By Jacob Bourne
Developer Lyon Living is in the midst of constructing a large mixed-use project on an 11-acre site in Milpitas. The Fields — formerly The District Milpitas — will add approximately 1,000 apartment units, 80,000 square feet of retail and a 200-room Virgin Hotel near the intersection of Great Mall Parkway and McCandless Drive. The project’s master plan and buildings two through four are designed by COE Architecture International; a firm that has previously worked on six major projects for Lyon Living. Lockehouse Retail Group, Inc. is a brokerage firm also involved in project. Architects Orange designed the first building.
“It’s a pretty amazing opportunity,” expressed Christopher Coe, president, COE Architecture. “It’s the rarest of opportunities to make a downtown for a city that’s been known as a suburb. The density was never there before as the area was originally agriculturally based. We’ll be putting the density in right by transit. It will serve as the main town center for Milpitas. With the existing underdevelopment and nondescript buildings, it has been like a blank canvas for city-making. We’ll be creating a town center by reinventing the area.”
The prior conditions on the development site consisted of underutilized office buildings and surface parking lots. The property is near both the VTA light rail line and future Milpitas BART Station potentially opening later this year. It’s also across the street from the Great Mall offering additional entertainment, dining and shopping opportunities to residents. A prominent outdoor plaza will lie in the heart of The Fields and connect a series of pedestrian-friendly streets, trails and paseos woven between buildings.
Completion on Phase I of the project, to deliver 371 residences and 52,000 square feet of retail and a grocery store is anticipated this May. Construction on the third and fourth buildings is planned for later this year followed by the Phase III hotel delivery. Some housing units will be available for occupancy this year and full build-out is estimated for fall 2019.
Coe stressed the contextual significance of The Fields as it will add density to a historically agrarian part of Silicon Valley. The naming of the project was inspired by Milpitas itself, which means “place of little cornfields” in Spanish. He commented that Santana Row in San Jose is somewhat comparable in terms of impact on the community, but noted that a major difference is that The Fields is driven by a substantial residential component while still offering an equal amount of retail. The street-level retail at The Fields is also geared to be a mix of destination and neighborhood serving.
“The project touches the nerve of a time honored tradition of building housing over retail,” said Coe. “Architecturally all the buildings are quite modern and evoke the spirit of Silicon Valley, whereas Santana Row is nostalgic.”
Prior to the groundbreaking in November 2015, many community meetings were held with current Milpitas residents and community stakeholders who reportedly voiced eagerness for the influx of retail and activity promised by The Fields. City Council had approved the project that same month and Coe remarked that up to 40 neighbors were in attendance, many giving their support.
“Perfectly positioned in the tech capital of the world, we’re pushing the boundaries of style and convenience in modern living, creating an environment uniquely suited to today’s residents and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs,” said Frank Suryan, Jr., CEO, Lyon Living in a recent press release.