A Good Place in Silicon Valley

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Like One Workplace, not every company can, or wants to, afford that approach. Yet the value of place is still being expressed. Throughout Silicon Valley, investors including DivcoWest, TMG Partners, Bixby Land Co. and Lane Partners also are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to reposition aging research and development space from Sunnyvale to Santa Clara and North San Jose because they believe tenants want it. Entire neighborhoods including North San Jose’s Orchard Parkway—1.8 miles from the One Workplace building to the north—are being transformed.

[contextly_sidebar id=”e9f17193b630d44f7d1cc5e2bbde4874″]On the airport’s south side, the Coleman Landing retail center on San Jose’s Coleman Avenue (an extension of De la Cruz Boulevard) is built and flourishing. San Jose City Council has approved a soccer stadium, a jet terminal and the Coleman Highline offices. All three developments are in various stages of city planning and would activate empty parcels.

Even when they don’t own the buildings, companies are paying attention to the sense of place, contractors and architects said. “People are expanding again. People are looking for unique solutions to make their space stand out, so clients recognize their creativity. It is part of their branding,” said Robert Kilian, vice president of Gardena-based Arktura LLC.

An outgrowth of the Southern California aerospace industry, Arktura is a design and manufacturing company created and run by architects that creates furniture, ceiling systems, wall panels and façade panels. The systems are standardized but customizable.

At 2500 de la Cruz, Arktura created mountable, 5-foot by 5-foot steel panels, which, when joined together, create a 1,000-square-foot image of a tree using identical circle cutouts in more and less density. The screen is mounted near the building’s entrance, sending dappled light inside and softening the building’s working-class front.

“It is important that the workplace engenders the feeling of belonging to something for employees,” Hanley said.

“Companies want everyone in the organization to have a feeling of belonging, and they are taking care that they have cool office space,” Melissa Wallin, Blitz principal and chief executive, adds. “It is all about the retention of talent.”

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Photography courtesy of One Workplace copyright Bruce Damonte

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