Santa Clara Developer Takes Stock after Irvine Co. Backs Away from University-area Project

Santa Clara University, mixed-use, Santa Clara, Bay Area, Irvine Co, Mission Town Center, Silicon Valley

Santa Clara University, mixed-use, Santa Clara, Bay Area, Irvine Co, Mission Town Center, Silicon ValleyBy David Goll

The owner of six acres of land in the center of Santa Clara is hoping to get word by about June 1 on whether a new developer is willing to build a mixed-use project on the site, after an earlier plan to develop an apartment complex with Southern California’s Irvine Company fell through last month.

Chad Viso, whose family owns the property and El Camino Self Storage, said the developer, which he declined to identify, is doing its “due diligence” on whether it wants to pursue a residential and commercial development between El Camino Real, Benton Street and The Alameda — across the street from both the Santa Clara Caltrain station and Santa Clara University.

[contextly_sidebar id=”yBBpLLYDuGsnp7mcLEzyURfSb7d3fzYB”]Earlier plans by the property owner and another developer, Newport Beach-based Irvine Company, to build a 318-unit apartment complex, 22,000 square feet of commercial space and a five-story parking garage known as Mission Town Center was approved by city officials. But that agreement fell through in March when Viso’s family and Irvine officials couldn’t agree on all the terms.

“At this time, we are no longer involved in the project,” said Bill Lobdell, Irvine’s vice president of communications.

Those terms included the amount of income his family would receive from the Irvine development versus that brought in by their self-storage business. When that part of the earlier agreement changed, the pact faltered, Viso said.

“We were no longer interested,” he said. “The self-storage business is a very lucrative one. The Irvine people are very honorable. It’s just too bad things didn’t work out.”

His family runs other self-storage facilities with 1,500 and 1,800 units, respectively. One has an occupancy rate of 95 percent, Viso said.

He added that if a new mixed-use project does not materialize, the property will be used for a self-storage facility, as well.

He said after the Irvine deal fell through, about a half dozen developers expressed interest in reviving the Mission Town Center project in some form. He said he wasn’t sure if a new project would have to go through the city’s planning process, but expects it likely would.

City officials did not respond to messages seeking comment on the issue.

If the project idea is revived, Viso said he envisions it as having the same elements, including apartments and ground-floor retail space. But, since it would be a new developer, the configuration could be substantially different, he said.

“We are hopeful a project can still go forward,” Viso said.

One of the reasons for that, he said, was that his father, James Viso, made the motion as a member of the Santa Clara City Council to raze the (nearby) old downtown district of Santa Clara in 1960 in hopes that urban renewal would later revive it in an updated form. But 56 years later, that has yet to happen.

“My dad would love to see downtown come back to life,” Viso said.

He said building a residential and retail development could be a catalyst in creating a rebuilt and rejuvenated central business district for Mission City, with a population of about 125,000.

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News