San Jose Approves $600 Million Downtown Development

San Jose gave the green light to what city officials are calling the largest development investment in the history of downtown.

The City Council on Tuesday approved the $600 million project by Trammell Crow and Bentall Kennedy, which will bring an enormous office-apartment-retail campus to San Jose's nascent Diridon district.

The project sits on eight-plus acres by the Guadalupe River Park and Los Gatos trails and a short walk from the SAP Center. It’s also close to Mineta International Airport and the Diridon Station, a hub for Caltrain, ACE, VTA and Amtrak (and, in the future, BART and high-speed rail).

Trammell bought the land from Adobe Systems last fall for about $58.5 million with plans to build the first major mixed-use complex west of Highway 87. The proposal includes 960,000 square feet of office space, 30,000 square feet of retail and 325 apartment units—all in a cluster of 10- to 13-story towers.

Because the property encompasses the historic San Jose Water Company, the developers plan to renovate the building to preserve it as a landmark.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.47.39 AMMayor Sam Liccardo applauded the development in a press release Wednesday, saying he hopes it draws more tech companies to San Jose.

“[The project] marks the maiden voyage of development into the Diridon area,” he said, “where by 2025, we’ll see the most active multi-modal transit station west of the Mississippi.”

Artist renderings show a residential building across from two office-retail towers encased in glass. The design of the office towers in particular drew some backlash over environmental concerns.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.37.50 AMPutting a large glass building at the confluence of two waterways puts it smack in the middle of a riparian habitat, downtown resident Elaine Gould wrote in one of dozens of letters to the council addressing bird safety.

“I think it would be very disturbing to work in an environment where one has to watch birds constantly flying into the windows and littering the ground below,” Gould wrote. “Surely San Jose could do better than that.”

Shani Kleinhaus, an environmental advocate for the Santa Clara Valley Audobon Society, echoed those concerns in a Mercury News op-ed earlier this month.

Developers expect to break ground on the million-square-foot project this fall and have the site ready for occupancy by late 2018. To view the details, here’s a link to the council memo and development proposal.

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


  1. > to San Jose’s nascent Diridon district.

    The “Diridon district”??!!!!

    Give me an efffing break!

    Rod Diridon was an inconsequential, small-time political puppy dog who had an obsession with choo-choo trains.

    He was probably psychically damaged as a child because he didn’t get a Lionel train set for Christmas.

    Diridon always seemed to me to be an otherwise unemployable sponge off of public transportation projects who offered no discernible value to society.

    Whatever marketing genius decided to bestow stature on this project by locating it in the “Diridon district” should have HIS Lionel trainset stepped on and kicked into the dumpster.

    • Agreed. And the architecture is horrid. This is a statement location and should be a landmark project. Unfortunantly, another example of poor planning by San Jose. 10th largest City and 1st in being the joke of the Country.

  2. Oh boy, here we go again with the Baseball Stadium Parcels and the brown bandidos replacing the white bandidos. Amazing, just when the City might be getting up on it’s feet the robber barons move back in with their wiping out Measure B and getting ready to embezzle 3/4 ‘s of a Billion dollars. Come on San Jose even 72% average intelligent minorities won’t go for this theft. Bogus bids, substandard work and inflated salaries are flying in. Remember your $502 million City hall (Haul) made out of recycled concrete and glass??????????? Valued today at $285 million. Crash and burn folks!

  3. 2 squat, boring, insipid glass cubes cost $600 million to build? How many BMR units for the marginally employable are included? How many mini units for the permanently homeless are designed in? How much absurd public “art” is part of the project? How many taxpayer dollars are among the $600 million, in addition to the land which was previously set aside for the A’s? Will Patty’s Inn remain? After all, every train station needs an adjacent dive bar.

  4. Looks like the developers got their pimps to go out and buy some politicians. Why does this project make sense? We’re in a long-term drought cycle and we can ill-afford 800-900 more humans in San Joser, consuming more water than ever. Why should I conserve my use of water when the benighted politicians continue to add more and more people to our area. Lest we not forget, this project will result in more traffic and lower quality air standards. Oh well, think I’ll go out and fire up my BBQ and mow my lawn, while I waste some precious water… it all doesn’t seem to matter.

      • I reviewed the documents provided by the METRO link, and I saw no mention of any certification that the city could guarantee water supplies for this development project over the next 20 years. Water is an incredibly important component in any development, and we need to know if the water needs will come out of homeowners’ usage as happened last year.

    • Our tiny-brained, greedy politicians can be bought by lobbyists… also known as pimps… and then sold to the developers. Do you actually think that any of that unsavory crowd gives a crap about water?

      • And of course you have dedicated your time to public service? Please list your volunteer efforts in government by the people.

        • Ted, did you just have a brain fart… what does public service have to do with a shortage of water?

  5. Where are all these people going to park? The trains are already full and have lousy schedules. VTA is admin heavy. No neighboring businesses get help because people do not leave these buildings during the day. They come they park, they work they leave.

  6. Sweet…more empty retail, more squat fugly 1980’s glass and precast fugly “Towers”, no doubt more nature band aid green spaces for homeless to urinate on..

  7. Weve already seen this movie before, actually a couple of time. These small town politicians are going to attempt to reinvent a downtown that has NEVER worked. Wow which big time developers will be lining their pockets with SAM’S money. Its time to vote no on that tax local tax increase that SAM will never earmark for anything specific. Barry Swenson and the Devcon criminals ought to be salivating right about now

  8. t’s called infilling and smart development, folks, and if we can get them out of their cars and into a train or bus, maybe they will take a walk at lunchtime and eat downtown.

    Dream a little.

    • I’m sorry, but YOU’RE dreaming if you seriously think San Jose needs more unaffordable housing, “towers” or Dotcom anything.

    • Stephanie Ray im dreaming about the beautiful downtown pavilion. Are you old enough to remember this??? Or are you one of the “me generation” staffers for the corrupt crew on the 18th floor? Wake up

      • Ahh the Pavillion – when downtown was a dream but the reality was a crime ridden joke. And the intervening 20 years was a disaster. The past 3 years has finally seen a real downtown with actual people populating it, and safety. That is smart development.

    • Dream on Stephanie. Just how many people who work in the retail and office components of this development do you believe will walk that half-mile plus one way on their lunch hour? The round trip walk will consume over half of it. More than likely they will lunch at the few fast food eateries on The Alameda closer to their office. Many will bring their lunch. This will do very little for DT SJ

    • > t’s called infilling and smart development, folks,

      I don’t call it “smart development.”

      I call it “micro-megalomania”: inconsequential busy bodies imagining that they have the genius and the right to plan the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

  9. Why do we have to have the ugliest buildings in San Jose. Screw the environmentlist and the birds that is the mentality of the leaders in this town. How about fixing eye sore downtown St James Park which doesn’t have a flower if your life depended on it. How about having rent control so normal people can live in descent housing. How about making some more homeless shelters so they don’t have to sleep on the streets of downtown San Jose. How about cleaning the buses and the lite rail more often. It is dangerous to be in San Jose during the day and at night. How about seeing some patrol officers downtown out of their cars providing safety from all the mentally ill people who have taken over downtown. Why put more retail downtown when you can’t keep the retail downtown that you have now. You can’t keep a business downtown because everywhere you walk it smells like urine.

  10. Wait, doesn’t that equate to twice the police departments annual budget??? Oh never mind…that’s in another pocket, which is allocated at 10% less than neighboring cities. So they put less in the right front pocket for employees, essentially squeezing out hundreds more police officers than have ever been killed in the line of duty. Then they pump hundreds of millions of dollars into downtown, again. And again. Wait, doesn’t Liccardo live downtown? Wasn’t Reed a real estate attorney….with his office downtown? Doesn’t Mcenery own downtown? Three mayors in a row people…..catch a clue

    • This is a very clever comment. Too much tax (public)money has been skimmed off via the RDA for downtown.

      Didn’t they get money to redevelop San Pedro square.

  11. Need to cut out the BMR & “affordable housing” altogether. It artificially pushes up prices for folks who don’t qualify for it & invites other problems.

    • A “sanctuary city” offering subsidized housing to third world “refugees” demanding free everything PLUS Sharia Law is possibly the DUMBEST idea ever.


      Would you buy a microchip from people who are so dumb?

      Time to change the city moniker from “Capital of Silicon Valley” to “Capital of Retardistan”.

  12. Who are all these Negative Nancy’s. They really need to open there eyes up and pull their heads out of where ever they are. San Jose has not been Farmville for decades now. This area like it or not has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the word and the tech worlds a global business center. See what our competition
    (Shanghai. Dubai, Seoul ) center city looks like. San Jose takes one baby step towards looking like Silicon Valleys Urban center and you all start crying about everything in the book. also San Jose has been housing all of Silicon Valleys workers for decades and needs more work places just like this to help pay for librarys, Police, Fire ect.

    My only issue is I wish it was taller and whats with this Diridon district I am not for naming stuff after politicians before they are dead(ie Mineta, McEnery) .

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