If you are wondering why I began today's post with a photo, it is because I was almost lost for words when I read Nathan Donato-Weinstein's article in the Business Journal. This high-rise proposal is easily the most impressive I have ever seen in my lifetime for Downtown San Jose!
The City of San Jose has been shopping around for a developer to come in an build out a killer project in one of Downtown's best locations right behind the Tech Museum. Of the four proposals they received, they have chosen to move forward with one by Insight Realty, which includes a design by Steinberg Architects (same architect that did The Tech). It looks like they made the right choice.
This would be the most "mixed-use" high-rise tower in San Jose, and maybe even in the Bay Area. This project would include a 60,000 SQFT expansion of the Tech Museum on the ground floor, 210,000 SQFT of "creative office space" on the next five floors, twelve stories of condos, then three stories for an upscale boutique hotel, and finally a floor of luxury penthouse condos. The tower would rise 270 feet tall and have a cascading effect that would bring green balconies and terraces to a huge portion of the building. It looks like they would even turn the roof of The Tech into a park!
I don't even know where to begin with how excited I am, and and the impact this would have Downtown! As opposed to just being residential, it will bring some much needed hotel and Class A office space Downtown. This would be the first new office space built Downtown since 2010. Each component of the project has a symbiotic relationship with the rest. The park could be used by office workers during work days and residents and hotel patrons during nights and weekends. The hotel amenities would be accessible to residents as well. Parking could be shared between office workers and residents since they have separate peak demand cycles. The list goes on and on.
As for location, it could not be more central Downtown. Plaza de Cesar Chavez, the Convention Center, the Center for Performing Arts, the City National Civic, the Montgomery Theater, The Guadalupe River Park, and of course the Tech are all immediately accessible. Across the street you will find the Adobe's Headquarters and the Riverpark Towers with two of the fastest growing tech companies in San Jose, Xactly and Intacct. If you draw a circle a 10 minute walk from the proposed project, it will include San Pedro Square, SoFA, Camera 12, most companies on Santa Clara Street, and about 150 restaurants. If you go out 15 minutes, you can add the SAP Center, Diridon Station, and SJSU to the list.
Last, but definitely not least... the building has landmark-grade architecture. I would be 100% satisfied if the design did not change one bit between now and when the shovels hit the ground.
Even better is the fact that it would replace two of the most dilapidated and ugly buildings Downtown. (Update: these two structures are just outside the scope of the project, although I can't imagine the building on the corner staying there for long.)
If all goes well, the City of San Jose and Insight Realty could finalize the deal within six months (hopefully much sooner). No construction start date is listed in the article, but late 2016 might be feasible if the deal gets wrapped soon. Exciting times ahead!