By Meghan Hall
Westbank and Urban Community are continuing to move forward with a number of plans for development in downtown San Jose. In the companies’ latest pitch to City officials, the joint venture has submitted plans for a 14-story office project. The office tower would rise at a key gateway site to downtown, and the project team plans to incorporate the existing Charles Davidson Building into the development.
Slated to rise at 255 W. Julian Street, the project would encompass nearly two city blocks on a 1.78-acre site. An existing 56,400 square foot office building would be demolished to make way for the project.
The new office building will total 512,031 square feet, according to public documents. Floor plates on the second through sixth floors of the building would total about 40,000 square feet. Floor plates on the seventh through 14th floors would decrease as the building increases in height. Those floor plates will range from about 39,000 square feet to about 10,000 square feet. Four levels of underground parking and 350 parking spaces are also planned.
Westbank and Urban Community plan to connect the structure and Charles Davidson Building—originally constructed in 1984— through a number of active ground uses and renovations to the Charles Davidson. Westbank and Urban Community plan to update the existing building by incorporating a food hall on the building’s first floor, which will act as a service not just to building tenants but to San Jose residents. Exterior renovations, including a new rooftop terrace enclosed in glazing and a new elevator tower are also part of the plans to modernize the structure.
Four retail spaces fronting Terraine Street are planned, as well as a new paseo that will connect the south of the new office building with the north of the Charles Davidson Building. The paseo will provide access to the lobbies of both structures at the ground level, while a connecting bridge on the sixth floor will work to tie the two towers together on a different plane. Several plazas connecting to an outdoor lobby are also planned. A grove plaza near the corner of Terraine and Devine, as well as an arboretum plaza located at Terraine and West Julian, will anchor the buildings. A pop-up plaza to the north is also in the works.
Westbank and Urban Community announced their partnership to develop a number of key sites in downtown San Jose in February of this year. Over the last several weeks, the two firms have submitted plans not just for 255 W. Julian, but also plans detailing a new 29-story residential high-rise in San Jose’s South First Area neighborhood as well as renovations to the historic Bank of Italy. According to a statement made at the time by the companies, the goal is to catalyze “positive transformation for an entire area through long-term investments.”
The same holds true for Westbank and Urban Community’s West Julian project. The pitched office tower is the latest in several proposed projects for the site. In 2018, The Registry reported that Terrascape partners Tony Arreola and Mark Lazzarini filed a development permit to construct two 19-story residential towers on the site. The development was originally called Davidson Plaza Towers. Terrascape’s proposal included demolishing the Charles Davison Building, replacing the asset with more than 650 residential units. Terrascape later changed its tune to office in 2019 for the site.
It is unclear what timeline Urban Community and Westbank have in mind for the 255 W. Julian development site. City records currently state that the project is under review.
As of this writing, Urban Community has not yet returned The Registry’s request for comment.