Santa Clara rising: Largest developments in the growing South Bay city
SummerHill Housing Group is developing nearly 1,000 homes in the Lawrence Station area. Image Courtesy SummerHill Housing Group/April 2017

    Santa Clara is home to some of the largest real estate developments in the region, each poised to not only change the fabric of the South Bay city, but Silicon Valley as a whole.

    Throughout the city, more than 14 million square feet of office, 2.3 million square feet of retail, 2,000 hotel rooms and as many as 20,000 homes are in the pipeline, meaning they’ve been proposed, approved, are under construction or recently completed, according to Santa Clara data.

    Take a look at some of the largest projects coming to Santa Clara, a city of nearly 130,000 people that is quickly growing. Some of the developments have been approved by city leaders and could start to rise any time, while others currently under construction.

    Related Santa Clara

    The Related Cos. is building a more than 9 million-square-foot, mixed-use project near the Santa Clara Convention Center and the Levi’s Stadium. The project is currently under construction. Image courtesy of city of Santa Clara

    The Santa Clara project that has drummed up the most fanfare in the past year is undoubtedly The Related Cos.’ Related Santa Clara development, once known as CityPlace, at 5155 Stars and Stripes Drive, which is under construction now.

    In Silicon Valley, many cities have developed without a downtown or central gathering place that becomes a landing pad for residents and tourists looking for something fun to do.

    Now, multiple cities are trying to change that. And while Santa Clara has just started a major effort to rebuild its demolished downtown, Related Santa Clara aims to create not only a major attraction in the city, but for the entire region.

    The 9.16 million-square-foot development is currently under construction but will rise in phases on 240 acres of a onetime garbage dump and what is now a municipal golf course, which city documents show that, like many golf courses around the country, is being used less and less.

    And in the future, the development could end up being the first in Silicon Valley to welcome Uber’s flying cars, company representatives announced last summer. City officials have been supportive of the concept.

    “While there are many regulatory processes ahead for Uber Elevate, the City of Santa Clara is supportive of exploring all modes of transportation and looks forward to seeing how this cutting-edge venture would further transform Santa Clara as a future-forward city,” Lenka Wright, the city’s director of communications, said in a statement earlier this year.


    Prolific chipmaker Nvidia made a big splash with its plan for a three-building, futuristic campus at approximately 2800 San Tomas Expressway, replacing a slew of aging office buildings. One building is complete, the second is under construction. Image courtesy of Sares Regis/Nvidia

    Prolific chipmaker Nvidia made a big splash with its plan for a three-building, futuristic campus at approximately 2800 San Tomas Expressway, replacing a slew of aging office buildings. Plans for the buildings have shifted several times since the San Tomas Business Park Campus Project was approved in Dec. 2008.

    Today, Nvidia has finished its first new 500,000-square-foot, LEED Gold headquarters called ‘Endeavor’ using state-of-the-art technology to design the three-story building. The company is now working on its second building, a 750,000-square-foot triangular building next door that will be called ‘Voyager,’ which is under construction now.

    The third building — which the company has not laid out a timeline to build — is expected to span nearly 700,000 square feet in size. Nvidia has paired up with San Mateo-based Sares Regis Group of Northern California to develop the 35-acre project.

    Santa Clara Square

    Santa Clara Square, which has a prominent location along Highway 101, is nearly completion, but has already attracted several big-name retailers and has filled all of the new office space on the sprawling development site. Image courtesy of city of Santa Clara

    Irvine Cos.’ Santa Clara Square spans about 93 acres at approximately 2600 Augustine Dr., and much of it is already completed, though some multifamily and retail space is still under construction today.

    The project, which includes 1.862 square feet  of office, 178,000 square feet of retail and up to 1840 apartments, has already been a major success by all accounts. The project has nabbed a busy Whole Foods Market with an on-site bar alongside several other popular retailers.

    All of the office space in the project has been leased by major tenants, including Amazon, Hitachi Vantara, CIG, AMD, Ericsson, Analog Devices and more. That’s a major feat in a city with one of the highest office vacancy rates in Silicon Valley.

    The Newport Beach-based developer is still working on finishing two mixed-use residential and retail buildings and five residential-only buildings. A new city park is also under construction.

    Gateway Crossings

    A view of a paseo at Gateway Crossings. Image courtesy of Hunter Storm Development

    The nearly 24-acre, mixed-use Gateway Crossings project locked in its approval from city leaders in July and in the next two to three years, developer Hunter Storm Development says it aims to have at least one building completed and more underway. The development has not yet broken ground.

    Gateway Crossings will be a multi-phase project that in the end will include 1,565 residential units — including 157 affordable homes — alongside a 225-room full service hotel, 45,000 square feet of retail space and nearly 3 acres of park land.

    Meanwhile, Hunter Storm is already well underway with its Coleman Highline office and retail project just over the Santa Clara border in San Jose. Though the two parts of the project are in different cities, the developer has long viewed them as a single development with two complementary halves.

    “When we look at the definition of transit-oriented development, this could be in the dictionary,” Josh Rupert, director of development for Hunter Storm, said in an interview this week. “We hit every usage and we look at each portion as how is it accretive into the aggregate? … While they are separate projects, we consider them as one.”

    Lawrence Station by SummerHill

    SummerHill Housing Group is developing nearly 1,000 homes in the Lawrence Station Area Plan in Santa Clara in a new development called Nuevo. Image Courtesy SummerHill Housing Group/April 2017

    San Ramon-based SummerHill has one of many developments in Santa Clara’s Lawrence Station Area, an area governed by the Lawrence Station Specific Plan, which calls for a mix of uses and high density in an area once primarily low-slung office and industrial buildings.

    But the residential developer’s 29.4-acre project in the area is one of the largest, ringing in with 988 new homes in four-story buildings and nearly 40,000 square feet of retail and amenity space.

    The development is well under construction and some apartments have already opened to tenants.

    Honorable mention: Kylli

    A rendering shows Kylli Inc’s vision for Mission Point, a 49-acre development in Santa Clara. The Chinese developer is reworking its plan after the FAA said it had concerns about the proposal’s height. Image courtesy of Kylli

    Kylli shocked everyone when company leaders showed up to Santa Clara City Hall last year to ask for permission to study the impacts of building a project at 3005 Democracy Way as tall as 50 stories.

    The Chinese developer, an American subsidiary of Chinese pharmaceuticals and real estate company Genzon, wants to build a massive mixed-use project with 10.6 million square feet, including thousands of new homes and massive office buildings on 49 acres that is currently a massive parking lot and a few stout office buildings on the site today. Though the project isn’t approved yet, it gets an honorable mention on this list as a development to watch because of its potential size and impact.

    The property has seen several foiled project plans over the years. Among those foiled plans is a Yahoo campus that never came to be and a futuristic eco-campus for the defunct LeEco.

    Now Kylli has been forced back to the drawing board for its own project due to concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration around building heights and how they’ll interact with radar from passing planes. But the developer hasn’t given up, company officials told San José Spotlight in September.

    “We are really excited about a high-density plan,” said Randi Gerson, vice president of real estate development for Kylli. “We think a mixed-use approach is really the best approach for the neighborhood and we’re trying to find a technically sound, community supportable and economically viable solution to this.”

    Stay tuned near the end of the year to find out what the project will become in its next iteration.

    Contact Janice Bitters at [email protected] or follow @JaniceBitters on Twitter.

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