Downtown Hotel to Sell One Tower for Proposed San Jose State Student Housing 

San Jose State University on Thursday announced a $113 million lease-buy-back deal with a Bay Area developer to convert the south tower of the former Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose into a 700-bed student residence hall.

The university called the “landmark agreement” with Throckmorton Partners of Mill Valley “the Bay Area’s largest post-pandemic conversion of commercial property” for residential use.

Under the plan, a portion of the current San Jose Hilton Signia Hotel will be purchased by Throckmorton Partners for $73 million, which will lease the facility– with an option to buy after two years – to the university, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees.

“ The agreement will position SJSU to tap into currently underutilized, empty hotel space, and be able to deliver on hundreds of affordable housing units for undergraduate students by fall 2024.” the university said in a statement. The new residence will include 124 affordable beds for students in need.

In addition to the purchase cost of the 264-room south tower of the 805-room Hilton Signia hotel, located several blocks east of the San Jose State,  another $40 million is expected to be spent on improvements, fees, taxes and utilities, according to the university.

The project will temporarily be called “Spartan Village on the Paseo” until the completion of a formal facility-naming process, according to San Jose State.

The lease agreement will be financed from a $89 million debt relief package awarded this year by the state’s Higher Education Student Housing plan.

A rendering of the planned lobby for the new housing option for students. Rendering by Throckmorton Partners.

“The university’s ongoing efforts to further expand its footprint in downtown San José will lead to hundreds more students living within a short walking distance to campus and contributing to downtown small businesses and entertainment venues,” the university said in the statement. “Additional students living downtown underscores the university’s commitment to housing more of its students and also its continued investment in downtown San José’s economic vitality and success.”

Ultimately, the university aims to leverage new state housing-specific funding secured earlier this year to deliver a cumulative total of 517 affordable student beds across its entire housing stock in the coming years.

The project aligns with a key goal of the university’s new Campus Master Plan to have 20% of the full-time student population living on or immediately near campus.

“Our students are the heart of all that we do at San José State University,” said San Jose State President Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson. “This new housing option will expand our campus footprint and add student vibrancy to the downtown corridor. The SJSU campus influences industry-defining research and learning, and at the same time integrates our university community with small businesses, medium-sized companies and even global headquarters of major corporations, creating invaluable opportunities to unlock students’ potential and potentially jump-start their careers.”

Renovation of the hotel is scheduled to begin immediately to deliver new student housing by August 2024.

Plans include a major renovation of the lobby and second-floor mezzanine spaces into a “student-centric” environment to support social activities and programs.

Amenities will consist of an expansive dining area and a community kitchen, a fitness center, a games room, co-learning spaces and a study lounge in the “sky bridge.”

Residential staff will develop and offer social activities and programming and provide assistance for students.

In addition to the renovations, less intensive modifications will be made to floors three to 14 to better align rooms with a student residential layout including updating existing building systems and providing new furnishings.

“The university hopes it will aid in the city’s ongoing transformation efforts of retail space, bringing intellectual, and cultural change to downtown businesses, restaurants and cultural institutions,” the university said in a statement.

Throckmorton Partners said in a statement: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with San José State University to transform the prestigious five-star Signa Hotel into a state-of-the-art student housing facility. This project is not just about providing housing; it’s about creating a vibrant, supportive community for the university’s students.”

“We are beyond excited to partner with Throckmorton Partners on this important University project,” said Charlie Faas, San Jose State vice president for administration and finance. “The Throckmorton team worked tirelessly over the past nine months to forge a partnership with the university and CSU and were exceptional in their attention to detail and focused efforts to meet the needs of the University and our students.”

Admitted students for the 2024-25 academic year will begin receiving information about their housing options, including Spartan Village on the Paseo, in the coming months. Details on the housing application process can be found at

“We’re offering a brand new and unique opportunity to open up housing for our students in the fastest turnaround possible. New student housing options are what our Spartans deserve,” said Patrick Day, vice president for student affairs. “Bringing more of our students closer to campus allows them to focus on their success, expand their professional networks, and tap into the unique opportunities that proximity to the action of Silicon Valley has to offer.”

More details and renderings can be found at

Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


  1. Don’t stop there, some will say. What about the rest of the hotel later?

    Even with only the south tower, it could mean campus as well as city police — not only around the facility but between it and campus, ideally 24-7.

  2. Sigh. Judging by what students like regarding retail and what they can afford I see even more clubs and take out restaurants and a few chains. I remember when downtown actually had good restaurants. I find it sad we have now given up on downtown and are turning into an SJSU campus. I can’t imagine other cities that we like to compare ourselves doing so.

  3. MICHAEL — On the other hand:

    1) It’s probably the only way to get students downtown;

    2) It’s probably the only way to get residents downtown.

    The irony with this is the Google village with tech jobs promised so much that is dead, Dead, DEAD from the start offered the potential and the scenario of intern positions for students and for employees taking courses on campus in their spare time, at least with some who might live in some of the new housing being built with the new jobs. Admittedly, San Jose wasn’t going to be another world city, but there were promises (ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho) for campus-style housing along with campus-style office space. Then imagine at least some workers (if not taking the likes of Uber or Lyft, or a company bus or shuttle van, for privacy and security, as has been said before) and students also making trips between ahem, Downtown West and the San Jose State University campus facilities. Maybe new housing in the “village” could be open to students or at least to interns, etc. Violins play…

    Ha, ha, ha. Ho, ho, ho.

  4. I can’t wait, can not wait, until Google pulls the plug on this campus nonsense and all you sycophantic ideologically possessed clowns come to realize your little techno utopian future is the empty shell it is.

    How people who think they are fighting for the “New” truth, justice and fairness hitch their wagon to Google (and Apple and Tesla and Facebook and Moderna and Pfizer and Hillary and Bill Gates and the FBI and the CIA and the DOJ and the WEF and lab grown meat and the rest of the false idols of post-modernity for that matter) is beyond me. You are so clueless and lost it would be sad if you weren’t so certain and arrogant. Your Towers of Babel will fail and fall like the first one and I will enjoy the show with a piping hot bag of real butter popcorn after eating my corn-finished rib eye.

    You will own nothing, like it and pay me rent which I will use to buy said rib eye. Thanks.

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