A ten-building tech campus with over 2 million square feet of office space and room for 10,000 employees has been approved to rise on a 31-acre parcel in North San Jose, bordering Highway 101 along Brokaw Road, a half mile from the San Jose airport.

While developer Peery-Arrillaga says a tenant has already committed to leasing the entire campus, and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed says he knows who, neither have identified the company other than to confirm it’s “in the tech sector.”

With “no City Council or even planning commission hearings, as it required no zoning changes or other major municipal approvals,” the entire approval process for the campus was completed in an enviable six months and construction is slated to begin this year.


Mystery tech company set for San Jose’s biggest-ever office project [mercurynews.com]

34 thoughts on “Massive 31-Acre Tech Campus In San Jose Approved, But For Whom?”
  1. How is it legal that the owner is not identified? This allows for no governmental or citizen oversight. Doesn’t seem right to me.

  2. Holy Toledo that is awful, in more ways than I can count. Looks like the 1980s and smells like desperation on the part of SJ government. Makes Mission Bay look incredibly urbane, interesting and livable in comparison.

  3. Part of me thinks the height limits are because of the proximity to the airport, but any low-scale “campus” (aka, office park) within city limits is disturbing. Then again, if you look at most of the development in the San Jose it fits right in.
    One plus is that VTA light rail is within walking distance.

  4. “It’s part of the city’s ongoing effort to “move at the speed of business” after criticisms that developments get stuck for years in City Hall bureaucracy.”
    Mayor Lee talks, Mayor Reed does.

  5. The airport proximity is probably not the cause of low heights of this building since it is nowhere near the approach lines of the SJC runways (despite being a mere 15 minute walk to the airport terminal). My guess is simply economics. Land is relatively cheap in SJ. This development is dense by north SJ standards where most buildings are one or two stories. For now.
    I agree about the dated looking architecture.

  6. Putting aside who the client may be, this is simply a complete mish-mash of curvy, arc-y, strip center collection of really bad buildings.
    They are the Po-Mo of the 2000’s.

  7. in this day/age, with every tech and real estate news easily covered, it’s pretty amazing that this big of a campus can be already at this stage in the game, and the name isn’t even known….

  8. This project offers yet more proof of how behind much of the world we falling in terms of architecture and urban design…pretty depressing actually.

  9. Citcritter
    Can you post some photos of innovative office parks from other countries. My experience at one in Europe is they can also be utilitarian, outside the city center and uninspiring
    If the above is walking distance to light-rail that is a big plus

  10. Can’t imagine that Alibaba Group, or any other Chinese/HK dot com for that matter, would need even a small fraction of that space for U.S. employees.
    For all the comments above decrying the look of the buildings, well all I can say is: look at what Cisco operates out of in San Jose. Mark is right, this “fits right in”.

  11. Excellent- more jobs!
    Bad- Feeble tax collection. Everyone knows the deal with effective tax rates. And the poperty tax is effectively fixed forever.
    Good- Next to light rail.
    Very Bad- San Jose contiues to win battles but is loosing the war. They continue to take the easy way out by building business parks instead of incremenatbly building a liviable city.

  12. I kind of liked the architecture, glad I kept my mouth shut LOL
    Agree with @zig, would like to see what alternatives people would propose for this scale / site. Don’t mean that in a snarky manner, but as he says – IMHO, any development of this scale and scope is going to have to fit within certain parameters and hence isn’t going to be a cutting-edge Gehry or Koolhaas.

  13. As for an example of how it could be done better, I like the old 80s era Atari / BT Telecom / whatever is there now quasi brutalist complex up the road at First and Trimble better. Not that the Atari buildings are that great, they at least don’t feel gaudy like these proposed buildings. Also Siemens/Infineon/NSN complex which I think is near the corner of St Martin Straße and Balanstraße in Munich is pleasing, huge, and from the 1990s.
    Surely modern architects can do better. As it is there seems to be a trend of stainless, curvy curtain walls, and those weird little roof-ledges. They’re so cliche that they will look dated quickly.

  14. Ugh, as if the 87/101 interchange was brutal enough as is.
    Also, I don’t understand the hate. It’s an office park in suburbia. SJ will never be SF and that’s okay. We all don’t have to work and live in monuments to our supposed greatness.

  15. Yeah that’s true Zappy. We should just be happy that a parcel that has been vacant since the orchard days and next to a freeway interchange is bringing 10,000 jobs. Better design would just be icing on the cake.
    In comparison Apple’s new giant O-ring will be a lot more leading edge and pleasing, but it does little to improve the community around it: the superblock remains unbroken so traffic needs to navigate around it and it is nowhere near any decent, fast, high volume transit. Not that VTA LRT is very fast but it can handle high volumes.

  16. zig: you asked if I could post an office park example outside the US – here is a link to photos of the Actelion Business Center by Herzog & DeMeuron: http://www.frener-reifer.com/projects/actelion-business-center/
    No recent office building in the Bay Area (besides maybe the Fed Bldg) can hold a candle to it in terms of design, quality of space, light, form, environmental performance, building technology (triple glazed windows with integrated blinds) etc.

  17. But is this design at all typical, citicritter? Using Google Streetview, take a tour of the typical French or Italian suburban crudscape.
    The angular, jutting forms are also pretty brutal and inhumane. I wonder if the architects have the same opinion about their client as the architect of the SF Federal Building, another cutting edge building that is fundamentally inhumane.

  18. also consider that earthquakes here make certain creative designs with a lot of building irregularities much more uneconomical.

  19. citicritter: Are you serious?
    To each their own, but I’d rather work in and walk by the most boring suburban box than that pick of pick up sticks. That entryway looks really grim and oppressive.
    In any case, that’s a single building, not an office park.

  20. Mark, you say that “any low-scale “campus” (aka, office park) within city limits is disturbing”. Why would you say this? Do you realize that San Jose’s city limits are about 180 square miles, almost 4x the size of San Francisco? Virtually everything we know of as “San Jose” is within its city limits, and there’s no unincorporated area of San Jose where this type of project would be preferable than its planned location.

  21. I’m with Ray. The Actelion just tries too hard and ends up failing, IMO. What’s worse, I find all objectives crit describes to be the exact opposite of what the pictures show. I mean how do you define “quality of space”? I’d rather have a big open, easily reconfigurable floor plan rather than a jungle gym of narrow rooms. I mean these buildings are supposed to be for work after all.

  22. The new Apple space craft building is a total waste of money.
    I understand Apple has a huge stash of cash but someone in the decission making department should be fired.
    All the bells and whistles of a round building is wasted $$.

  23. inclinejj must be someone with commercial landlord interests in Cupertino.
    And from what I understand, “the decission making department” was headed by one person, Steve Jobs, and there’s no need to go looking for someone to fire, as he died in 2011.

  24. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this space being taken by one of the firms already in the area such as tesla, apple or facebook, solar city, salesforce. These firms are growing at an insane pace still and will need space. My bet is Apple or Tesla. It’s not uncommon for firms to out grow their space before they even move into a space under development.

  25. This thread is hilarious, as if the South Bay was not entirely populated by office buildings that look like this. This style of architecture is endemic, and serves as proof of San Jose’s dual aspirations: San Francisco and San Ramon.

  26. San Jose is just like San Francisco — after it’s been dropped from a great height and flattened… and without all the energy, cultural events, diversity, and things to do that SF has. But otherwise, yeah, they’re exactly the same. 😉

  27. A little birdy revealed the sponsor of this project. It was hard to hear but I think it was something about Mr. Peckinpah having finished his turn at karaoke.

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