University housing at downtown San Jose state building site gains thumbs up from experts

SAN JOSE — A potential plan to replace the aging state
government building in downtown San Jose with housing for the
nearby university makes perfect sense and could help spur a
wide-ranging revitalization of that part of the downtown, according
to some property and land use experts.

In a move that could allow the Alfred E. Alquist Building, home
to several state government departments, to be handed over to
another California entity such as San Jose State University, a key
agency has recommended that the state should yield control of the
outmoded structure.

Several property experts told this news organization that the
Alquist state building would be an excellent location for a
mixed-use SJSU project featuring high-rise housing.

“It’s actually very exciting,” said Nick Goddard, a senior
vice president with Colliers International, a commercial real
estate firm. “It takes an ugly Soviet-style building and replaces
it with a dense population of students and really brings SJSU into
the core” of downtown San Jose.

The state’s Department of General Services, prodded by efforts
spearheaded by state Sen. Jim Beall and Assemblyman Ash Kalra, has
designated as surplus property the Alquist Building, which is
located at 100 Paseo de San Antonio between Second and Third
streets.

“Student housing adjacent to the Paseo and the Hammer Theatre
continues San Jose State’s evolution downtown,” said Bob
Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Valley Synergy, a land
use and planning consultancy.

Local experts seek to connect downtown San Jose’s main core
such as San Pedro Square, the South First Area, the hotel section,
and the theater district, to its western flanks near the Diridon
train station and its eastern borders, where the university is
located.

“The Alquist site going to the university makes total
sense,” said Mark Ritchie, president of Ritchie Commercial, a
real estate firm. “San Jose State University had tried to get the
Camera 12 site a few years ago for student housing, but that deal
fell through.”

If the university is successful with its gambit for the Alquist
Building, the Camera 12 site is developed, and the site of the old
Pavilion shopping mall is redeveloped, a new commercial district
could sprout near the university featuring offices, homes, shops,
and restaurants, according to Ritchie.

“You could have multiple high-rise projects in the area,”
Ritchie said. “That whole part of downtown San Jose near the
university is ripe for development.”

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
University housing at downtown San Jose state building site gains thumbs up from experts