By Nancy Amdur
A mixed-use high-rise proposed for San Jose’s Santana Row/Valley Fair area would stir new housing into the district, which also is brimming with new retail and office projects.
The 25-story building, dubbed Volar, would sit on 0.9 acres at 350 S. Winchester Blvd. Plans call for 330 residential units and 50,000 square feet of commercial space slated for office and retail use. Sharon and David Seto, longtime commercial property owners in San Francisco, are principals in the ownership group working on the Silicon Valley project under the name Winchester Plaza on the Row, LLC.[contextly_sidebar id=”eKSdSm331wP7RUY4lsmYzESv1Uwl5puk”]Santa Clara-based Salvatore Caruso Design Corp. designed the project, which is expected to stand out in the neighborhood not only due to its towering height but also its unique look inspired by the falcon.
“It’s something that is very open. It captures natural light from all angles. It really shows an openness and a transparency to the community around it,” said Salvatore Caruso, the project’s architect.
Additionally, the design responds to “the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley,” he said. “Silicon Valley represents accuracy, speed and precision. That’s how the [technology] industry has evolved.”
Commercial space would be spread among the first and second floors. A top-floor restaurant offering 360-degree views of the city and featuring approximately 22-foot-high glass-domed ceilings also is part of the plan. Other amenities would include open space on the third floor for residents and a rooftop garden. A four-level below-ground parking area would carry about 500 spaces and feature a high-tech automated valet system, where upon entering a code, your car would be retrieved within 60 seconds. The system allows a higher density of parking, Caruso said. A LEED Platinum or Gold certification is being targeted for the project.
Residential development is not yet part of the city’s Urban Village land use plan for that neighborhood. Therefore, Volar would be categorized as a “signature project,” and carry approval requirements such as ensuring it conforms to land use and transportation plans for that district; including public open space or plazas; and demonstrating high-quality architectural, landscape and site design features, according to the city’s planning department.
Volar’s ownership group purchased the site a few years ago and decided to move forward with the project now in part due to the area’s strong market, Caruso said. Plans were submitted last month and the owners are looking “to move forward as soon as the [approval] process is complete,” he said.
Federal Realty Investment Trust also is active in that section of San Jose. The Rockville, Md.-based real estate investment trust, owner and developer of the mixed-use Santana Row development, this fall proposed an approximately 1-million-square-foot office-and-retail project down the street from the Volar site. Additionally, Federal Realty is developing 500,000 square feet of office space at Santana Row, and data-mining company Splunk in August leased a 234,000-square-foot office building the REIT is building adjacent to that site at 500 Santana Row. Further, Los Angeles-based mall operator Westfield Corp. is expanding San Jose’s nearby Westfield Valley Fair mall to include a Bloomingdale’s and a multiscreen movie theater.
Image courtesy of Salvatore Caruso Design Corp.