By Vladimir Bosanac

2017 was a year that saw a slew of real estate activity in San Jose, the self-proclaimed capital of Silicon Valley. After Trammell Crow and the city announced that they were actively engaged with Google on building a campus for the venerable tech giant, the market went into somewhat of an overdrive. Commercial office properties were snapped up, companies started to lease space, multifamily and hospitality developments started to sell.

Last week, Cupertino-based KT Urban, an experienced Silicon Valley developer submitted plans for the redevelopment of a two-lot property on the southern boundary of the city’s downtown core at the corner of 1st and Reed Streets for a 27-story, 285-unit residential project that would total just over 500,000 square feet of living space and another 100,000 square feet of parking, suited for 210 vehicles. The plans also call for around 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. KT Urban is working with Portland, OR-based architecture firm C2K Architecture on this development.

This news comes just months after KT Urban proposed another C2K apartment development called The Aviato, an 18-story, 302-unit development that would also include around 10,000 square feet of retail. This project is planned for 199 Bassett Street in San Jose, just east of the Guadalupe Freeway—Highway 87 and west of Coleman Avenue.

Sares Regis, The Pierce, Garden City Construction, Garden Gate Tower, The Aviato, C2K Architecture, KT Urban, Trammell Crow, Google, Silicon Valley, San Jose
Renderings courtesy of C2K Architecture

The newest development is called Garden Gate Tower, and it is located at 600 S. 1st Street in San Jose. The two lots are owned by James and Suzanne Salata, principals of San Jose-based Garden City Construction. The sale of the two lots has not been finalized, yet, but according to James Salata, the KT Urban team has gone non-refundable on the lots, and it is in the process of applying for entitlements and will drive the development initiative. Salata referred questions about the Garden Gate Tower to the KT Urban team, adding that they the two firms have had a close working relationship.

The two lots that Salata will be selling total just under 20,000 square feet. One of the lots is a parking lot, and the second one is the headquarters of the Garden City Construction company. The lots sit across the street from The Pierce apartment building complex, a Sares Regis development that is a seven-story, 232-unit apartment community completed in 2016.

The developers describe their project as a unique site, sitting on the boundary between the bustle and the calm—downtown and single family neighborhood. “It is at the southern terminus of Market Street, with Plaza De Cesar Chavez to the north. It is at the convergence of First and Market and is adjacent to I-280,” states the proposal. “A place where waves of people, transportation, information, commerce and history converge.”

KT Urban’s Partner Shawn Milligan said that given the early stage of the development, an equity partner has not been identified at this time. “We’re focused on getting the site entitled and it’s too early for a capital partner to be identified. Downtown’s proximate location to transit (Caltrain, BART, Light Rail and future high-speed rail) give it a regional advantage that is just starting to be recognized by major employers, including Google and Adobe,” he said. “Highway corridors also provide convenient access to major employment centers in North San Jose and Santa Clara, where there are very few housing options. Downtown continues to evolve as a social and entertainment center and each new project adds value to the market.”

The city of San Jose Public Information Manager Genevieve Singh said that the project will continue to enhance the redevelopment of South Market Street in San Jose while closely maintaining the character of the neighborhood. “[This development] is working closely with the Historic Landmark Commission on the preservation of historic buildings, which have been incorporated into the design,” she said. “The project will also undergo an urban design review by the City to ensure that the architecture and design features are meeting the City’s urban design guidelines.”

Sares Regis, The Pierce, Garden City Construction, Garden Gate Tower, The Aviato, C2K Architecture, KT Urban, Trammell Crow, Google, Silicon Valley, San Jose
Renderings courtesy of C2K Architecture
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