SAN JOSE – A development team with global and local reach has submitted proposals for at least three major projects designed to dramatically transform key areas of downtown San Jose.
New offices, retail stores, restaurants and apartments would be added to downtown San Jose – along with a makeover of the Bank of Italy’s historic tower – based on suggestions from a company led by Bay Area developer Gary Dillabough and the Canada-based West Bank its founder Ian Gillespie found worldwide recognition.
The new projects would be on the Davidson office building site near the State Route 87 interchange and West Julian Street in a parking lot off Fountain Alley between South First Street and South Second Street and on the old Bo Town lot on South Second is Street and East San Fernando Street, according to records on file with the city planners of San Jose.
“Big cities need to foster the imagination of visionaries like Ian Gillespie and Gary Dillabough,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo on Thursday. “These development projects are paying long-overdue attention to the great architecture in our inner city, which makes our community proud and which sets our skyline apart.”
Separately, the West Bank Dillabough Group also controls the selected Valley Title property near the corner of South Second Street and East San Carlos Street, meaning another major proposal for this large property is in the works.
Westbank-Dillabough company’s latest filing outlines dramatic plans for three locations in downtown San Jose:
– Brunnengasse. 35 S. Second St. Office, retail, and restaurant space totaling 437,900 square feet. One residential element would create 194 residential units.
– Bo Town property. 409 S. Second St. and 425 S. Second St. The project would create 520 residential units. Retail and restaurant space on the ground floor would total around 500 square meters.
– Davidson construction site. 255 W. Julian St. The existing six-story Davidson building would be retained. A new office and retail building with a total area of 512,000 square meters would also be built.
The new office building would be 14 stories high and would be linked to the existing Davidson building by an underground tunnel and pedestrian bridge that would connect the roof of the existing building to the sixth floor of the new office building.
Ground-level paseos are planned that will have access to the lobbies of both buildings, as the planning documents show.
Retail on the ground floor is planned in the new office building and street level in the existing Davidson building, named after legendary developer and site manager Charles Davidson.
The project includes several raised landscape terraces at different heights as well as roof terraces on both buildings.
“The West Bank and Dillabough proposals are all advocating the activation, sustainability and ground floor architecture that downtown needs more of,” said Scott Knies, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association.
The development company has selected a number of locations for its first round of projects: the northern edge of the city center; the South First Area or SoFA District; and the traditional downtown core near First Street and Santa Clara Streets.
“You consider the city center as a whole with different uses and in different parts of the city,” said Knies.
Westbank and Dillabough are also pushing a new office tower and Tech Museum expansion on Park Avenue.
A growing number of key players with staying power – including projects such as Google’s transit village near Diridon train station, Adobe’s new headquarters tower, and office towers from veteran developer Jay Paul Co. – are either actively prepared or under construction.
Now the West Bank and Dillabough are gradually unveiling their vision for downtown San Jose.
“These developments continue the trend of a dynamic and innovative means of building world-class projects,” said Bob Staedler, managing director of Silicon Valley Synergy, a land use and planning consultancy.
The widespread interest of the West Bank and its architectural allies like Kengo Kuma Architects and Associates in large-scale projects in downtown San Jose bodes well for the future of the urban core of the Bay Area’s largest city, the mayor said.
“It is a sign of the growing up of San Jose that the city is attracting world-renowned developers and architects to realize our vision of a vibrant downtown area,” said Liccardo.