Housing project may sprout at big North San Jose office building site

Scores of townhomes could sprout on prime site next to train tracks

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A new attempt to convert a commercial real estate property to residential uses could result in the construction of hundreds of townhomes on a prime site currently occupied by a large office building in North San Jose.

According to documents filed with city planners, the project would consist of 85 “multi-family residential” townhomes and would be built at 2107 North First Street.

The office building sits on 3.9 acres of land at the intersection of North First Street and Karina Court.

The six-story office building is approximately 103,000 square feet in size. The building is surrounded by a large surface parking lot.

A growing number of property owners and developers are pitching various plans to convert existing office buildings into housing projects.

The brutal post-pandemic office building market has prompted developers to look for alternatives to some commercial real estate properties.

Following widespread business shutdowns to combat the spread of the coronavirus, a large number of office workers fled their workplaces.

Even after the coronavirus-related restrictions were lifted, the return to work has been uneven.

Furthermore, tech firms have tempered their appetites for office space, dampening demand and pushing office vacancies higher.

According to the preliminary filing, it is unclear whether the owner of the office building site, Stanley Group, intends to bulldoze the office building or construct the housing in such a way that the offices remain intact.

By chance, the Campbell-based Stanley Group has proposed the construction of 107 townhomes a few blocks away at 2611 North First Street in San Jose, replacing some existing offices. That site is 4.9 acres in size, so the density is about 22 dwelling units per acre.

According to Bob Staedler, principal executive of Silicon Valley Synergy, a land-use consultancy, putting 85 townhomes on the site would be a small number of residences for a 3.9-acre parcel.

“Even for townhouses, 22 dwellings per acre is extremely low density,” Mr. Staedler said.

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