County Supervisors Consider Proposal for Massive Civic Center Project in San Jose

Plans to develop a 55-acre chunk of land in midtown San Jose into a bustling civic center are moving forward. Kind of. A request for quotations (RFQ) resulted in just one proposal, which is up for consideration at Tuesday’s Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting. It was the only proposal submitted.

Supervisors will consider entering into negotiations with Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises and San Francisco-based architecture firm Gensler to design and build the county government center campus. Lowe is building a similar civic center in San Diego as well as developing 1.8 million square feet of office space near downtown San Jose.

The county envisions a mixed-use, market-driven development with anywhere from 100,000 to 1.17 million square feet of government space for the site bordered by West Younger Avenue and North First, West Mission and North San Pedro streets. The plan would incorporate the old San Jose City Hall, which closed in 2005.

Though it spoke with dozens of contractors, the county wound up getting just two proposals on the project. One withdrew the offer, leaving the county with Lowe and Gensler. The fact that the civic center project is so long-term probably scared off a bunch of companies that are more interested in short-term investments, the county says.

If the proposal is not accepted, the county can issue a new RFQ.

More from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors agenda for September 24, 2013:

• Three breastfeeding peer counselors employed by Catholic Charities will take up $18,000 of a First 5 early childhood development grant this year.

• One of the biggest risks for newly released inmates is them returning to drugs, crime and homelessness. A grant to the county’s Department of Mental Health from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to prevent that kind of recidivism will cost $2.8 million through 2015.

• The West Valley-Mission Community College District got a new chancellor, Patrick Schmitt, who on Tuesday will deliver a presentation about the district.

• To qualify for more grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the county has to submit annual reports about how past money was doled out. Here’s a look at how the county spent more than $5.4 million in community development grants this past fiscal year.

• Rotary Club of San Jose and the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy want to build a $6 million park in San Jose. Rotary asked the city for $1.4 million and the county for $250,000 to make it happen. The club will cover the rest with cash it already raised up.

WHAT: Board of Supervisors meet
WHEN: 9am Tuesday
WHERE: County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose
INFO: Lynn Regadanz, [email protected]

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. They need to fix up the old city hall, it’s been just sitting there for almost a decade. The county could start consolidating some of its offices like the one at Julian and 87.

    I wonder if the plan is to scrape all of the existing buildings at civic center. They wouldn’t need to with all that surface parking.

  2. Has Joseph DiSalvo ever asked to speak to the Board of Supes?  In any event, maybe he should attend the next Board of Supes meeting and see what Chancellor Schmitt has to say.

  3. Why can’t the county government abandon this area of San Jose and move downtown with huge civic center built in downtown?!  What’s the matter with these county officials?  They have county civic center in Downtown LA, Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver and etc.!!!  Why can’t County Board of Supervisors get their heads together and start acting responsibly by moving the main County building downtown?  It would really help downtown a lot with more bodies on the streets and making the area vibrant and healthy.  This city doesn’t need urban sprawl; it needs central business growth instead.  If all these other cities have their county administration buildings in their downtown, why can’t San Jose?

  4. Wow, that’s amazing! Just the other day I was thinking how the taxpayers need to be spending more money on breastfeeding peer counselors and all a sudden whaddya know- we are!

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