San Jose Kicks Off Efforts to Raise its Web Economic Development Profile

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By David Goll

As befitting the self-styled moniker “Capital of Silicon Valley,” the Bay Area’s largest city is showcasing its economic development potential in cutting-edge digital fashion.

[contextly_sidebar id=”UTUgmhCMtavQ5svfY61h8bz8OIzlpoYD”]San Jose officials launched the Web site, sjeconomy.com, in May to also tout their city as the “Capital of Opportunity.” (Disclosure: San Jose is an advertiser with The Registry)

The new site features sections on the city’s people, places, businesses and how the economic development department can help start up new companies, help existing ones expand or attract them to relocate to the world’s high-technology center.

It includes a section geared to brokers and developers that contains extensive listings and descriptions of vacant land that can be developed, as well as existing commercial properties for sale and lease throughout the city.

Unlike cities in more-congested northern Santa Clara County, San Jose still offers empty land for new construction, especially in the city’s northern and southern sectors near existing business corridors along North First Street and in the Edenvale district of South San Jose, said Kim Walesh, the city’s director of economic development and chief strategist.

San Jose eclipsed the 1 million mark in population last year, making it the third-largest city in California, behind Los Angeles and San Diego, and 10th largest in the nation.

“The response has been pretty incredible,” Walesh said, adding that the site is the culmination of a two-year campaign to give San Jose higher online economic development visibility.

“We started getting positive responses, especially from brokers and business people. We also realized there was a need to modernize our Web presence to let the world know about business opportunities here,” she said.

Walesh said her department collects data from many sources, including brokerage firms, and provides statistics valuable to companies considering relocation.

“I recently got a call from an out-of-state retail operator seeking space in San Jose in the lead-up to the Super Bowl,” Walesh said. Super Bowl 50 is scheduled for Feb. 7, 2016, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. “They were looking for a 2,000-square-foot space. I anticipate we’ll see a lot of similar activity over the next six months. The Web site provides a great way for us to get our story out to the world.”

The Web site provides an excellent tool for city officials and brokers and developers alike, according to Steve Fisher, principal of Valley Oak Partners LLC, a San Jose-based development and investment firm.

“It’s a great way to bring sites to people’s attention, especially in a hot real estate market like Silicon Valley,” he said. “The city is doing a good job in marketing its downtown core and North San Jose. The timing of this Web site is excellent. It helps project San Jose as a modernized, tech-savvy city that our clients want to see.”

Chris Shaffer, senior managing director in the Santa Clara office of commercial real estate firm Newmark Cornish & Carey, said the site is very useful for brokers. Shaffer specializes in the sale and lease of research-and-development space along the Interstate 880 corridor, including North San Jose.

“I have seen other cities do something similar, but not to this extent,” Shaffer said. “It’s so helpful for brokers to provide a company CFO with credible information provided not directly from me, but from the city.”

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News