- Boston Properties could be in the early planning stages for a three-tower office development on the site of a surface parking lot in San Jose, California, near the San Jose Convention Center, according to The Mercury News.
- Boston Properties has reportedly spoken to San Jose city planners about the project, which reportedly would include office high-rises ranging from 10 to 12 stories and totaling 840,000 square feet. Two buildings would be 260,000 square feet each and the third would be 320,000 square feet. A local developer told The Mercury News that Boston Properties could have a tenant in mind and that the company also could be ready to take advantage of high property values. Boston Properties has not verified the information, nor did it disclose specifics about the project in its submission to the city.
- Tech companies are reportedly looking for high-rises in urban areas to allow for convenient collaboration in one building for their employees. Some are speculating that Google's planned 6-million-square-foot to 8-million-square-foot mixed-use, transit-oriented development (TOD) has spurred other companies to consider space in downtown San Jose. Google's development will be integrated into surrounding neighborhoods and, when complete, be able to accommodate up to 20,000 employees.
A successful TOD like the one Google is planning for San Jose is typically high density so that there are plenty of riders for whatever transit system serves the development. In San Diego, the city encourages high density by granting developers height and floor area waivers, although that is usually in return for including affordable housing components.
One San Diego TOD projects is Park & Market. Developers included a residential tower, a 60,000-square-foot office building and 30,000 square feet of retail space built around a public plaza that uses an "activated square" to host events for all ages of residents, office tenants, trolley line users and others.
Terry Willis, architect and principal at KTGY in Denver, told Construction Dive last year that the TOD concept should be familiar to anyone who has lived in New York City or other metro areas that have long-incorporated mass transit systems. Some urbanites in these cities never have to leave their neighborhoods because schools, shops, grocery stores and other services are only steps away. If they need to leave the neighborhood for work or any other reason, a convenient mass transit system gets them there and back home. This is the goal of many TODs.
However, the prospect of making concessions to developers that want to build high-density projects doesn’t sit well with some lawmakers in San Francisco. California SB 827, according to the San Francisco Examiner, would increase housing density and heights in the city near transit routes, but some critics are promising to sue the state to overturn the bill if its approved.
One argument against SB 827 is that it would displace minority communities. Another is that there is no requirement that developers have contribute to affordable housing in exchange for receiving zoning waivers.