Silicon Valley growth spurs huge office, R&D building boom

A huge wave of commercial property construction is underway in the Bay Area, and Silicon Valley’s economic boom is fueling the growth, according to a report released Wednesday.

Construction of new buildings for offices, research and development and industrial uses is galloping ahead at a “feverish” pace, a report stated.

“This is a construction boom like no other,” said Russell Hancock, president of San Jose-based Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a private-public organization. “There is a lot of confidence in the Silicon Valley economy. People who are developing buildings are quite sure that they are going to get leased up. And they are getting leased up.”

Read more from The Mercury News

 

 

Exclusive: Chinese developer brings on local development muscle as it digs into Santa Clara megaproject

A Chinese company has brought on local development help as it studies the feasibility of building a 10.5 million-square-foot mixed-use development in Santa Clara — a project that local insiders say could get even bigger.

The Chinese developer working on getting approvals for a 10.5 million-square-foot-development on a former Yahoo site in Santa Clara appears to have forged a formal relationship with a local developer to help with the process.

Harmonie Park Development last week announced in a tweet it was “excited to be named development advisor to Kylli.”

Kylli Inc., an American subsidiary of Shenzhen, China-based pharmaceuticals and real estate company Genzon, earlier this year got unanimous approval from Santa Clara City Council members to study amending the city’s general plan to grow the allowed development for the 48.6-acre site roughly at 3005 Democracy Way more than three-fold.

One local land use consultant now says the project could get even bigger, according to conversations he’s had with people purporting to be involved with the project.

Read more from Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

Google says it’s close to owning enough downtown San Jose properties for ‘viable’ development

Google is nearing ownership of enough downtown San Jose properties and parcels to create a “viable” transit-oriented development.

The development will take place near the Diridon train station, a top company executive told a key advisory group this week.

During a meeting of the Station Area Advisory Group, formed to gather and process citizen input about Google’s proposal to develop a massive transit village near Diridon Station, Google executives offered the company’s first major presentation of its development philosophies and plans for downtown San Jose. The search giant also indicated that it is creating a critical mass of properties where it could build a transit-oriented community downtown.

“Just to get the sites together by itself is obviously very complicated, and it’s not completed yet, and it’s taking a while,” Mark Golan, Google’s vice president real estate development, told the advisory group during its Monday night meeting. “But we are getting close to having a site that is viable.”

Mountain View-based Google and its development ally Trammell Crow have spent at least $221.6 million buying an array of properties on the western edges of downtown San Jose, within and near a one-mile stretch that begins north of the SAP Center and reaches south nearly to Interstate 280.

Among the major recent deals: The Google and Trammell Crow venture bought a large site that now is occupied by Orchard Supply Hardware, and the search giant has struck a deal to purchase a huge property from Trammell Crow that is approved for 1 million square feet, hundreds of residences and retail.

Despite the extensive work and investments that have occurred already, construction isn’t going to begin tomorrow, Google executives cautioned.

Read more from Santa Cruz Sentinel

 

 

Facebook to move into big WeWork outpost as co-working company prepares to open largest-ever location

Talks between the two giants about WeWork’s new Mountain View location, its largest sublease to-date, have been ongoing for months. But this week the two finally struck a deal.

When WeWork this year opens its first Mountain View offices — its largest-ever lease — half of that space will be filled by Facebook.

Both companies told the Silicon Valley Business Journal about Facebook’s sublease which totals more than 200,000 square feet in one of two new office buildings at The Village at San Antonio Center. The deal comes after months of discussions between the two companies. The second WeWork office building on the site will be open to any company seeking co-working space.

Initially, the talks between the New York-based co-working company and the Menlo Park-based tech giant had been leading toward Facebook taking over both buildings at 391 and 401 San Antonio Road, which would total about 450,000 square feet, the Business Journal reported in February. But Facebook in recent months has rapidly snapped up huge swaths of office space in Silicon Valley — including about 1 million square feet in Sunnyvale — and its needs evolved quickly, two sources with knowledge of the discussions told the Business Journal.

Facebook will set up shop in the eight-story, approximately 225,000-square-foot office building at 401 San Antonio Rd., which is slated to be ready for move-in by early September, according to WeWork.

Read more from Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

Wiener scales back bill that would allow taller housing near public transit

State Sen. Scott Wiener scales back a controversial housing proposal.

The proposed bill would strip local governments of their ability to block construction of taller and denser apartment and condominium buildings near public transit stops, and conceded the bill might not make it through the Legislature this year.

The San Francisco Democrat introduced amendments to his SB827 late Monday that would lower the maximum height of buildings that could go up as a result of the bill to five stories from eight. Also, the bill would take effect in 2021 instead of 2019.

Wiener made the amendments ahead of the bill’s first hearing April 17 in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. If passed, the bill will then head to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.

“The bill is not guaranteed to survive either committee,” Wiener said Tuesday. “It’s a hard bill. Hopefully, we pass through these committees and live to fight another day, but if not, then we will try again next year. It’s very common in the Legislature that for hard bills, sometimes you have to try multiple times.”

The measure would override local height limits on proposed four- and five-story apartment and condo buildings in residential areas if they are within a half mile of major transit hubs, such as a BART or Caltrain station. It also would limit cities’ ability to block denser buildings within a quarter-mile of highly used bus and light-rail stops, but amendments eliminated new height requirements.

Read more from San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

Silicon Valley grapples with security risks after YouTube shooting

Tech offices are modeled after college campuses.

Will they rethink their layouts? A shooting outside the offices of YouTube on Tuesday prompted an outpouring of support from fellow technology workers, as well as a sense of dread over whether other corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley were vulnerable to similar attacks.

YouTube’s campus in San Bruno, California, where three people were injured by gunfire, is laid out much like other tech offices nearby. It consists of a group of buildings within close proximity, spread across a suburban area. There’s outdoor seating and grassy pastures inviting colleagues to congregate. Visitors and employees can wander freely together in the vicinity, and security guards typically stay at desks inside the buildings.

“Companies invest in security but purposefully keep physical security measures discreet because the vibe is casual and relaxed,” said Joe Sullivan, the former chief security officer at Uber Technologies Inc. and Facebook Inc. who’s now an independent consultant. “Leaders want to stay connected with their teams, generally choosing less visible security than you would see in traditional finance or media companies.”

A woman — identified by police as Nasim Aghdam — shot and injured at least three people before killing herself. She was found at the scene and appeared to be dead of “a self-inflicted” gunshot wound, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said at a press conference Tuesday. No motive was given for the shooting.

In an American age where shooting rampages have become increasingly common, openness can work against companies, said Jeff Harp, a retired agent at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Francisco who consults for technology companies. While employees are required to badge into buildings, access to many outdoor areas is generally accessible to all.

The episode could prompt executives to tighten security, Harp said. “Companies are going to be asking themselves, ‘Maybe our guard services need to be where they pull into the parking lot.’”

Read more from Bloomberg

 

 

Facebook In Talks For 1M SF In Sunnyvale

Jay Paul Co.’s Moffett Towers II in Sunnyvale is all leased up, and Facebook could be one of its main tenants.

Facebook is said to have leased about 1M SF in three out of the five buildings within the office complex, the East Bay Times reports. This could allow Facebook to move about 5,000 to 6,000 employees into Sunnyvale.

Facebook would not be a new tenant for Jay Paul Co.; the social media giant leased all of Jay Paul Co.’s 445K SF office space at 181 Fremont last year.

While Facebook did not confirm the leases, one of the site’s brokers, Newmark Knight Frank Vice Chairman Phil Mahoney, confirmed with the East Bay Times that all five buildings have been leased to unspecified tenants.

Two of the five buildings within Moffett Towers II are nearing completion and a third is under construction.

Amazon already leased one 350K SF building at Moffett Towers II and leases about 1M SF throughout Sunnyvale.

Outside of its growth throughout Menlo Park, which includes an expansion of its headquarters as well as a proposed Willow Campus, Facebook has leased space in Fremont and may also sublease 475K SF from WeWork at the Village at San Antonio in Mountain View.

Read more from Bisnow

 

 

Scott Wiener’s controversial housing bill gained a big supporter in BART

The fight over SB 827, a proposed law from California State Sen. Scott Wiener to upzone development sites near transit centers, has supporters and detractors lining up in due course.

If approved by the legislature, the law would limit local control over density, parking spaces and heights for housing projects within a certain distance to transit stops. Proponents of the law pitch a symbiosis between housing development and transit options, with the proximity of the two mitigating traffic congestion.

Recently, the effort to pass the law added the region’s most heavily trafficked public transportation system as a proponent: Bay Area Rapid Transit. Earlier this month the BART Board narrowly voted 5-4 to support the measure.

In many cases, building on transit agency sites takes decades, with negotiations with multiple government agencies, substantial community input, difficulties with financing and expensive parking requirements all playing a role.

BART has shown a willingness to support transit oriented development before, approving a policy in 2016 that encourages 20,000 homes to be built on its land by 2040.

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

Facebook Files $303M Permit For Construction At Menlo Park Campus

Facebook is gearing up for construction of a $303M building as part of its headquarters expansion project in Menlo Park. The social media giant plans to build a four-story, 464K SF building as part of the western development of its campus, according to BuildZoom. Facebook also has been working toward creating a mixed-use village called Willow Campus off Willow Road in Menlo Park, which would include housing, retail and a 1.75M SF office. The tech company has filed permits over the last five years worth over $1B. At its headquarters, construction of Building 22, which is designed by Frank Gehry, will include a connecting bridge between buildings 22 and 21. The project includes the demolition of buildings 301, 302, 303, 304 and 306, which will be replaced by the four-story structure. The tech company filed a $73M permit in October for a seven-story above-grade parking garage to be adjacent to Building 22, also known as MPK 22.

Read more from Bisnow

Major office park near new Facebook, Tesla outposts in hot area of Fremont sells for $73 million

A 323,000-square-foot business park in Fremont’s Ardenwood neighborhood is changing hands for $73.3 million.

This is just months after Tesla and Facebook announced plans to open satellite offices in the area, the Mercury News reports.

The four-building complex sits near the intersection of Kaiser Drive and Ardenwood Boulevard, just minutes from the east side of the Dumbarton Bridge. The buildings are currently being leased by Boehringer Ingelheim, a German pharmaceutical company.

Until recently, Ardenwood had largely been popular with relatively stodgy biotech and biomedical companies, flying under the radar while properties just a few miles away in Palo Alto and Mountain View commanded top dollar for space from software startups.

That could be changing.

In October, Tesla signed a lease for 229,000 square feet of office space in Ardenwood, enough room for some 1,500 employees. The buildings had previously been occupied by now-defunct biotechnology company Genitope.

Read more from San Francisco Business Times