Five key San Jose developments to watch in 2020

San Jose has seen a nearly unprecedented development proposal boom in recent years, and 2020 is set to be a critical year as some of those visions get off the ground or attract critical companies to the city.

Here are five major projects to watch in the upcoming year.

Will Museum Place finally begin to rise?

The proposed office building at 180 Park Ave., where Parkside Hall sits. Image courtesy of city of San Jose

In downtown San Jose, city officials are closely watching a project known as Museum Place that would expand the Tech Museum and possibly enliven a critical 2.3-acre piece of the city core at 180 Park Ave., where Parkside Hall sits.

The approximately 1 million-square-foot project has seen several false starts in the last few years, but it appears 2020 could be the year the project gets out of the ground.

But will it?

Prolific downtown developer Gary Dillabough got final approval in November to build a 20-story tower with 928,000 square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of Tech Museum expansion space and about 8,400 square feet of retail above 482 new parking spaces. He also brought on British Columbia-based developer Westbank Corp. to help with the project.

“I understand that the city has been left at the altar numerous times on projects in this area,” Dillabough told councilmembers this month. “Our goal is to get this moving as quickly as we can … We are just kind of chomping at the bit and waiting for this agreement to get done.”

Jay Paul looks to transform CityView Plaza

Renderings show the proposed office towers at CityView Plaza in downtown San Jose. Courtesy of Jay Paul and Gensler.

Jay Paul entered the San Jose market barely more than a year ago with a $283.5 million purchase of the 600,000-square-foot CityView Plaza project at 125 S. Market St. in downtown San Jose. But the company is already making waves.

Most of CityView Plaza has emptied out as the company works to secure city approvals for a glassy, 3.4 million-square-foot office campus designed by architecture firm Gensler. Meanwhile, Jay Paul has already dug in across the street at 200 Park Avenue, where it is building an approximately 1 million-square-foot office building that company officials say will be integrated with its CityView Plaza development.

The proposed development’s sheer size “tells you how large the forces are that are trying to come here (to San Jose),” Mark Ritchie, president of San Jose-based brokerage Ritchie Commercial, told San José Spotlight.

Google goes for 2020 San Jose approval

A drawing of Google’s proposed “Downtown West” development, which would span more than 60 acres of land around San Jose’s Diridon Station. Photo courtesy of Sitelab Urban Studio | Google

One of the biggest forces looking to come to San Jose is Google.

The Mountain View-based tech titan aims to build about 6.5 million square feet of office space in tall towers alongside 3,000 to 5,900 homes and 500,000 square feet of retail, hotel, community and other “active uses.”

San Jose councilmembers are expected to vote on the proposed project before the end of 2020, a fast, but important timeline because Google has told city leaders it intends to use a 2011 law known as AB 900, which helps streamline large projects.

For Google to use AB 900, the project will need to meet a list of requirements and the city would need to vote on the project by Jan. 1, 2021. City officials have stressed, however, that San Jose is under no obligation to stick to that timeline.

The project as proposed includes small parks scattered throughout the campus’ core at major intersections. The company plans to keep a slew of low-slung industrial buildings near the Los Gatos Creek, turning some into places for the arts and nonprofits — an initiative Woody Hanson, an associate at SITELAB Urban Studio, said has already begun. The development could also include a new events plaza with a bandstand, a “learning hub” for families and a new market hall with a variety of vendors.

The tech giant’s proposal has drawn mixed response. Some people say they want Google to abandon its plans for San Jose, fearing displacement and gentrification, while others have cheered the company’s arrival.

Who will land at Santana West? 

The first phase of Santana West will be an eight-story, high-end office building across the street from the popular Santana Row mixed-use retail center. Image credit: Studios Architecture | Federal Realty

Santana West, an office extension of the highly popular, mixed-use retail hotspot Santana Row is under construction, but the question remains: who will lease it?

Developer Federal Realty Investment Trust, the real estate company behind Santana Row, has city approval for nearly 1 million square feet of office space to rise, but it’s biting off just a piece of that with an eight-story, 360,000-square-foot office building and a new parking garage with 1,750 stalls at the corner of Winchester Boulevard and Olin Avenue.

Federal Realty anticipates a $300 million investment on the 12-acre site as it works to open its office buildings in 2021 and 2022.

Federal Realty executives have said their decision to dig in before locking in a tenant comes in response to a market with plenty of demand and not enough new office space. “This will be one of the few buildings that gets delivered in this window and one of the only buildings that has Santana-Row-type amenities to go along with it,” Jeff Berkes, Federal Realty’s West Coast president, said in an earnings call.

The Assembly aims to draw a crowd

The Assembly, along North First Street in North San Jose. Rendering courtesy of Gensler | ProspectHill Group

San Jose’s north side has had a roller-coaster year and a major part of that has been The Assembly, a 27-acre redevelopment of a low-slung research-and-development campus along North First Street.

The project has had 300,000 square feet ready for a company to claim since late 2018. The property is the Lam Research campus next to the @First retail center, and it briefly looked as if it had been claimed by one of the world’s biggest companies, Google. Then, in December, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported the deal had fallen through.

The Assembly has locked in city approvals for another 1 million square feet of development, though it’s unlikely that it would get built unless a company commits to occupying it.

Meanwhile, San Jose officials are looking to a new state law set to take effect in January to kick-start residential development in the area, which could stoke commercial space demand.

Contact Janice Bitters at janice@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @JaniceBitters on Twitter.

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