SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 13, 2020 — Real estate development practice Westbank and Urban Community have officially announced their partnership to develop a portfolio of sites in Downtown San Jose.
“Ultimately our goal for Downtown San Jose is to create a community for the creative economy that brings companies out of their existing ‘industrial parks’ and integrates them within the city’s urban fabric,” said Westbank Founder Ian Gillespie. “Our ambition is to demonstrate how strong city-building can help address some of our greatest challenges. Our goal is to respond meaningfully to the climate emergency, help create more healthy, diverse communities and build the elements of life that are essential to our happiness, such as beauty, nature, social interaction, and a sense of belonging, into each of our projects.”
Urban Community has assembled properties, from St. James Park to the SoFA District, with an eye on helping to catalyze positive transformation for the entire area through long-term investments in the community. Westbank, along with frequent partners Peterson Group and OPTrust, have invested in this portfolio of sites and will be partnering with Gary Dillabough and his team at Urban Community on their development in the coming years. With a 25-year history of development and city-building, which began in Canada, Westbank has a history of strong community commitments, through projects including residential, rental and affordable housing, hotels, district energy, creative retail and workspace and public art. Westbank and Urban Community share an ambition to be an integral part of San Jose’s transformation into a leading tech and creative economy hub. This collaboration reflects their shared vision, to support the future growth and success of San Jose.
“Westbank’s investment in San Jose highlights a growing interest from globally renowned companies who prize iconic design, sustainable development and impactful city-building. Their experience in cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle and Tokyo, shows bold vision and attention to detail,” said City of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “The Westbank/Dillabough partnership will make an important mark in San Jose’s historic core, and I applaud their desire to move forward quickly.”
“I am excited to welcome Westbank to San Jose. I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand the transformative projects that Westbank is building in Seattle,” said City of San Jose Councilmember Raul Peralez, “The Westbank/Dillabough partners clearly have the vision to not only see how great San Jose is today, but also to see the incredible opportunity that is before us in San Jose, as we work together to build an even brighter future.”
Repositioning the Bank of Italy building at 12 South 1st Street, will be the first project for the development partners, as Westbank focuses on the creation of a master plan for their overall San Jose portfolio, which includes: the Bank of Italy Building, Museum Place, BoTown Valley Title, Fountain Alley, and 255 West Julian.
“From the first day we met Ian, we were struck by his vision and knew that we’d be extraordinarily fortunate to inspire him with the unique city-building opportunity in downtown San Jose,” said Urban Community developer Gary Dillabough. “We look forward to working closely with the entire Westbank team to bring their pioneering approach to our city.”
About Urban Community LLC
Committed to enhancing the urban user experience in downtown San Jose, as a real estate developer, Urban Community collaborates with community members, designers, technologists, city officials, and builders alike to re-envision downtown San Jose. Based in San Jose, through their projects, Urban Community strives to create exceptional environments that catalyze community at every layer.
The core of Westbank’s mission is to create a body of work with a high degree of artistry that helps foster more equitable and beautiful cities. Westbank is active across Canada and in the United States, with projects including residential, hotels, retail, office, rental, district energy, affordable housing and public art. Established in 1992, they are one of North America’s leading developers, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle and Tokyo, and over 25 billion dollars of projects completed or under development. Westbank is driven by the belief that beauty and culture in all forms and in the broadest definitions, are essential to human existence. In committing their efforts fully towards the fight for beauty and the creation of culture, they have evolved beyond the definition of a traditional real estate development practice, to become a culture company.
About Peterson Group
The Peterson Group is a family owned private company based in both Vancouver, Canada and Hong Kong. The Company has a variety of commercial real estate holdings in Hong Kong, the UK, Canada and the US and also maintains business interests in a variety of sectors in regions across the world.
With net assets of almost $20 billion, OPTrust invests and manages one of Canada’s largest pension funds and administers the OPSEU Pension Plan, a defined benefit plan with almost 95,000 members and retirees. OPTrust was established to give plan members and the Government of Ontario an equal voice in the administration of the Plan and the investment of its assets through joint trusteeship. OPTrust is governed by a 10-member Board of Trustees, five of whom are appointed by OPSEU and five by the Government of Ontario.