Monday, June 12, 2017

BREAKING - Update to Downtown Ross Site High-Rise Proposal

Downtown SJ sure is seeing a lot of action these days! A site development permit has been filed by Alterra Worldwide for the downtown Ross site at 27 S. 1st Street. The site development permit proposes a 22-story mixed-use residential building with 342 dwelling units and 17,628 square feet of retail on the 0.57-acre site. The development includes a clubhouse, two indoor fitness rooms, an outdoor fitness area, pool and outdoor terrace, and a 3,000 square-foot dog run. Units range in size from studios to two bedrooms, all including an outdoor balcony.

The submittal is an improvement from the preliminary application filed in 2016, although the architecture is very similar in style. The shape is still very boxy, and needs to better differentiate between the middle and top of the building. The top of the building could definitely use some work to contribute to a more distinctive and interesting skyline. Although, I do appreciate the tall ceilings on the first through third floors.

On June 27th, City Council will vote on an ordinance to allow balconies in the public easement, which means we may see less and less development proposals with box-like shapes as architects will be able to utilize the space above sidewalks for balconies. The current prohibition of balconies in the public easement means that developers and architects have limited space for private open space, leading to buildings like One South Market that are completely flat on all sides. Depending on the applicant’s timeline, they may wish to resubmit new drawings to utilize this new functionality.

For more information, go to and look up File No. H17-027. You may also contact the planner, Elia Sorice, at

**Also, sorry for the poor quality photos; they were directly scanned in from the plans.

-Kimberly Vacca

View looking towards N 1st Street from Fountain Alley

View from N 1st Street


  1. Niiceeee!!! Much better looking than the last render (maybe the more detailed renderings helped). Thanks for the renders Kim, and thanks for letting us know about the balcony issue as well, I'm glad that the Council is finally looking into it, I had no idea that was on the agenda! Ever since Mark on ThinkBigger blogged about it some years ago I've always wondered about it.

  2. SJ should allow balconies in order to foster residences downtown.

    1. We do actually have balconies, chris. But they're not allowed to sorta just hang out into space, they end up being recessed inward, and that takes up space, so developers for many buildings just forgo the balconies. Hopefully the Council will open their eyes and do the right thing.

  3. Love it

    Downtown density definitely improving and on it it's way towards expanding outward. Since we can't build taller here it only makes sense to take advantage of the space that's available, which when maxed out will allow the expansion of the skyline and the definition of the downtown core which could potentially lead to taller buildings