Microsoft purchased 65 acres of largely undeveloped land in San Jose, snapping up one of the few remaining former orchards in Silicon Valley and adding to the city’s growing list of large tech offices.
The Redmond, Wash. company spent roughly $73 million on the property, located north of Highway 237 between Zanker Road and Coyote Creek, which has been slated for light industrial development. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said he expected it to be used as a data center.
Nanci Klein, deputy director of San Jose’s Office of Economic Development, said it can be difficult to find a piece of undeveloped land in the Bay Area as large as this property, which is 1.2 million square feet.
Microsoft “recognized the opportunity and went for it,” she said.
A pear orchard was previously on the land, which was also used in the past for farming.
Christian Belady, a general manager for Microsoft Cloud Infrastructure and Operations, said in a statement that the company sees the San Jose property as an opportunity to “meet the needs of a future based on cloud computing and internet services.”
The company has a corporate presence in other parts of the Bay Area, including offices in San Francisco and Mountain View. In Mountain View, Microsoft employs 1,668 people, city spokeswoman Shonda Ranson said.
Microsoft has not said how many jobs it will bring to San Jose with its new development. In general, a data center could generate a couple of hundred jobs, Klein said.
The parcel of San Jose land is near Coyote Creek, where it’s possible to see hundreds of resident or migratory species of birds. Local environmentalists will be watching how the development proceeds.
“We hope they take care of nature,” said Shani Kleinhaus of the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Societys.
Microsoft joins other tech companies that have recently expressed interest in expanding to San Jose, where the cost of living is cheaper than in San Francisco. Google is in negotiations with the city over