What Google’s San Jose project means for downtown

For years, much of the area around Diridon Station has been a neglected jumble of grimy auto body shops, vacant lots overgrown with weeds and shabby warehouses.

Google — whose plans face a critical City Council vote Tuesday — is expected to transform some 50 acres into a mix of offices, shops and restaurants connected by pathways that wind through parks and plazas filled with public art. Steps away, Diridon is set to undergo its own renovation and become the only place in the Bay Area where BART, Caltrain, Amtrak and high-speed rail converge.

It’s a tall order. But if the tech giant succeeds, the project could transform a downtown that has struggled to rebound from sprawling development in the 1950s and 1960s, when city manager Dutch Hamann rapidly annexed land at the city’s fringes while neglecting its urban core. When it’s complete, the area could support more than 25,000 workers, a 65 percent increase in the number employed in the core of the city today.

For longtime restaurateur and downtown business owner Steve Borkenhagen, Google’s foray into San Jose might finally spark the kind of urban rejuvenation he’s dreamed of for decades. For Kathy Sutherland, a nearly 40-year resident of the Delmas Park neighborhood in the shadow of the proposed development, the project brings both the long-sought possibility of a vibrant neighborhood and the fear of displacement. And for the urban studies theorist Richard Florida, the project is less personal but no less important — a chance for a major American city to finally get redevelopment right, to provide an antidote to the debacle of the Amazon HQ2 rollout.

It will be years before any such dreams or fears are fully realized, but the sale of more than $100 million dollars of city land — expected to be finalized at the Tuesday council meeting — sets the stage for planning and development to begin in earnest after months of closed-door talks and speculation about the biggest thing to happen in San Jose in generations.

 

 

Read more on the East Bay Times

 

 

Crane Watch update: More than 22,000 residential units have flooded into San Jose’s development pipeline

More than 22,000 new residential units have been proposed in the city of San Jose — the largest city in the housing-starved Bay Area — according to city records and Business Journal reporting over the past year.

Those number have been gathered over the past year and a half and detailed in the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Crane Watch map, which is a compilation of every large development project that has arrived at the San Jose city hall.

When the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Crane Watch map launched in 2017, it detailed 30 of the biggest projects in San Jose. But a little more than a year later, the number of projects we’re tracking has ballooned to 107 proposals. These include developments that are anywhere in the city’s development pipeline, from an early vision submitted to the city for feedback all the way to a recently completed structure.

Crane Watch shows industrial, office, residential, hotel, health care, education, retail and mixed-use proposals, and active projects that are 90,000 square feet in size or larger throughout the city of San Jose.

Read more on Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

 

How will S.F.’s tallest buildings fare in the next big earthquake? Report expresses concerns

San Francisco’s tall buildings may be at risk of damage during the next big earthquake, a study released by research nonprofit Applied Technology Council (ATC) last week warns.

The 36-page report outlines vulnerability concerns over outdated building standards and provides a strategy for proactive safety checks.

The study’s release comes just days after cracks were found in two steel beams of San Francisco’s newly minted $2.2 billion Transbay Transit Center, and as Millennium Tower next door continues to sink and tilt. Last year, the late Mayor Ed Lee commissioned the report, which was prepared by a group of engineers.

The report probed the city’s 156 tallest buildings — either constructed or permitted for construction — that are at least 240 feet high, primarily located in San Francisco’s Financial District. About 60 percent of these buildings house business and office space, while the rest are zoned residential.

 

Read more on San Francisco Business Times

 

 

Oakland to vote on property tax, owner move-in eviction measures

Oakland voters in November will be deciding on three new measures.

The three new measures include a tax on vacant properties, increase the real estate transfer tax rate for properties worth more than $2 million and disallow landlords from evicting tenants on the grounds that the landlord lives in the property.

The vacant property tax, which must pass by a two-thirds majority, would impose a special parcel tax on all vacant property — including lots, industrial and commercial buildings, and units in apartment buildings and other multi-unit buildings like condo or townhouse complexes.

The measure was passed during Tuesday’s marathon city council meeting which lasted into the early morning hours of Wednesday. Landlords spoke out against the measures, mostly claiming they would put an unfair burden on small “mom-and-pop” landlords who may only have one rental property and rely on that income. Tenants’ rights activists supported the measures, and shared stories of landlords treating tenants unfairly, as well as the need for housing.

 

 

Read more on East Bay Times

 

 

 

Abandoned Warehouses Are Being Transformed Into Popular Mixed-Use Developments

Outdated warehouses of the past are being resurrected to accommodate a new future. But that future is edging some people out of town.

Now, developers are using the empty vessels as a base to create the much-desired live-work-play dynamic. But this shift may not be good for all, CityLab reports.

Read more from Bisnow

Economy Watch: Industrial Sector on Top in 2017

The industrial sector has emerged as the growth leader in commercial real estate, according to a new report by Morningstar, a notion that’s in agreement with the wider consensus about industrial now leading income-generating real estate. As a darling among owners and investors, apartments may still be strong, but the industrial sector is the rising star.

That’s thanks to Amazon and e-commerce as a whole. Industrial logistics space outperformed office, retail, apartment and even light industrial space in terms of supply, demand, occupancy and rent growth in the first half of 2017, noted the report.

Read more from Commercial Property Executive

Historic Pier 70 In San Francisco 100% Leased

Orton Development’s 280K SF Historic Pier 70 is now fully leased. Gusto, an employee benefits company, just finalized a 10-year lease for 50K SF at the property, the San Francisco Business Times reports. Gusto will be moving from its South of Market office at 500 Third St. into the new office at 113 20th St. next summer. The company’s new lease is about double its current lease in SoMa. Gusto expects to increase its San Francisco workforce to over 400 employees within the next few years.

Read more from Bisnow

Industrial Real Estate Fundamentals Tighten as Sector Keeps Evolving

The fate of industrial real estate is tied to e-commerce. In today’s market, that’s nothing to complain about.

Over the course of Q2 the sector experienced tightening fundamentals, a growing construction pipeline and rising demand from investors and tenants alike. These trends position industrial real estate for continued success over the coming quarters. Yet the sector is not likely to remain static, and from shifting demands to the growing importance of last-mile facilities, industrial real estate is on track to keep evolving.

Read more from VTS Blog

As Amazon moves in, demand for warehouse space climbs

As developers try to keep up with a surge in demand for warehouses driven by online retail, some are considering some unusual solutions. Some have begun to consider constructing multistory warehouses and demolishing struggling malls to make way for sprawling industrial properties.

Read more from San Francisco Busines Times