By Meghan Hall
With large U.S.-based tech giants snapping up swaths of space across Silicon Valley, it can be easy to miss the international competitors eager to make their mark on the Bay Area Market. The world’s largest telecom company, China Mobile, recently submitted a proposal to redevelop 6320 and 6340 San Ignacio Ave. in south San José and build a five-story, 65,000 square foot office building and a 217,000 square foot data center on the property.
Currently, the 7.5-acre site is developed with two, two-story office buildings that total 160,000 square feet. The buildings were built in 1982 and would be demolished to make way for the new development. The project plans also include 194 parking spaces, far fewer than the 258 spaces required by the City of San José zoning. In its application, China Mobile states that it intends to institute a transportation demand management (TDM) program instead and account for roughly 25 percent reduction in required off-street parking. However, China Mobile did not disclose specifically what measures it plans to pursue as part of the program.
The data center’s south San José location has been a popular spot for companies looking to pay a better price for larger amounts of space in Silicon Valley’s congested commercial real estate market. San Ignacio Ave. is easily accessible by car, and is just a few minutes’ drive from U.S. Route 101, State Route 85 and Great Oaks Pkwy, a major thoroughfare. Redwood City, Calif.-based Equinix also has a data center nearby. Several other data centers—owned by companies such as Digital Realty, CoreSite and Telx—are also located in San José, but closer to the city’s downtown commercial core.
The site carries an industrial park general plan designation, and although China Mobile is in the earliest stages of the planning process, San José City Planner Cassandra van der Zweep said the proposed use fits within the property’s current zoning.
“This type of project would definitely fit within the zoning and general plan for the area,” said Van der Zweep.
The proposal, which was submitted at the beginning of October 2018, comes after China Mobile purchased the land in January from New York City-based DRA Advisors for $12.19 million according to Santa Clara County public records.
The proposal was also submitted after the Trump Administration and Federal Communications Commission moved to block the company from participating in the U.S. communications market in July 2018. The administration sited security concerns as the reason for the decision. China Mobile is a state-owned company with roughly 900 million subscribers.
The office portion of the development is expected to house 200 employees, and the project will be constructed in one phase, according to the project application.
Van der Zweep said it was too early to tell what kind of feedback the project would receive from the city, and comments from other city departments regarding the project had not yet been received. “There are no major planning concerns at this point,” she said. “A lot of the initial concerns are actually plan clarifications.”
Van der Zweep said some of the smaller clarifications include details such as how many trees would be removed from the site.
Because the project was submitted in October, the city does not have a fixed timeline for the completion of the approval process, although van der Zweep said that internal city reviews and the creation of an environmental impact report would need to be finished before the project could move forward. Once those steps are completed, the project would be scheduled for, and evaluated at, a director’s hearing. Van der Zweep estimates the approvals process will take between four to six months.
China Mobile did not return The Registry’s request for comment.