridon Station, an ambitious transit center that will eventually connect seven lines, including high-speed rail, BART, Caltrain, and VTA. “Google was smart enough to figure out where the puck was going on the ice, and to skate to it,” Liccardo told CityLab.