Monday, September 10, 2012

Santana Row - 10 Year Anniversary

November 7th, 2012 is going to be a major milestone for Santana Row as it will mark the project's 10th year of existence. I remember those early days leading up to the grand opening well. Much like the San Pedro Square Market has been my favorite project of 2011/2012, back in the early 2000s I was watching Santana Row like a hawk. Well before SR opened its doors I was taking hard-hat tours, researching Federal Realty, and hunting for any available news on what retail was coming.

On August 19th, 2002 I was in London and just as I was getting out of the shower I heard something on TV about a huge fire engulfing an under-construction project in Northern California. Sure enough, it was Santana Row. The news definitely put a crimp in my vacation.

In early November that year, I snuck into Federal Realty's investor preview party with a college friend. Despite the fire they were still opening, and the finished product looked phenomenal--truly unlike any Silicon Valley project I have ever seen before. While only a handful of retail shops and a single restaurant (!) were scheduled to be part of the grand opening, I got the overall vision of what Santana Row could become. I went home, and immediately made plans to move whatever little stock I had at the time to Federal Realty, which ended up becoming the best investment I ever made.

Over the next two years I was at Santana Row at least two or three times a week. Everyone at Blowfish knew me by name and I dragged all my friends there every weekend for drinks. Any out of town guest that came to visit me would get a thorough tour and history lesson of every block in the Row (...did you know that is a real church steeple imported from Italy serving as the entrance to the flower shop?).

Flash forward to 2012, and you have what is undoubtedly the most successful mixed-use project in the United States, with constant activity 7 days a week, flagship retailers, and restaurant revenue per sqft that rivals the busiest streets in New York. The scary thing is it will probably get even busier over the next 2-3 years.

Now it's time to take a look back at the history of Santana Row with the press release below. There will be some special events to commemorate the 10 year anniversary, so stay tuned closer to Nov 7th!

Silicon Valley’s, Mixed-Use Development Still Booms A Decade Later Santana Row plays its part in Silicon Valley’s current economic resurgence

San Jose, CA (July 5, 2012) - Federal Realty, which helped spearhead the interest among developers in urban Main Street mixed-use environments opened one of the most ambitious projects of its kind in the United States when it developed the $450 million, 42-acre mixed use village-within-a-city, Santana Row. Last year alone, this development contributed approximately $24 million in sales tax revenue for the city of San Jose and Federal Realty has paid $40 million in property taxes since purchasing the land in 1997. Santana Row is a residential, office, shopping, dining, and entertainment district built around a main street in San Jose, California. The size and scope of Santana Row make it Federal Realty's largest development to date and one of the nation's largest mixed-use projects constructed by a single developer.

A decade after opening, and celebrating its 10 year anniversary on November 7th 2012, Santana Row is firmly established as a thriving shopping and dining destination, combining office, residential and a 5-star hotel. The shopping center boasts a lofty 30,000 visitors a day, both local and global, and has created a sense of place in Silicon Valley. Santana Row ranked third among the top 10 local searches by San Francisco residents in 2011, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Santana Row's pedestrian-friendly sidewalks consistently draw a desirable demographic of shoppers and diners. The location on the corner of Winchester and Stevens Creek Boulevards in San Jose is what attracted Federal Realty to this project. It is one of the most affluent areas in the country with the average household income more than $94,000 and visitors from Asia and Europe are increasingly spending time and money at Santana Row.

With 70 shops and boutiques, average tenant sales since opening have increased 50% from $400 to $600 per sq ft, reaching levels comparable to the top fortress malls in the US. With over 20 restaurants, total food sales are approaching $100 million, with sit down restaurant sales over $900 per sq ft,, as, or more, productive than restaurants in the country’s top urban locations. As sales increase, so does the revenue generated for the city of San Jose. In step with Silicon Valley's current economic resurgence, Santana Row’s upscale, 403 residential units are highly sought after, and its office space is fully leased to a diverse mix of businesses that value the campus-like amenities the property offers. Federal Realty is underway with a multiphase, $300 million expansion.

“The combination of our close proximity to high‐quality Silicon Valley neighborhoods and the richly varied offerings of Santana Row make this an exciting place to live and work. As a result, our existing office and residential space is currently 100% leased and we continue to receive significant interest from the market says Jan Sweetnam, Vice President, West Coast Chief Operating Officer, Federal Realty Investment Trust.”

Santana Row’s amenities include 20 restaurants, a Club One Fitness Center, two parks, two plazas, Hotel Valencia, 403 luxury rental apartments, 219 residential condominiums, nine spas and salons, on-going events including high-profile fashion shows as well as a wide range of high quality retail shops.

Expansion plans include a resort-style residential community of 212 rental homes, expected to be completed fall 2013. The addition of this residential community will bring the total number of rental homes at Santana Row to 615 which, along with 219 privately owned condos that Federal Realty sold in 2005-6, bring the total number of on-site residents to approximately 1,500. Plans are also being finalized for a Class-A Technology Office Building, to be built on at the corner of Winchester Boulevard and Olsen Avenue. The six‐story tower will house approximately 220,000 square feet of office area along with over 600 parking spaces. The office space is designed with large, open 36,000 square foot floor plates and ceiling heights over 13’ tall to provide superior natural light and is expected to receive LEED Gold certification. The building’s location on Winchester Boulevard in Santana Row provides easy access to and from Highways I‐280, I‐880 and 17. Plans are also being formulated for a “capstone building” at the end of Santana Row which will include a signature plaza, office and retail space, and below-grade parking.


Santana Row's history is as spectacular as its Mediterranean-influenced architectural design, lushly landscaped parks and array of shopping, dining and living choices.

Exactly a month before it was slated to open, an 11-alarm fire raged through the largest structure, destroying 538,000 square feet of retail space and housing units. The Aug. 19, 2002 fire was the largest in San Jose history and cast doubt on the development, conceived during the era of the Internet bubble when Silicon Valley's rising income, influx of new residents and tech dominance seemed endless.

Santana Row was envisioned during those boom years as an upscale neighborhood of shopping and living, with a charming main street and central courtyard, restaurants, theaters and a hotel. It was deemed a "smart growth" strategy for the city and then-Mayor Ron Gonzales was confident in its future.

Construction began in the summer of 2000 at the tired and dated shopping center formerly known as Town & Country Village. Despite the growing shadow of an economic downturn, the project continued, buoyed by statistics that showed the San Jose metropolitan area was still spending above the national average and ranked second in the U.S. in median household income, according to Claritas/Market Statistics. At the same time, the area's large concentration of Asian and Asian Americans and their well-known penchant for designer goods made Santana Row a desirable draw for high-end retailers. “An obsession with quality, aesthetics and brand loyalty seems to define many Asian customers and that should bode well for certain Santana Row shops”, said C. Britt Beemer, founder and senior retail analyst at America's Research Group.

80 days after the Aug. 19th fire, Santana Row opened on Nov. 7 in the midst of the 2002 holiday season with a mix of 35 local retailers and luxury brand stores that included BCBG Max Azria, Gucci, Sur La table, Diesel and Anne Fontaine. Also on The Row: art galleries, salons and restaurants such Left Bank Brasserie and Straits, which had other popular Bay Area locations and saw growth opportunity at this new location. In a short time, it was compared to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills by The Robb Report, the global luxury lifestyle magazine.

Shortly after opening in January of 2003, the boutique, 212-room Hotel Valencia opened. Hotel Valencia now attracts nearly 80,000 business, group and leisure travelers annually. Momentum continued to thrive and regional and national coverage of Santana Row attracted additional tenants including big box retailer, The Container Store in fall of 2003 and a six-screen CineArts Cinema in 2004. By the end of September 2004, 92 percent of Santana Row’s retail space was leased to 115 tenants with 101 stores open and operating.

Santana Row began the sale of their 219 residential condos in late 2005. The total gross sales proceeds were approximately $153 million with sell-out completed in 2006.

In 2007, H&M opened their first south bay location at Santana Row.

In April of 2008, Santana Row broke ground on 300 Santana Row, 65,000 sq ft of Class A office space and 15,000 sq ft of ground floor retail. The building received LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and is 100% occupied, providing over 250 on-site employees daily to Santana Row. In 2010, Santana Row was awarded the Project of the Decade by the Silicon Valley Business Journal and was given a new media maxi award by the International Council of Shopping Centers for its iPhone application. In April of 2010, Santana Row began construction on 108 luxury rental homes. Within 6 months after completion in October of 2011, the community was 100 percent leased.

Today, Santana Row is a 1.5 million square foot mixed use community that houses 622 residential homes, over 350 office employees, 70 shops and boutiques, 20 restaurants, 9 spas and salons, CineArts movie theatre and the Hotel Valencia. Federal Realty has developed the ultimate neighborhood to live, work and play and the community has embraced this concept for both economic and social reasons. Tenants include a Tesla Motors showroom; Eyeona, a tech start-up; and soon to open a new, two-story 27,570 square foot H&M store reflects its firm place in Silicon Valley as a must-visit destination for locals and visitors in the San Francisco Bay Area.

About Federal Realty 

In 2012, Federal Realty celebrates 50 years of being a proven leader in the ownership, operation, and redevelopment of high quality retail real estate in the country’s best markets. Federal Realty's portfolio (excluding joint venture properties) contains approximately 19.2 million square feet located primarily in strategically selected metropolitan markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, as well as in California. In addition, the Trust has an ownership interest in approximately 1.0 million square feet of retail space through a joint venture in which the Trust has a 30% interest. Our operating portfolio (excluding joint venture properties) was 93.8% leased to national, regional, and local retailers as of March 31, 2012, with no single tenant accounting for more than approximately 2.5% of annualized base rent. Federal Realty has paid quarterly dividends to its shareholders continuously since its founding in 1962, and has increased its dividend rate for 44 consecutive years, the longest record in the REIT industry. Federal Realty is an S&P MidCap 400 company and its shares are traded on the NYSE under the symbol FRT. For more information, please visit


  1. Replies
    1. People don't live in malls, they don't work in them (besides the obvious retail jobs), and past high school they usually don't "hang out" for long periods of time in malls. So, I don't think it would be fair to call Santana Row a mall, especially when it is home to a lot of people. And if you do think of it as a home, compare the amenities that you have access to there to where you live today. It's a solid model for more urban villages in San Jose.

  2. Thanks for the jab Anon! Don't slip over them sour grapes when you pass out the door.

    Seriously...some of you guys need to just lay it off with the haterade...

    I like this article and learned quite a bit about the history of the Row. I know a whole host of folks don't care much for the place, what with its "uppity" and "snobbish" clientele, but at its core it's a GREAT place to take your guests, snobbish and non-snobbish alike.

    All the out-of-town guests I've taken to the Row loved it!

    All the non-SF folks that loves to call SJ the "glorified cow town" (I always get this from people from Mountain View and Sunnyvale, what gives haha!), I always give them the retort "We have the Row, where's your Row?" That always shut them up for awhile.

    The place has revitalized San Jose's Midtown section, make no mistake about it.

    Sorry for long rant :) 'Tis Monday at work :P

  3. That's why Downtown San Jose is dead and devoid of any activity. Santana Row is a travesty to the city of San Jose, and it certainly robbed downtown of its progress and vitality. They should never have built Santana Row, period!

    One question: do you guys prefer a project like Santana Row or having a downtown that's healthy and vibrant?

    Note* not too many cities have a vibrant downtown and having a happening place like Santana Row in another area of the city.

    1. I don't personally believe the two locations are mutually exclusive. I want downtown SJ to succeed just as much as the next guy, but let's face it, Federal Realty would never have invested the money they did into downtown. Suburbanites want a clean, safe, welcoming environment with free parking and that's what Santana Row gives them.

    2. I think they can both coexist and I'm no longer entirely certain that Santa Row stunted Downtown's growth. Before SR Downtown was already in bad shape, and now 10 years later it is substantially better instead of declining further.

      SR put San Jose on the retail map and that attention may spur retailers to locate in other parts of San Jose, especially now that SR is perpetually 100% leased and is not planning much more retail as part of the project. It is free advertising for the city as a whole.

  4. Santana Row is beyond lame and going there only serves to remind me how much is lacking downtown. I would never drag an out of town guest there; my friends and family have malls where they live too :)

  5. I like to corroborate Joshua Santos' claim that Downtown and Santana Row can coexist. On May 20, 2007, The article of NY Times' Travel section wrote that Downtown San Jose and Santana Row can coexist in the city of nearly 1 million. NY Times were totally right! Downtown thrives as an artsy and funky district with new addition of San Pedro Sq. Market, while Santana Row thrives as an upscale and stylish retail district where hip crowd hangs out. Sometimes some of those crowd comes to check out downtown and relax for an afternoon drink at one of the cafe's by San Pedro Sq. or hang out at Cafe' Fruscati in the SoFa District. San Jose is lucky to embrace two happening locales where people can go out and have a good time.

  6. Don't forget other parts of San Jose that also have tons of visitors annually that provide retail, residents, restaurants in such areas like Japantown, Willow Glen, Little Saigon/Vietnam Town (which is finally seeing growth), The Plant, San Jose Market Center, San Pedro Square and Market, Little Portugual, Story and King, San Jose Flea Market and attractions like Capitol Drive In, Winchester Mystery House, Raging Waters, Tech Museum, SJ Museum of Art, Discovery Museum, Lake Almaden, Lake Cunningham, Happy Hollow, History Park, Japanese Friendship Garden, our great shopping malls, our great restaurants, great companies like OSH, Lee's Sandwiches, Togo's, Chuck E Cheese, TK Noodle, Ebay, Adobe, and the list goes on. Thanks Josh for informing us about Antique Auto Show at History Park. I went and it was amazing!

  7. You folks can really beat up a topic. We get it...

  8. Talk to the store owners about the management team if you want a true feel of The Row. why so much turnover of businesses?

    1. I don't think there is any more turnover at SR than any other high-end shopping center. The place is 98% leased, there would not be that level of demand if value was not being delivered to the stores.