The Downtown San Jose Housing Tower will have more units, fewer floors

SAN JOSE – A proposed residential tower could bring more houses to downtown San Jose than previously thought, although the skyscraper would be shorter than previously planned, according to a new city document.

The Garden Gate Tower, a skyscraper, would sprout on 600 S. First Street at one of the gates to the south end of downtown San Jose. The plans were submitted to the city exhibition.

Plans call for 336 units, or 46 more than previously earmarked, for the high-rise on South First Street and East Reed Street.

The project would have 28 affordable housing units.

“The development of the project would give the downtown area a modern, high-quality urban design,” according to an employee report from the City of San Jose.

Scape, a British developer specializing in student housing, has proposed a 23-story tower in place of the previous plan for a 27-story skyscraper. This is evident from the latest proposal that Scape submitted to the city.

“Housing is urgently needed,” said Bob Staedler, managing director of Silicon Valley Synergy, a land use consultancy. “It makes sense for this group to come in and set the right size for this project so that it comes out in pencil.”

The ground floor is expected to consist of 5,900 square feet of retail or restaurant space.

In March 2020, Scape bought the development site for the tower. Scape paid $ 16.5 million through its subsidiary Scape San Jose for the property, which was sold by well-known local developer KT Urban.

To finance the property purchase, Scape received a $ 15 million mortgage from a New York City subsidiary of Mack Real Estate Group, a major real estate investment firm.

With fewer floors, the units are likely to be smaller according to the city maps.

The 336 residential units will consist of 218 one-bedroom units, 79 two-bedroom units and 39 studios.

“It’s a good idea for San Jose to build, not out,” said Staedler. “That’s what this downtown San Jose project is going to do.”

According to the company’s website, Scape’s main focus is on student accommodation.

“Scape was founded on the simple idea that students deserve better,” explains Scape on its website. “For too long it has meant compromising quality of life as a student.”

London-based Scape said his projects are designed as “inspirational” places for students to live and work in.

“We make sure you have everything you need to feel safer, calmer and more at home than in any other student accommodation,” said Scape.

The Garden Gate Tower would be built across from two other residential areas: Sparq and The Pierce.

Construction on the project is scheduled to start in October 2021. It is expected to take 27 months to complete, which means it could open sometime in the spring of 2024.

“This is the kind of urban development that can affect the housing problem,” said Staedler. “Each of these projects that is built will make the next one more profitable.”

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