The Popular “Welcome to San Jose” Mural Could Disappear

The very teal and very 'San Jose' mural is in limbo as Google announces it will build in the downtown area. Photo Credit: Mauricio Rodriguez/Todd Miller

Local Arts Future Unknown as Google Development Materializes

Estephany Haro

El Observador

One of the most iconic murals of San Jose could disappear in the near future. The “Welcome to San Jose” mural by South Bay native artist J. Corbeaux is one of the most popular art pieces in San Jose, as it attracts people from all over town and tourists who utilize the blue color mural to take photos. The Mountain View based tech company Google is planning to build a village transit center in the area that could affect this mural.

The mural has been in the Intersection of West San Fernando St and Delmas Avenue since 2013 and it’s located on the side wall of Delma’s Market, which has been operating for at least 19 years. The mural includes a text that says “Welcome to San Jose” and the year that it was established, 1777. It also has  San Jose Sharks’ Center Joe Thornton (#19), behind Thornton is the HP Pavilion Arena, home of the San Jose Sharks, which is now the SAP Center. The the St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church is also portrayed in the mural.

“I hope they don’t, it’s a beautiful piece of art that represents our town, represents all of us,” said Julissa Roberts, a San Jose resident.

According to the Mercury News, on June 20th, 2017, the City Council voted 10-1 to negotiate exclusively with Google to sell 16 city-purchased parcels on Montgomery and Autumn streets near the Diridon transit station to the search giant.

Google could occupy 6 million to 8 million square feet of office and other space near Diridon Station and SAP Center, according to a memo by San Jose city. However, investors linked to Google, TC Agoge, have already spent about $135 million purchasing  properties on the western frontiers of downtown San Jose, according to Santa Clara County records, a house and vacant  land near the corner of South Montgomery and West San Carlos streets were bought by this group.

When we approached the employees of Delma’s Market, which is located a couple of blocks from the Diridon Station, they said that they were not aware of any plans to sell the property to Google. One of the employees said that he was not aware of the Google project near the market at all.

“I don’t think it’s fair, they’re only looking out for the rich people. What about us? We’ve been here longer and now they want to take our art too? Not fair,” Roberts said.

However, not all San Jose residents think the same. Jorge Dominguez was born and raised in San Jose and he believes that these changes are good for the community.

“There are so many places that need a mural, painting to beatify the city so I think that maybe if this mural (Welcome to San Jose) could be placed somewhere else… A Google campus here could generate more employment for the community, I think that’s more important.”

The creation of new jobs that will give back to the community is one of the reasons why San Jose’s Mayor Sam Liccardo supports the development plans. “We share a collective vision for the future of this space, a vision of urban design that will invite the public into the station,” the mayor said on June 20th when the development plans were announced. Meanwhile, the future of the “Welcome to San Jose” mural faces uncertainty.