SAN JOSE — Three office towers are being eyed on a site between downtown San Jose’s convention center and the Guadalupe River, a fresh indicator that Google’s plans for downtown office buildings can spark development interest elsewhere in the urban core.
Boston Properties, which has wielded development rights on the site for several years, has made inquiries to San Jose planners regarding the development of a trio of office high rises on the property. At present, the property is used for surface parking. A Boston Properties executive said Monday the company didn’t want to immediately discuss detailed plans.
“It’s a terrific site,” said Scott Knies, executive director of San Jose Downtown Association. “It’s across from the convention center and a hotel, it has frontage on Almaden Boulevard and it backs up to the river.” The site is just south of West San Carlos Street, and is bounded on the west by the Guadalupe River, the south by Woz Way and the east by Almaden Boulevard.
This elevated interest in the site arrives amid what some call the “Google effect” in downtown San Jose.
Near the Diridon train station, Mountain View-based Google has proposed a mixed-use, transit-oriented community of 6 million to 8 million of offices, retail and residential developments. Eventually, 15,000 to 20,000 of the search giant’s employees could work in sites that would be integrated with local neighborhoods.
“Boston Properties has had plans for years on this site, and now with the velocity in the downtown San Jose market and the Google bounce, it might be the right time to do this project,” said Bob Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Valley Synergy, a development and land use consultancy.
The recent submission to city planners by Boston Properties didn’t disclose a proposed square footage and heights of the buildings. However, an office tower adjacent to the north end of the site is 11 stories high and totals 157,000 square feet. And a marketing flyer for the site that was circulated a few years ago stated the three buildings together would total roughly 840,000 square feet. One building would total 320,000 square feet and two would be 260,000 square feet, with the heights around 10 to 12 stories.
Current building values also could be a propellant for Boston Properties. In July 2017, Boston-based AEW Capital Management paid $80.2 million for the tower at 303 S. Almaden Blvd. that’s adjacent to the development site. The price, slightly more than $500 a square foot, is believed to be a record-high value for a downtown San Jose office building. The transaction occurred a few months after Google and its development partner Trammell Crow had begun in December 2016 to buy an array buildings and vacant lots on the western edges of the downtown.
“The secret sauce with this parking lot site is Boston Properties may have a tenant in mind,” Staedler said. “If you were a tech company that wanted to jump into downtown before Google got started, this could be a way for that to happen.”
Plus, a growing number of tech companies — arguably spearheaded by the Adobe Systems headquarters complex of three office towers in downtown San Jose — are looking at high rises for their operations. Adobe intends to build a fourth tower in 2019 to expand its downtown campus. Boston Properties developed the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. In addition, several office towers in Sunnyvale, including the Jay Paul-developed Moffett Towers complexes in Sunnyvale, are occupied by companies such as Google and Amazon.
“Tech companies see that it’s easier to collaborate from floor to floor,” Staedler said.
Three office towers eyed across from San Jose Convention Center