Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One Million Sq. Ft. of New Office Downtown?

With news of Google potentially locating next to Diridon Station, suddenly everyone wants a piece of downtown San José! And boy are we ready! A Preliminary Review application came in last month to gain staff’s input on the potential to demolish existing buildings and construct three new 6-story office buildings totaling ONE MILLION square feet at 440 W. Julian Street.

The site is located within the Downtown boundary north of the SAP Center and is adjacent to the Guadalupe River, only separated by Autumn Parkway. The City of San José has designated these properties as Transit Employment Center in the General Plan, meaning that intensive job growth is supported here through high-density office and commercial development. The proposed one million square foot office development meets the intention of the Transit Employment Center land use designation.


The office concept in this proposal boasts having accessible green space on every floor and large terraces that will bring natural light deep into the floorplate (see pictures below). While the renderings are very preliminary, we can already gain a sense of the tapered design showcasing these private green spaces. This type of high-density employment next to Diridon Station would allow employees to take a multitude of transit modes to work: Caltrain, VTA bus rapid transit and light rail, ACE, and eventually BART. Not to mention the connectivity to the Guadalupe River Trail system that many bicyclists use to commute. 

If the developer wishes to proceed with their proposal, the next steps will include filing the following applications, at a minimum, with the City:
  1. Rezoning application to change the site’s current HI Heavy Industrial zoning district to a zoning district that supports intensive office uses
  2. Site development permit to allow the one million square foot office development
These permits would contain much more detail in regards to the design, circulation of vehicles, parking, landscaping, etc. and would most likely require a community meeting to gain input from the public. The preliminary application currently on file only serves as an informational application to the applicant so that they can get a preliminary analysis from staff. This helps applicants save time and money before submitting an actual development proposal. If the applicant decides to move forward, this project will give everyone an idea of what the City of San José will ask for regarding new development around Diridon and could very well set a precedent for Google moving forward.

-Kimberly Vacca




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