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Three big downtown San Jose projects advance, adding hundreds of homes


Three big downtown San Jose projects advance, adding hundreds of homes
Bo Town, Icon/Echo, SuZaCo San Jose complexes all get final city approval

SAN JOSE — Three big downtown San Jose projects have gained final city approval in a decision that allows more than 900 homes and hundreds of thousands of square feet of offices to be built.

The City Council has approved the Icon/Echo office and residential towers complex, the Bo Town residential tower and the SuZaCo office and retail project. If any or all are built, the projects are poised to greatly revamp key sections of downtown San Jose.

Together, the projects would add an estimated 929 residential units and an estimated 607,800 square feet of office, retail and restaurant space to downtown San Jose, according to documents and agendas on file with city officials.

“We are really excited to see these projects move forward,” said Chris Burton, San Jose’s planning director. “This demonstrates the city’s vision for a vibrant, mixed-use environment in the downtown.”

Here’s what each of the projects could produce:

  • Icon/Echo would consist of two towers. The 26-story Echo tower will have 389 residences and the 20-story Icon office tower would total 525,000 square feet. This project would front on East Santa Clara Street, North Fourth Street and East St. John Street and will include 8,500 square feet of retail. Urban Catalyst is the developer.
  • The Orchard Residential, a 30-story residential tower with 540 housing units and 7,400 square feet of ground-floor retail, would be built at 409 S. Second St. next to the site of the old Bo Town restaurant. The Bo Town property will be preserved as part of the project. An alliance of mega-developer Westbank and local developer Urban Community, which is headed up by Gary Dillabough and Jeff Arrillaga, heads up the project.
  • SuZaCo, a mixed-use mixed-use complex at 130 through 150 E. Santa Clara St. and 17 S. Fourth St., would total 75,300 square feet in a four- and six-story office and restaurant-focused retail building. This includes 67,900 square feet of offices and 6,300 square feet of retail and a rooftop bar. The facade of the historic State Meat Building will be preserved. Bayview Development is building the project.

“The people who live and work in these buildings will contribute to the vitality of downtown San Jose,” said Nanci Klein, the city’s director of economic development. “The projects will also contribute significant funds through property tax and utility tax, leading to more services delivered in San Jose.”

Besides these three projects, two high-tech giants, Adobe and Google, are pushing ahead with separate projects that are poised to bring big-time changes to downtown San Jose.

San Jose-based Adobe is busy preparing a new tower that would greatly expand its existing three-building downtown headquarters campus. Adobe aims to employ thousands in the nearly completed fourth tower.

On the western edges of downtown San Jose, Google is pushing ahead with demolition work so it can begin infrastructure improvements ahead of the development of the first phase of the search giant’s new transit village.

Google’s new neighborhood, known as Downtown West, would add office buildings, homes, shops, restaurants, entertainment and cultural hubs, open spaces and hotel rooms near the Diridon train station and the SAP Center.

“The progress being made in downtown San Jose is nothing short of amazing,” said Erik Hayden, founder of Urban Catalyst. “The city is in the midst of an exciting reimagining of what an urban landscape can be. We at Urban Catalyst are delighted to be a part of it.”

The City Council’s approval this week of the Icon/Echo, Bo Town and SuZaCo projects raises hopes for heightened revitalization and more vibrancy in downtown San Jose.

“The neighborhood around City Hall is undergoing a transformation,” said Caleb Cater, an executive with Bayview Development. “We are excited for SuZaCo to be an addition to the Fourth Street corner.”

Westbank believes that the preservation of the Bo Town restaurant building, even though the dining establishment closed a few years ago, is a crucial part of its Orchard Residential tower.

“A quintessential, mid-century restaurant structure stands at the corner of San Salvador Street and South Second Street, with an iconic folded roof and Populuxe, space-age-inspired elements” is how Westbank describes the Bo Town property in a vision book.

Westbank also aims to incorporate visual elements that are reminiscent of Bo Town on the roofline of the housing tower.

“All of these projects have done a good job of balancing competing goals,” Planning Director Burton said. “These projects also advance the city’s environmental sustainability goals.”

Full article by George Avalos: https://www.siliconvalley.com/2022/11/30/big-downtown-san-jose-office-retail-restaurant-home-real-estate-900/