7 million square feet of downtown San Jose office space: mayor – California

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SAN JOSE — Millions of square feet of office space, enough to nearly double the size of downtown San Jose’s office inventory, is in the development pipeline, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said Friday.

“We have more than 7 million square feet of office space in the pipeline,” Mayor Liccardo said during an update he offered to a regular meeting of the San Jose Downtown Association on Friday. “And that doesn’t count anything that Google winds up building.”

Google is planning a transit-oriented village near the Diridon train station consisting of office buildings, homes, restaurants, shops, and parks where 25,000 people would work, including 15,000 to 20,000 of the search giant’s employees.

“Downtown San Jose has a pretty diminutive footprint,” Mayor Liccardo said.  “Clearly the downtown boundaries are starting to expand.”

At present, downtown San Jose contains 10 million square feet of office space, which means the addition of 7 million square feet would usher in dramatic changes in the city center.

“We’re looking at more than doubling the size of the city’s downtown core when you include Google,” said Mark Ritchie, president of Ritchie Commercial, a real estate firm.

The addition of 7 million square feet would be enough room for potentially 40,000 workers, or even more — which would roughly equal the population of Campbell or Danville.

“This is exciting, it is mind-boggling,” said David Buchholz, a senior vice president with Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm. “We are seeing an unprecedented level of activity in downtown San Jose.”

Despite the enthusiasm, it’s an open question whether all of these projects — or even some of them — materialize and land major office tenants before an economic downturn forces a new calculus on the viability of major new office developments?

The mayor pointed out that some residential towers might not emerge before the next economic slump. Similar challenges could confront as-yet unbuilt office towers.

“We want to get as much housing built as possible in this economic cycle,” Liccardo said. “This cycle is just about at its end.”

Among the projects being actively eyed in downtown San Jose: A massive redevelopment of CityView Plaza totaling 3.4 million square feet near Park Avenue and South Almaden Boulevard; an office tower at 200 Park Ave. that could total around 800,000 square feet; Platform 16, an office campus totaling 1 million square feet near Autumn Parkway and West Julian Street; a fourth Adobe office tower on West San Fernando Street that would expand the tech titan’s headquarters campus; a 1.4-million-square-foot Almaden Plaza office campus near the corner of Woz Way and South Almaden Boulevard across from the city’s convention center.

Plus, a major office tower that would also expand the Tech Museum is in the works on Park Avenue.

“These office developments and others are going to attract major tech companies to downtown San Jose,” Buchholz said.

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