By Nancy Amdur
SiliconSage Builders LLC is working on four projects in Santa Clara that will add a total of 145 for-sale condominiums to the growing Silicon Valley city.
The projects will help fill a need in the area for more ownership housing.[contextly_sidebar id=”EN18tUOY4lBajteeZ8dWmzeqraoS1qq4″]“Housing demand is spread across the South Bay area,” said Kevin Riley, Santa Clara’s director of planning and inspection, but many new and proposed projects in the city are rental housing. “We just have a few projects that are ownership, including [those by] SiliconSage.”
“There is big demand in Santa Clara,” said Sanjeev Acharya, CEO of SiliconSage, adding that one group of potential buyers are those looking to enter the real estate market. “It’s [providing] first-time homebuyers with choices.”
Riley also noted that SiliconSage will contribute to the city’s housing program by making 10 percent of the units at three of its projects affordable.
Among the company’s upcoming projects will be its Downtown Gateway mixed-use development at 1313 Franklin St., set to be the first new project of this type in Santa Clara’s downtown in about 20 years, Riley said.
Downtown Gateway will include 44 condos on three floors above 14,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. The project aims for LEED Gold certification and will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units along with amenities such as community and fitness rooms. Construction is slated to begin this summer with completion expected in October 2016.
SiliconSage likes the location as it is near downtown dining and shops, said Erik Schoennauer, a San Jose-based senior land use adviser to the company. The property also is along the bus line.
“It’s a dynamite infill location,” Schoennauer said, adding that the company and city officials “hope it will be a catalyst for further investment and further revitalization of the downtown area.”
“There has been a city plan to revitalize downtown, and we wanted to be the first one to get in there and do something about it,” Acharya said. After many discussions with neighbors, “We’re building something everybody feels good about, and hopefully we set a benchmark for other buildings that come up in the area.”
Indeed, more downtown projects may be coming soon. The City of Santa Clara is planning to soon send out a request for proposals to develop a 7-acre “superblock” area not far from SiliconSage’s Downtown Gateway project, Riley said. The superblock—between Lafayette and Benton streets and Homestead Road—is what remains of the city’s historic downtown, which was demolished for redevelopment in the 1960s and never came back to its potential.
Also downtown, Newport Beach, Calif.-based The Irvine Co. has proposed a mixed-use project with 417 apartments and 26,000 square feet of retail at 575 Benton St.
Additionally, SiliconSage has begun construction on the Alexis, a 60-unit condo project on 1.38 acres at 2585 El Camino Real. The project will include 13 one-bedroom, 35 two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom units along with 126 parking spaces. Amenities will include a landscaped interior courtyard with a barbecue area along with yoga and gymnasium rooms. SiliconSage plans to begin selling units this summer with completion expected in March 2016.
“It’s conveniently located near the intersection of El Camino and Kiely [Boulevard], where there is significant neighborhood retail,” Schoennauer said. The property is adjacent to Saratoga Creek, and SiliconSage will build a pedestrian trail on the portion that runs across its property. The city is discussing adding a pedestrian trail along the length of the creek, Riley said.
Other SiliconSage projects include the four-story mixed-use Madison Place at 1460 Monroe St. It will include 28 one-, two- and three-bedroom condos fronting El Camino Real above 6,500 square feet of commercial space. It will also include 96 parking spaces. Construction has started with completion expected in June 2016.
Also, 13 condos at 555 Saratoga Ave. are under way and should be complete in March 2016. That project will feature Mission-style architecture and include one-, two- and three-bedroom units with a 26-space parking garage.
“All sectors of the economy are strong at this point, so it makes the climate favorable for building high-density housing and, where appropriate, mixed-use development,” Schoennauer said.
“Housing is always in demand in Silicon Valley,” Riley said. “We create jobs very well and getting the housing is a little harder.”
Acharya, a former Silicon Valley high-tech executive, founded Santa Clara-based SiliconSage in 2011. The company also has active projects in Sunnyvale, Fremont and San Jose. SiliconSage has in-house acquisition, design, construction and sales teams.
Renderings courtesy of SiliconSage