Boom city

July 2016 – Development proposals pouring in

An unprecedented flurry of development proposals has descended upon downtown San Jose. Unlike the previous cycle of growth that focused on high-rise housing, downtown is clicking on all four cylinders: housing, office, hotel and retail. How many of the proposals will garner approvals and investor funding and result in completed buildings is anyone’s guess. Several of the developments that first appeared in the mid- 2000s are back with new plans. Given the current strength of the Silicon Valley market, many developers are fast-tracking projects with hopes to begin construction this cycle. If downtown’s development record is any indication of its future, more than half the proposals outlined below will happen over the next decade, altering downtown’s landscape for the next century. With new proposals almost every week, Nate Echeverria, SJDA’s business development manager, has his hands full keeping the downtown development map up to date. Check it out at



Downtown San Jose has less than 9 million square feet of office space. With the 2.74 million square feet of offices currently proposed, downtown’s office market would increase 30 percent. The City Council on May 17 approved the 850,000-square-foot office development by Trammell Crow and Bentall Kennedy along Guadalupe River at the former San Jose Water Company site near the arena. The mixed-use development could redefine the west side of downtown, with two distinct buildings, a third “connector” structure that allows for larger floor plates to match tech tenant needs, plus generous plaza and commercial spaces fronting 402 W. Santa Clara St. Also in May, Lew Wolff and Phil DiNapoli submitted designs by The Steinberg Group for a 19-story, 725,000-square-foot office project at 333 W. San Fernando St., adjacent to Highway 87 on the former site used by Downtown College Prep High School.


The 2.5-acre site’s design is also subject to change according to potential tenant specifications, but currently includes 10 floors of parking and floor plate layouts suitable for tech companies. Other office buildings with plans submitted include: u Fourth and Santa Clara Street tower by SJSC Properties across from City Hall, 345,000 square feet; u Railyard Place by Insight Realty, off Highway 87 and Coleman Avenue, 250,000 square feet; u Museum Place by Insight Realty, next to The Tech Museum, 210,000 square feet of office in a mixed-use tower; u River Center by Sobrato, off Julian Street, 190,000 square feet. The newest office building downtown is the State of California’s Family Justice Center, nearing completion at Market and St. James streets, which is 234,000 square feet. The last office building completed downtown was the RiverPark II Tower, 318,000 square feet, at 300 Park Ave., in 2010.



The total number of hotel rooms downtown could spike 30 percent if several projects are built out. Khanna Enterprises, which owns the Sheraton Four Points on First Street, wants to construct a 21-story, cantilevered tower over the original 1911 Montgomery Hotel frame. The plans by TCA Architects submitted in May call for an additional 280 guest rooms rising 245 feet, with a roof-top bar, pool and fitness center. The unusual design suggests that the first six floors form the base and floors 7-21 extend slightly over the existing historic structure.

The new part of the hotel would face south and be covered in glass. The old 86-room hotel is 187 feet south of its original location. The city’s Redevelopment Agency paid $8.6 million to move the structure in 2000 to make way for the Fairmont Hotel annex. Khanna obtained the property from Joie de Vivre Hotels in 2008. Also: u A 210-room AC Hotel will open at Santa Clara Street and Highway 87 in August, according to the hotel website;

  • Insight Realty wants at least two floors of its Museum Place mixeduse development to serve as a “four-star” boutique hotel next to The Tech on Park Avenue;
  • Owner Nimish Patel of the vacant parcel at South Second and Reed streets propose a six-story, 76-room hotel in SoFA; u RSTP is working on the Hotel Clariana, 44 rooms, at Second and Santa Clara streets. The total uptick of about 650 rooms would bring the number of rooms available in downtown San Jose to more than 2,800.



Residential development is still the hottest sector with 8,782 homes proposed for 28 different sites downtown – most of them high-rises. The latest proposal is at 27 S. First St. – the old Woolworth’s building and home to Ross Dress for Less (until it closes June 19) – where the property owner and Alterra International plan a 24-story tower of 324 units and ground-floor retail.


More housing that has been entitled or is in process:

  • 225 W. Julian St. by DAL Properties near Highway 87, 910 units, two 20-story towers;
  • Greyhound site by KT Urban, 708 units, two towers, 24 and 23 stories;
  • Railyard Place by Insight Realty, 650 units;
  • Block 3 by Sobrato, next to the Hammer Theatre, 399 units;
  • Fourth and Santa Clara streets by SJSC Properties, 350 units;
  • SJ Water Co. site by Trammell Crow and Bentall Kennedy, 325 units;
  • Gateway Tower by CORE Companies, at South First and William streets, 276 units;
  • 170 Park Ave. at CityView Plaza, 264 units;
  • 300 S. Second St. (student housing) by Barry Swenson Builder and Amcal, 235 units;
  • Parkview Towers by Barry Swenson Builder on the north side of St. James Park, 220 units;
  • Modera by Mill Creek at San Pedro Square, 204 units;
  • Sixth Street flats by owner, 195 units;
  • Museum Place by Insight Realty, 185 units;
  • Post and San Pedro Tower, by Simeon Residential Properties and Kinship Capital, 182 units;
  • 439 and 448 S. Fourth St., by their owners, 140 units;
  • 598 S. First St., by CORE Companies, 105 units;
  • 278 N. Second Street (at Devine), by PATH, 75 units;
  • Plaza Hotel housing by the City of San Jose, at San Fernando Street and Almaden Avenue, 55 units.


The 2,980 units counted as under construction include:

  • Brandenburg/North San Pedro housing by Barry Swenson Builder, First Community Housing and Intracorp Companies off Julian Street and Coleman Avenue, 856 units;
  • Silvery Towers by Full Power Properties LLC, St. James and San Pedro streets, 643 units;
  • Campus Village Phase II at San Jose State University, 425 double rooms;
  • North San Pedro Tower by Barry Swenson Builder, Old West Julian and Terraine streets, 313 units;
  • The Pierce, 60 Pierce St., by Sares Regis, 232 units;
  • Marshall Square at North First and St. John streets, by Fairfield Residential, 190 units;
  • 27 North Sixth St. (student housing) by Symphony Development, 119 units;
  • Donner Lofts by MidPeninsula Housing, at Fourth and St. John streets, 102 units opening this month;
  • 180 Balbach condominiums, by Silicon Sage, 100 units.


Ten years ago, plans were unveiled for 18 properties totaling 3,598 units. Of those proposed, nine properties were built, including four high rises, and smaller developments on Balbach Street, North Second Street and Julian Street. Five locations dedicated to housing a decade ago still have plans on them, including North San Pedro, Marshall Square, Parkview Towers, 200 Park Ave. and the soon-to-be-completed Donner Lofts. Ten years ago, developers proposed 1,455 dwellings units on these sites – now 1,948 units are planned on them.



Most of the new housing and office buildings proposed include retail components on the ground floors. Retail square footage proposed for all development totals more than 200,000 square feet. Size varies: SJ Water Company site, 30,000 square feet; SJSC building, 21,000 square feet; Silvery Towers, 20,000 square feet; Greyhound site, 18,500 square feet; Marshall Square, 11,000 square feet; Gateway Tower, 10,000 square feet, Modera, 9,200 square feet; Post-San Pedro Tower, 7,800 square feet; 27 S. First St., 5,000 square feet; The Pierce, 4,300 square feet; and Donner Lofts, 2,700 square feet.


Letter from the President

San Jose would soar with Stanley Cup title. The economic impact for each round of the NHL playoffs can be quantified many ways. Each home game brings an impact to hotel nights booked, restaurant and bar sales, parking and concessions, and sales inside the arena. As the Sharks progress deeper into the playoffs, the benefits increase to more than $2.1 million per game. Clearly, winning hockey is good business for the City of San Jose. But, it is the social impact that may be the most compelling element that a Stanley Cup could bring to our city.


San Jose is a city with an inferiority complex due to its close proximity to San Francisco. San Joseans have watched three recent parades down Market Street celebrating the Giants’ World Series success. Last year we watched Oakland celebrate the Warriors’ NBA championship at Lake Merritt. The 49ers (5) and Raiders (3) have also brought Super Bowl championships to their cities. Both San Francisco and Oakland have enjoyed national media attention and a sense of civic pride due to their sports teams’ success.


For 25 years, the fans of the San Jose Sharks have supported their team in hopes of bringing a Stanley Cup home. The Sharks have been really good over the past 17 years, but have fallen short of playing for a Stanley Cup. The only championship we have seen in San Jose has been the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS, but most Americans don’t appreciate soccer as a major sport. That is why the Bay Area’s largest city needs to win a Stanley Cup. For years I have had a dream of attending a parade from the Shark Tank down Santa Clara Street to our gleaming City Hall.


Architect Richard Meier must have designed that pavilion just for this purpose. In fact, we should rename it Lord Stanley’s Pavilion when the time comes. I picture the Rotunda lit up in teal and speeches from the mayor, coaches and players. Then the real fun begins when the actual Stanley Cup rolls down San Pedro Street and fans and players toast San Jose’s first major sports championship. The fun does not end there since the cup stays in San Jose for the full year with each player getting a day with the cup. I can already picture Joe Thornton bringing the Stanley Cup to Van Meter Elementary School for his kids and their friends to enjoy. With just a few more key victories, we may finally see San Jose come out from the shadows of our neighbors.


Downtown for the Summer

“Hot times ahead:” SJDA is doing its part to keep summer in downtown San Jose “hot:” Music in the Park u Los Lobos kicks off Music in the Park on June 24. u All-female rock tribute bands AC/DShe and The Killer Queens storm the Plaza de Cesar Chavez stage July 14.

  • Ozomatli returns Aug. 4 u And one of the most popular Music in the Park bands from past seasons will be announced later this month for their Aug. 24 show. $10 tickets are now on sale at Children 12-under are free when accompanied by an adult. The price is $15 the day of the event. Music in the Park shows begin at 5:30 p.m. Dine Downtown Seventeen restaurants offer three-course, price-fixed specials during Dine Downtown Restaurant Week, which is actually 10 days June 10-19. Meals start at $20.


Participating for the eighth consecutive year are 71 Saint Peter Modern European Kitchen, Il Fornaio, Loft Bar and Bistro and Mezcal Restaurant. Other long-time participants include Arcadia, A Modern American Steakhouse by Michael Mina and La Pastaia. Also offering special menus this Dine Downtown Restaurant Week are: Café Stritch, Mosaic Restaurant and Lounge, Scott’s Seafood San Jose, The Farmers Union, Nomakai Social Food + Drinkery, Da Kine Island Grill, M Asian Fusion Restaurant, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood and Steak and Poor House Bistro. Also, SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant, and Our House are new to the promotion this year.


Reminder: $1 from every Dine Downtown dinner sold will be donated to Martha’s Kitchen, courtesy of Sysco Foods. So, Dine Downtown often. Review the menus and make reservations through The Big Bang Concert the Fourth of July Rocker Bryan Adams will play a special concert on Fourth of July within the viewing area of the Rotary Fireworks show. The show, hosted by Mix 106.5 and K-BAY 94.5 will take place in the plaza fronting the Center for the Performing Arts. A VIP viewing area will also be set up in the venue along Almaden Boulevard for prime fireworks viewing. Attendees can pre-order their barbecue dinner, which will be ready when they arrive. Food trucks will also be on site.

Admission: advance tickets – $25 reserved seat and $15 general; regular price – $30 reserved and $20 general; pre-ordered barbecue plate: $15 ($10 children under 12). Adams, whose hits include such classics as “Summer of ’69,” “I Do It for You,” “Cuts Like a Knife,” “It’s Only Love,” and “Straight from the Heart,” performs at 6 p.m. The event is from 4:30-10 p.m. Tickets are at The event is supported by Monterey Bay Aquarium and Valley Transportation Authority. Downtown Farmers’ Market The Downtown Farmers’ Market at San Pedro Square is going strong each Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. along San Pedro Street at Santa Clara Street. The farmers proudly present fresh fruits and vegetables and other vendors sell their art and gourmet foods. Thanks to Kaiser Permanente for supporting the Farmers’ Market. More info at


SubZERO The annual two-day SubZERO festival returns to SoFA and downtown art galleries June 3-4. Check Easy to keep up with all that’s going on: Be sure to check the new mobile-friendly Downtowner Online calendar available at downtown-events. And note the changes to the weekly Downtowner Online email blast. It now provides the more than 6,000 subscribers with weekly highlights of how they can be creative, healthy and engaged with their community. Subscribe by sending an email to


SJDA news

Two sides of the story: An elevated double-sided mural a year in the making embellishes the Second and San Carlos streets corner – the latest Street Life beautification project from the Property-Based Improvement District (PBID). The work by Oakland artist Marcos LaFarga and Notre Dame High School student Jamie Friedman shows the passage of time, celebrating the past and present and looking to the future.


“I wanted to draw on something that has meaning to everyone,” LaFarga said at the unveiling May 11. “It’s so important that we all think about where we are in the moment and the consequences of our actions.” Friedman’s work, which faces the streets, also focuses on the concept of time, she said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to show the public my work.” Putting the mural in place at the southwest corner of Second and San Carlos streets required an amendment to the city zoning laws. “We’re changing the shape and culture for art to be shown in our city,” said Councilmember Raul Peralez. “The next sign or piece of art will go up more easily.” Peralez added that the placement of the sign at one of the gateways to the SoFA arts district was fitting. According to Notre Dame High School Principal Mary Beth Riley, 29 students went through 78 cans of paints and volunteered 140 hours in total to complete Friedman’s design on the mural.


From the Archives

10 years ago – June 2006 – Starting with a push in SoFA, the Redevelopment Agency offered free sidewalk café permits worth $10,000 to 18 downtown businesses.

20 years ago – June 1996 – Sixty-one percent of San Jose voters approved Measure I, which authorized a new downtown civic center on the condition that the costs of the project would be paid from the savings from the elimination of leased office space and the consolidation of city facilities and services.

25 years ago – June 1991 – The first exhibition in San Jose Museum of Art’s new wing featured artists from the Eli Broad Family Foundation, including Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol



June 5-10 – CLEO (3,500)

June 24-26 – CAN International Training Event (17,000)

July 2 – Luz Al Promotions Public Dance (18,000) July 5-10 – U.S. Olympics gymnastics trials (15,000)