Google is gearing up to buy prime San Jose land for a new tech campus. What now?

As the city of San Jose gets ready to release long-anticipated documents related to the sale of 20 acres of land near downtown, the question on the minds of both boosters of the Google expansion and skeptics is “what now?”

The city of San Jose is on the verge of releasing details of a controversial 17-month negotiation to sell 20 acres of publicly owned land to tech giant Google for a massive new campus near downtown.

Those details, set to be released Friday, are a key milestone, but only the first step of making the Bay Area’s largest city one of the next expansion points for Alphabete Inc.-owned Google, a plan that has been met by community members with both excitement, deep disdain, and as of this week, a lawsuit over transparency.

Now, as the release date of the long-anticipated land sale documents near, the question on the minds of both boosters of the Google expansion and skeptics is “what now?”

First, the end goal: Google has said it wants to build a mixed-use campus that could span as large as 8 million square feet and would include housing, retail, and office space next to transit. Somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 workers could show up each day at the campus if built out fully.

 

 

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Downtown San Jose developer drops hotel, apartments from massive Museum Place project

The developer behind Museum Place, a 1.4 million-square-foot downtown San Jose mixed-use development and Tech Museum expansion, is simplifying the project, shedding the previously planned hotel and residential units in the project.

Plans submitted this week to the city of San Jose show that investor and developer Gary Dillabough, who took over the project from Insight Realty earlier this year, is looking to reconfigure the previously approved tower by increasing the office space from 250,000 square feet to 850,000 square feet on the 2.3-acre site at 180 Park Ave., where Parkside Hall currently sits.

“The reality of the situation is that when you are trying to build a hotel, residential space and office, you can’t do all three in a world-class fashion, and our belief is that we want to build a world-class office tower,” Dillabough told the Business Journal in an interview Thursday morning.

That means the previously planned 184-room Kimpton Hotel and the 306 residential units that San Jose-based Insight Realty had gotten approved by the city last year would be no more. The project is now estimated to rise to about 19 stories — down from the currently approved 24 stories — and would still include parking and between 15,000 square feet and 20,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level.

Dillabough, who has become a major property owner in Downtown San Jose over the last year-and-a-half after setting off on a buying spree in the area, says he is still interested in hotel and residential projects in the city, just not at Museum Place.

“We still think the city needs housing and hotel uses, but we think they would be better in standalone buildings,” he said.

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Is Silicon Valley going to change the way we build CRE?

From the end of World War II in the mid-1940s until just a few years ago, there was a surge in productivity throughout the United States economy, giving rise to what has often been called the “productivity miracle.”

Throughout this period, nearly every industry in the US — from retail to manufacturing to agriculture — became not only less expensive, but also much more mechanized and faster, leading to increased efficiency.

One industry, however, failed to come on board with this trend – construction. In fact, productivity in construction has not only not increased, but it is also actually lower today than it was in the late 1960’s.

In other words, the way that most commercial real estate buildings are built hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years or so. The process goes by the name “design – bid – build” – but it isn’t nearly as simple or straightforward as it sounds. First, the developer or owner needs to hire an architect, who drafts a rough design. In order to do this, he or she must bring in various outside consultants, such as structural engineers and landscape architects. Next, the owner puts the design out for bids from various general contractors and then hires one (usually the least expensive bid). From there, the general contractor subcontracts the work out, with the architect and the general contractor working together closely to make sure the project is completed as close as possible to budget and on schedule.

If the system sounds complicated, well, that’s because it is. Having so many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, often leads to misunderstandings, placing blame on others, or worse. The combination of volatile prices for materials and an observed shortage of skilled labor has created an industry that is primed for disruption.

 

 

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Bay Area tops U.S. in new office space, but lags in housing starts

 The Bay Area is a hot place to build cubicles, conference rooms, and office suites. But don’t look for as many hammers pounding out new homes, condos, and apartments.

The region is expected to open 18.2 million square feet of office space in 2018 — tops in the nation and more than New York City and Dallas combined — while home, condo and apartment building has grown only modestly.

More work space, more jobs and more people chasing a limited supply of homes is expected to add more steam to the pressure cooker of the Bay Area housing market.

“It’s encouraging that so many respected employers are investing in Bay Area jobs and immigration growth” said Carl Guardino, CEO of the business-backed Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “But we all recognize that jobs need a place to go home and sleep at night.”

The region created six times as many jobs as housing units between 2010 and 2015, according to a study by the leadership group and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The increased housing pressure has forced lower-income workers out of the region at much faster rates than higher paid workers, even as jobs go unfilled.

The run up in commercial development is led by major office openings in the South Bay, according to a survey from real estate data company Yardi Matrix. The big projects in 2018 include the official, complete opening of the 2.9 million square foot Apple Park in Cupertino, Park Tower at Transbay and The Exchange on 16th in San Francisco totaling 1.5 million square feet, and Facebook’s MPK 21, a half-million-square-foot campus designed by Frank Gehry in Menlo Park.

Other major developments underway include the Voyager property developed by Nvidia in Santa Clara, Microsoft and Google projects in Mountain View, the Stoneridge Mall Road project in Pleasanton, and Moffett Towers in Sunnyvale, according to Yardi Matrix.

The real estate data firm estimates that commercial openings in Santa Clara County are up 6.5 percent over the same period last year. The San Francisco and Oakland metro has seen three times as much commercial space open up this year compared to last year.

 

 

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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.

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Why Hudson Pacific’s development plans near San Jose airport could be a big deal

The nine-story development would add to the developer’s already extensive portfolio in North San Jose, an area of the city that’s experiencing a flurry of commercial real estate activity.

Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. is looking to expand on a slew of existing office campuses it owns near Mineta San Jose International Airport by building a nine-story office building paired with a big parking garage.

The Los Angeles-based developer submitted a proposal to the city of San Jose last month that lays out a plan to build a new 350,000-square-foot office building and a 1,052-spot, five-story parking garage on 5.29 acres along Technology Drive that are vacant. A single-story office building appears to be attached to the proposed garage in a rough rendering that was submitted to city planners in September.

Hudson Pacific is calling the project “Cloud 10.” The site at 1601 Technology Drive is already entitled for either a 350,000-square-foot office or a 400-room hotel, per a city-approved general development plan for the land. It appears Hudson Pacific has opted to go with office space over the hotel.

 

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Milpitas’ Great Mall unveils major revamp as Silicon Valley shopping centers up the ante

As retail sputters in some places around the country, Silicon Valley retailers and property owners are facing a different challenge: How to compete in a market where investment is still hot in the retail sector.

The Great Mall in Milpitas is one of those looking for a competitive edge in a region where the traditional malls are either going by the wayside or upping the ante to create a space that offers not just shops, but experiences.

Indianapolis-based Simon, an international shopping center and mixed-use property owner, last month wrapped up an extensive, two-year renovation project for the massive shopping center, which has more than 200 stores. (For fun facts about the revamp, click through the slideshow above.)

The revamp added or expanded some of its stores, but also redesigned what it is calling a “dining pavilion” that has 10 restaurants.

“Our goal is to provide the best shopping and entertainment experience for our guests and this transformative renovation makes that possible,” Angela Pyszczynski, general manager at the Great Mall, said in a statement.

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Cupertino approves massive development agreement for Vallco Mall

The city of Cupertino approved a specific plan and development agreement Wednesday night that could aid in bringing nearly 3,000 residential units and millions of square feet in commercial space to replace its dying Vallco Shopping Mall.

In a 3-2 vote, the council reluctantly approved the densest development ever proposed for the 58-acre site that sits about a mile from Apple Inc.’s new headquarters.

Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul and City Councilmember Steven Scharf, who both favored a less dense redevelopment option, voted against the plan.

The vote marks the first move by city council members to willingly pave the way for a dense project on the site after years of community disagreement over what should replace the nearly empty, 1.2 million-square-foot mall has kept redevelopment in limbo.

That stalemate ended early this year when Vallco property owner, Sand Hill Property Co. invoked SB-35, a new and highly controversial state law aimed at speeding up residential development in housing starved California. That proposal set a tight deadline for the city to either approve Sand Hill’s redevelopment plans or come up with something better that the Palo Alto-based developer would consider building instead.

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Business fees to fund housing will be studied in San Jose

The concern, even for some council members who voted for the study, is that despite its housing shortage, San Jose still has many more residents than jobs, which is the opposite of the situation in many surrounding cities.

The imposition of commercial linkage fees to fund below market-rate housing is still alive in San Jose after Tuesday’s 9-2 City Council vote to add a discussion of them to next week’s agenda.

The vote came on an item of how the city should respond to a Santa Clara civil jury report issued in June that included among its findings that the fees are overdue and would increase housing.

Five council members, including Mayor Sam Liccardo, wrote memos changing the staff-authored response of disagreement with the finding to say the city would consider a study to confirm the causal relationship between job creation and an increased need for housing and a second study of the feasibility of enacting fees.

 

 

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Facebook is bingeing on Bay Area real estate

As Wall Street frets over a slowdown, the social media giant’s expanding property empire suggests Mark Zuckerberg has few doubts about the future.

Since Facebook Inc. arrived in Menlo Park, California, seven years ago, the town has been overrun by construction cranes, orange safety cones and truckloads of building materials to transform a former industrial area into a sprawling campus that can support a $500 billion tech giant.

So big are the ambitions that the company plans to redevelop whole swaths of the land it holds in the Silicon Valley city, potentially doubling its workforce there over the next decade to 35,000 people—more than Menlo Park’s current population.

Even that won’t be enough for its expansion plans.

“We continue to grow,” John Tenanes, the company’s head of facilities, said in a conference room overlooking a salt marsh in Facebook’s newest Menlo Park office, a Frank Gehry-designed building called MPK 21 that opened last week. “We’re at a point where we needed more space, and this area couldn’t keep up.”

For all the turmoil surrounding Facebook and investor concerns about a slowdown, the company’s gone on a real estate binge that suggests that its optimism about its future knows no limits. Menlo Park is just the start. In the past year alone, the company has signed agreements that could vastly expand its footprint in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s been one of the most active leasers in the region’s already hot office market, spurring brokers and analysts to do math on just how it will fill so much space.

 

 

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