Greystar Proposal to Redevelop 16.58-Acre Site in Santa Clara Sits as City Council Weighs Options

Greystar, Studio T Square Architecture, RMW Architecture, BKF Engineers, Pedro’s Restaurant Cantina, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara, Kylli
Image Courtesy of City of Santa Clara Planning Department

By Meghan Hall

More than two years ago, in February of 2017, national residential developer Greystar, along with Studio T Square Architecture, RMW Architecture and Interiors and BKF Engineers submitted plans to develop a 16.58-acre site bounded by Freedom Circle, Mission College Blvd., Highway 101 and San Tomas Aquino Creek into a huge mixed-use development that would include more than 600,000 square feet of office and 900,000 square feet of open space. However, the project has seen little movement, and the development team must wait for the City Council to approve the Freedom Circle Specific Plan Request for Proposals before it can proceed in the planning process.

Currently, the project site is developed with the 17,000 square foot Pedro’s Restaurant Cantina, a surface parking lot and 13.5 acres of vacant land. The restaurant would be demolished and incorporated into the new project.

The multi-phased development is expected to include two office buildings totaling 606,968 square feet of space, and four residential buildings. The four buildings would contain 1,018 units. Two of the residential towers would be connected by a rooftop amenity deck complete with a pool. A second pool and community clubhouse will be centered between the second two residential buildings. 18,653 square feet of commercial space and 2.5-acres of publicly accessible open space, including bicycle and pedestrian connections to the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail are also designated in the plans. The project will also include around 1,580 parking stalls.

With its central location in the heart of Silicon Valley, the Freedom Circle area in northern Santa Clara has received significant development interest, so much that City Officials are working to evaluate the best use for the area. The original, long-term vision for the 136-acre area was for it to remain a commercial center that combined office and industrial uses. The City of Santa Clara held its first study session on the objectives for the Freedom Circle plan, and early documents detailing the plan indicate that the Specific Plan would intensify office and commercial uses along Great America Parkway, and introduce new residential uses — up to 6 million square feet — to the neighborhood through updated zoning designations. 25 percent of total developable land also must be designated as public parkland and open amenities.

Currently, the City is working to create an administrative draft plan, after which an Environmental Impact Report will be prepared. According to the City of Santa Clara’s website, the public — and more final — draft of the plan will be completed between Winter of 2019 and 2020, with a City Council hearing scheduled to take place in the Spring of 2020.

Greystar is not the only developer who has project submitted plans for property within  the Freedom Circle area. Another major development which has spurred the City to pursue the creation of a Specific Plan includes one proposed by Chinese developer Kylli. Kylli’s proposal is further ahead in the planning process, with the most recent community meeting regarding the development taking place at the end of May. According to City documents, Kylli has proposed to construct 3.65 million square feet of office, 400,000 square feet of retail, a 300-key hotel and 6,000 residential units on 48.6 acres along Democracy Way. Kylli formally submitted its revised plans for a General Plan amendment allowing for residential development in April of this year, although it is unclear when the General Plan Amendment review process will be complete.

As of this writing, Greystar had not yet returned The Registry’s request for comment.

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