By Nancy Amdur
Federal Realty Investment Trust is working on plans for large projects in San Jose and Mountain View, which could add more office, residential and retail space to those markets.
The Rockville, Md.-based real estate investment trust recently filed plans with the City of San Jose that revised a former outline for 1,000 residential units at Santana West, located at Olin Avenue and Winchester Boulevard. The conceptual plans now call for 969,000 square feet of office space among six buildings, a 29,000-square-foot grocery and 2,545 parking spaces at the site, according to documents submitted to the city.[contextly_sidebar id=”XIXwn5eWuUKyNcL1GIJTgSgq7jmm5xyB”]However, while the conceptual plans indicate there will be mainly office space at the site, other commercial uses also could be permitted as part of the plan, such as a hotel and more retail space, said John Tu, a planner II for the City of San Jose.
The city previously approved 500,000 square feet of office space that is part of Federal Realty’s Santana Row project located across the street. Also, data mining company Splunk, Inc. recently leased a 234,000-square-foot office building the REIT is developing adjacent to that space at 3090 Olsen Drive.
Federal Realty’s West Coast President Jeff Berkes declined to comment on specific plans for San Jose, but said the company is “bullish” on the location. “The whole Valley Fair/Santana Row [area] is just a great location,” in part because of the highway infrastructure, he said. “We think there’s tremendous demand at this location for office and residential” along with retail and restaurant space, he added.
Zoning in the Santana West area is designated for commercial use, and to build residential, a company would have to create a so-called “signature project.” That would entail a more detailed approval process as those projects are tied to additional requirements, such as higher density and greater input from the community, Tu said, adding that Federal Realty did not indicate whether that was a factor in its decision to change its plan. A community meeting was held about the Santana West project this week and another will be scheduled in December, he added.
Federal Realty worked with Studios Architecture on this redesing.
Federal Realty also recently submitted a master plan for its approximately 31-acre San Antonio Center project in Mountain View. The master plan is a “road map” for the project and was required by the city as a first step in the planning process, said Rebecca Shapiro, a senior planner for the City of Mountain View.
“The focus of the initial submittal is building placement, block formations and open space and circulation patterns,” she said. “There’s not much information on land use.”
While the plan does not yet detail exactly what type of properties would occupy the site, zoning in the city’s 123-acre San Antonio Precise Plan, which includes the area Federal Realty controls, allows for mixed-use development.
Residential development is “permitted and encouraged” in the area, though the precise plan also envisions maintaining retail at the site, Shapiro said.
Federal Realty’s property, which occupies the majority of the east side of San Antonio Center and is bounded by California Street, Showers Drive and El Camino Real, now includes commercial users such as Walmart, Trader Joe’s and 24-Hour Fitness. The master plan submitted indicates about 10 blocks of development and includes some centralized open space areas, Shapiro said.
Per city plans, it is “important to preserve and enhance the retail character of the area,” she said. “We don’t want to see a reduction in the retail presence that exists today.”
Office space also could be added to the site, but there is just about 200,000 square feet of space left from the overall 600,000 square feet of office development allotted for the area in the San Antonio Precise Plan, Shapiro said. The city previously authorized 400,000 square feet of office space to a neighboring mixed-use project by Merlone Geier Partners.
A precise plan amendment would be required if an office proposal exceeded the square footage allowed under the plan. Study sessions regarding Federal Realty’s plans are expected to be held next year, Shapiro said.
Berkes, whose office is based in San Jose, also would not comment on details for the San Antonio Center plan, but said, in general, Federal Realty is “a huge believer in mixed-use” projects, partly because the company notes that “people want to be less car dependent.”
“They don’t want to have to get in the car every time they need to do something, and they want to have options, particularly when it comes to [employees] going out to lunch or going out after work. It’s hugely important.”
“That’s what employees are demanding today, and the people who run businesses have realized that,” he continued.
Also, residents in mixed-use areas choose the location in part “because it’s a vibrant, safe, clean environment where they have a lot of [amenities] right at their doorstep.”
“We think [mixed-use projects] are really good for the communities—like San Jose—that have embraced it and allowed us to see through our vision here,” Berkes said.