SAN JOSE — Google is making headway in efforts to settle mid-19th-century land transfers for the city of San Jose’s parcels located within the footprint of the tech-titan’s Transit Village, court filings show.
Santa Clara County Court documents show that a lawsuit broke out pitting Google and the city of San Jose against a group of individuals occupying small lots near an old bakery building on the western edge of downtown San Jose. To determine ownership of the remains
The search giant and San Jose filed a lawsuit in April 2022 to pursue a district court ruling finalizing Google and the city in clear and uncontested ownership of the remains of four small parcels in South Montgomery. Street and Park Avenue are near the corner.
But in May 2022, Peter Adams, a possible descendant of one of the owners of the smaller 19th-century lots, defied Google and the city to convince the court that he would be able to use the remaining downtown lots to be found from San Jose. was the rightful owner.
However, on July 22, Adams filed a motion to dismiss his own lawsuit against Google and the city. This means that Adams has for now thwarted his efforts to obtain a court order that he owns one or more parcels.
The court case at the center of these lawsuits is known as “quiet,” which is the title of the package formally involved. Google and the city want to ensure that any leftovers from the package are turned over to the tech company and the community by court order.
“We are working with the City of San Jose on the land transfer process,” a Google spokesman told that news organization in June, in connection with the start of the Quiet Title lawsuit.
Legal maneuvers and clear title deeds must be settled before any substantial development of Google Village, known as Downtown West, can proceed.
Google in April sued at least 37 people whose ancestors originally owned property in San Jose in 1865 or around 1865, when the land was originally granted.
Court records show that in about a year, dating back to 1865, the three men acquired nearly 300 acres of land that eventually became the city of San Jose.
In the 1860s there were three original land buyers in San Jose:
— Frederick H. Billings. Billings was an attorney and financier involved with land claims in the early years of the state of California. Billings was also chairman of the Northern Pacific Railway.
– Archibald C. Peachy. Peachy, an attorney and legislator, co-founded the law firm of Halleck, Peachy & Billings with Billings.
—Henry M. Nagley. Nagley was a Civil War general in the Union Army, as well as a banker and winemaker who bought land not only in downtown but also in areas east of what is now downtown.
Court filings show that Google attempted to poke holes in the arguments put forward by Adams to claim court-approved ownership of one or more of the remains of the package. Adams claimed he was a descendant of Greg Munster, himself descended from Peachy.
“The relationship between Adams and the original owner of the property, Archibald Peachy, is distant at best,” Google said during a Santa Clara County court filing in June 2022.
The tech-titan also argued that a person’s descendant does not mean that the person is the heir to the ancestral property.
“Plaintiff (Peter Adams) alleges that Mr. Peachy once owned property, that Mr. Munster inherited ‘something’ from Mr. Peachy, and that Mr. Adams was the ‘descendant’ of Mr. Munster,” Google told the court. Documents. “These allegations are insufficient to support the ‘silent title’ claim.”
The Downtown West neighborhood will include office buildings, residences, shops, restaurants, hotel facilities, entertainment centers, the Cultural Loop and open space near Diridon Transit Station and the SAP Center, where Google could employ 25,000 people.
Google said in the court filing that significant community benefits are also part of the proposed development.
“The Downtown West project will create the first of its kind, a $154 million Community Stabilization and Opportunity Pathway Fund that is 100% focused on social justice,” the tech titan said in court filings.
The tech company said Google and San Jose wanted to make sure some of the roads that will be part of the project are open to the public.
A Google spokesperson said: “It is our common goal to optimize the public benefits of this project, including the conversion of streets to open spaces, as well as bicycle and pedestrian lanes, to provide the community with a more walkable, traffic-oriented city.”
In February 2022, according to court records, Google offered Adams $5,000 as a “courtesy fee” if Adams filed a certificate of resignation to prove Adams had the package. None of the relics had ownership rights.
Google expects to start building infrastructure improvements sometime in early 2023 as a precursor to actual Transit Village development. The new neighborhood is seen as a landmark development for San Jose, meaning land claim settlement is an important first step.
Bob Stadler, chief executive of land-use consultancy Silicon Valley Synergy, said the move to settle the lawsuit is a sign of hope for the city’s San Jose Google Village.
“This shows that the Downtown West project is progressing as planned without any significant delays,” said Stadler.