make it so...
612bv3 said:High-rise condos next at the Row
On the heels of its spectacularly successful sale of residential condominiums at San Jose's Santana Row, Federal Realty Investment Trust is asking the city to increase its allocation of housing units at the 42-acre site to 1,600 -- a 33 percent increase from what it is currently allowed.
The move is being viewed favorably by city staff, says Acting Planning Director Joe Horwedel. The city has wanted to increase housing counts on the property for some time, he adds.
At least some of the units are likely to be included in two additional high-rise towers the city is also encouraging for the site. Those towers would be limited to 120 feet or roughly 12 stories, Mr. Horwedel says.
The city has contemplated various locations for the two towers at the development, all generally on the western half of the property closer to Winchester Avenue. Nothing has been settled yet.
The new housing entitlements are not expected to supplant plans for another 125,000 square feet of retail at Santana Row or a proposed 191-room hotel, Chief Executive Don Wood told analysts during a Feb. 22 conference call to discuss fourth-quarter and year-end 2005 results.
However, the company is exploring a change from hotel to retail, possibly with housing on top, at a site at the development's main entrance from Stevens Creek Boulevard, Mr. Horwedel says.
The parcel, now a surface parking lot, is likely one of the most valuable remaining on the property, according to Green Street Advisors of Newport Beach, which tracks Federal Realty on behalf of investors. The site is considered appropriate for one of the two 120-foot towers, as well, city staff says. By way of comparison, the building that now houses the Hotel Valencia at Santana Row is 105 feet high.
Meanwhile, Federal has announced plans to sell two small sites with entitlements to develop 400 housing units. The company expects to put them on the market in the next 30 to 60 days. It will offer the land and development rights unpriced, a customary practice. Mr. Wood said he expects to receive top dollar for them.
"Santana Row is well-recognized in the Bay Area as a successful destination from the standpoint of home buyers and retailers. (So) it would seem to me that the values would be extremely aggressive," Mr. Wood said. He declined to offer any indication of what the actual sales prices might be.
Both sites are positioned immediately behind existing buildings east of the development's central roadway, which is also named Santana Row.
Chip Macdonald, a land-broker and principal with Santa Clara's CPS Commercial Property Services, says he would not be surprised to see as many as 20 bidders for the properties.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some home buyers might not like Santana Row because there is a lot going on, but it's a unique, upscale living environment that few, if any, other developers have created in Santa Clara County," he says. "It's got a great mix of retail services and restaurants, and it's well-located relative to the workplace and larger community."
Whatever developers acquire the land could clearly capitalize on those strengths, he adds.
The two properties offered for sale are 1.5 acres and 2.1 acres, says Jeffrey S. Berkes, Federal's chief investment officer. The company has the right to put 170 units on the smaller piece and 240 units on the larger, though how the development is ultimately configured -- including possibly fewer homes -- would be at the discretion of the buyer, Mr. Berkes says. Neither site is contemplated for the high-rise towers as both properties have height limits of 90 feet.
Federal intends to maintain a fair amount of final development control, whoever buys, Mr. Berkes says.
The land-sale announcement follows news from Federal that through Feb. 13 it had closed sales on 152 of the 219 condominiums it earmarked for disposition in 2005. Another 30 of the condos are under contract. It expects to sell out in the next several months.
In a statement of earnings released Feb. 21 for its fourth quarter and all of 2005, Federal increased its estimated gross sales proceeds from the condos to $150 million. The company said as recently as October that it expected to receive $135 million.
The rest of the article: http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2006/02/27/story3.html?t=printable
robertee said:Project to help jazz up SOFA
THEATER AND CENTER FOR ARTS IN WORKS
Posted on Wed, Feb. 15, 2006
By Janice Rombeck
San Jose's plan to cultivate a South First Street arts district moved forward Tuesday with selection of a builder, who will be required to provide space for two arts groups on the ground-floor of its housing units.
The city council gave unanimous approval to the redevelopment agency to work out a $5.55 million deal with SummerHill Homes, which will buy two plots of city-owned land on South First Street.
SummerHill plans to tear down the buildings on the site and replace them with an 18-story condominium tower with a theater on one corner, and a six-story housing complex with an arts center on another. The developer would give the theater and arts center back to the city after the project is built.
Ninety luxury lofts would be sold in the tower, and 50 condos would be sold in the complex across the street. SummerHill also developed the housing in Georgetown and Mariani Square in San Jose.
The SOFA area where the project is planned is home to the California Theatre, the Museum of Quilts and Textiles and the future site of an expanded San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.
The buildings at South First and William streets are now leased by San Jose Stage Company and MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana), which are expected to move into the new buildings. The theater company would be able to nearly double its seating in the new state-of-the-art venue. MACLA would also double its space to run visual, performance and literary arts programs.
``We're bursting at the seams here,'' said Tamara Alvarado, executive director of the 17-year-old organization that supports more than 50 small arts groups.
Cathleen King, executive director of the Stage Company, echoed the remark.
``We've pretty much maxed out in this building,'' she said of the 7,000-square-foot theater that was once a tire service center. ``There are a lot of standard technical elements this theater doesn't have access to.''
The Stage Company and MACLA would help design the new theater and the arts center, complete with a gallery, small theater and classrooms. The city's redevelopment agency is expected to help the groups find a temporary home during construction. Guerrero's Market, which shares a two-story building with MACLA, would be relocated.
San Jose in the past few years has created many projects that mix housing with retail, but this is the first that combines housing and arts features. Most ground-floor designs are devoted to shops or offices.
SummerHill is expected to build the theater and arts center, and the non-profits would be responsible for improving the interior.
612bv3 said:Housing developers plunge into North First redevelopment
A city of San Jose plan to transform its North First Street industrial corridor into a 21st century community with housing, shops and next-generation office buildings is showing signs of being more than a paper-bound dream.
Housing developers ranging from San Jose's Barry Swenson Builder and The Riding Group to Palo Alto's Essex Property Trust Inc. have filed applications with the city to build approximately 4,000 condominiums and apartments in the area, mostly proposed as mid- and high-rise structures.
At the same time, the plan has yet to prove itself as a magnet for new business, one of its main reasons for being. So far one company -- San Jose's Cadence Design Systems Inc. -- is exploiting the new standards, seeking permission to build 208,000 square feet next to its existing 800,000-square-foot Seely Avenue headquarters.
Much is at stake for San Jose in the remake of its Northern district. Without doubt, North San Jose has been the county's most significant concentration of industry, attracting global companies such as eBay, Cisco Systems and many others. Its companies also have been major tax producers for the city of San Jose, often subsidizing city redevelopment efforts downtown.
But in the past several years, the North San Jose corridor has lost cachet as companies have fled the valley, taking about 200,000 jobs with them. Last year, the area narrowly missed marking its fifth consecutive year of rising vacancy in its predominantly office/R&D buildings. Those buildings ended 2005 at nearly 30 percent empty, according to research from commercial real estate expert Jim Beeger of Cornish & Carey Real Estate. That dismal performance is not limited to North San Jose in Silicon Valley, though it is among the region's worst and compares particularly unfavorably to markets such as Palo Alto, where vacancy is less than 10 percent, and Mountain View, where Google has ignited a leasing boom.
Most of the 5,000-acre region has low-slung, one- and two-story office and R&D buildings. City and industry sources generally agree that about a quarter of those buildings are obsolete. The new development plan adopts standards aimed at producing an environment for urban living that would be more attractive to commerce. The policy generally does two things: It opens the possibility to develop 285 acres of industrially-zoned land for housing, and it allows land owners to develop their parcels more densely.
Residential real estate is in steep demand in the valley today and is the most valuable type of property, selling far in excess of $5.5 million an acre at highly desirable locations. Increasing a property's development capacity boosts its market value but allowing greater density makes it cheaper per square foot for a company to develop the land.
The bulk of the seven applications, two of which are preliminary and designed more to seek city reaction to an idea rather than to map out a hard-and fast-proposal, were filed in the final three months of 2005. San Jose City Council approved the North First Street re-do only last summer.
The 4,000 unit count does not include any new housing that might go on North First Street's 16.5-acre Hyatt San Jose site at Old Bayshore Highway. In July, the Business Journal reported the Hyatt property was being eyed as a redevelopment site for multiple high-rise housing and hotel towers. Only a sketchy set of drawings with limited detail have been filed with the city at this point on that project, staff says.
Councilman Chuck Reed, whose district includes much of North San Jose, says he is not at all surprised the housing developers have jumped as fast as they have.
"There is no piece of dirt in San Jose without housing developers circling it to see if they can use it," Mr. Reed says.
At the same time, he says, their interest "validates at least part of the assumptions on which the North First Street planning is based -- that there is enough housing demand to drive the plan forward and to provide money for the infrastructure."
Hundreds of millions of dollars of roadway improvements are to accompany the build out of the new plan from new U.S. 101 exchanges to miles of new neighborhood streets.
Key, however, to the plan's success, is whether businesses will follow the housing, Mr. Reed adds.
Housing developers will not be allowed to build unbridled. A legally required environmental review of the entire project is premised on the completion of both housing and industrial development in four phases. In the first, the city won't allow more than 8,000 homes to be built until there is also 7 million square feet of industrial space going up. The pattern continues up to a maximum of 32,000 new houses and enough new workspace to house about 85,000 workers.
North First Street property owner Russell Filice says the city may have hit a home run with the plan.
"I think it's a tremendous move. In the future, high-rise living is going to come to this valley. People my age and young people don't need houses with yards, and, with traffic the way it is and a trolley right out front... San Jose is becoming a real city," he says.
Mr. Filice and a partner own three acres immediately across from the Hyatt Hotel site where Barry Swenson hopes to put up two or three towers with 450 condominiums. A 1980 multi-tenant office building of about 60,000 square feet occupies the site. Mr. Filice says he is happy to keep it or to see it redeveloped as planned.