By Jacob Bourne
On November 9, a Planning Director’s Hearing was held approving an 18-story, 1.5 million square foot high-rise to provide 700,000 square feet of office and retail space at 333 West Fernando Street in San Jose; the remaining 800,000 square feet will be used for parking, loading docks and mechanical areas. Property co-owners and developers Wolff Urban and J.P DiNapoli Companies Inc. are working with Steinberg Architects on the office tower. The hearing marked the first meeting held for the project as the City had not received any inquiries from members of the public.[contextly_sidebar id=”arVtwN4LOlwSdeqO5MVP6CZITRs6511E”]“The project is the first recent proposal for a primarily office high-rise in downtown that does not include any residential component,” commented Rebecca Bustos, Planning project manager. “The project includes 12 floors of office space, as well as ground-floor retail spaces. It is in close proximity to various transit options, including Diridon Station and the Guadalupe River Trail, providing a new, highly accessible jobs center in downtown.”
The approval allows for the demolition of a 30,000 square foot building currently existing on the site. The timing to move forward with building permits and construction is dependent on choosing one or more potential tenants and whether they will need interior modifications made to the space, said Asheshh Saheba, managing partner at Steinberg Architects. If groundbreaking occurs early in 2017, he expects the project to be completed by 2019 at the earliest.
“San Jose is having increased activity from the tech industry,” offered Saheba. “The project is located across from Adobe and will feature large floor plates, which often attracts tech companies.”
The floor plates will average 52,000 square feet and be accessible by two elevator systems. The building is designed with employee comfort as a top priority and features several terraces on multiple floors to allow easy access points to open space. The terraces provide views of local mountain ranges, landscaping and a design that maximizes shade to keep temperatures cool in the summertime while still maintaining natural light exposure.
There will be five levels of above-grade parking and ground floor retail geared to serve the surrounding community as well as draw commuters from nearby transit routes. The sidewalk adjacent to retail will be expanded to create an indoor-outdoor connection for patrons and employees. A market is expected to occupy some of the retail space and a restaurant is planned for one of the tower’s upper floors.
The building’s facade is geared to minimize heat absorption to reduce energy costs and allow for windows to remain unshaded, drawing in natural light to work areas. Flow-through planters will be utilized for storm water management at the project’s base.
“The proposed project is consistent with the overall vision for San Jose’s downtown,” explained Bustos. “It provides dense redevelopment of what is currently an underutilized site and its design speaks to the urban, pedestrian-oriented nature of this area. Pedestrian-scale elements are provided at the ground floor level and outdoor amenity terraces are provided on upper floors to break up the mass of the building. The 18-story structure will create another distinctive silhouette for the Downtown skyline.”