Huge San Jose housing development is eyed at ex-Fry’s Electronics site

Hundreds of homes could spring up on prime San Jose real estate.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — According to city documents, a massive housing development with hundreds of residences could be built on the site of the former Fry’s Electronics headquarters and one of the failed retailer’s most iconic stores.

The potential residential project also represents a pivot, implying that the site’s owners have abandoned plans for a massive tech campus covering millions of square feet on the property.

The tech industry’s decision to reduce its appetite for new office space in the Bay Area, particularly in Silicon Valley, has made speculative office projects far less feasible.

Bay West Development, which had proposed a 2 million-square-foot office campus on the Fry’s site at 550 East Brokaw Road, is now moving forward with a proposal to build residences.

Overall, at least 500 residential units — and possibly more than 1,000 — could be built on the Fry’s property, which is located near the intersection of Interstate 880 and East Brokaw Road.

“At this time, pivoting from a tech campus to an all-residential project is the best option,” said Bob Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Valley Synergy, a land-use consultancy.

The Bay West Development proposal calls for the redevelopment of the entire Fry’s Electronics site in North San Jose, which would necessitate the demolition of an existing store and warehouse.

Officials from Campbell-based Bay West Development declined to comment on the company’s proposal.

Supermicro Computers has leased 124,200 square feet of warehouse space in one of the buildings that will be demolished to make way for the housing development.

It was unclear how long Supermicro had leased the warehouse space that would eventually be cleared away for the housing project.

Bay West Development proposed two housing concepts for the site: 1,233 residential units, potentially multi-family residential apartments, and 519 unspecified residences.

The development firm submitted separate proposals for each version of the housing at the Fry’s site. Both proposals envision a quick San Jose city review process, as permitted by state law SB 330.

It was unclear whether Bay West Development intends to use a builder’s remedy approach, which allows developers of some projects to build beyond what local rules would normally allow in cities without state-mandated housing plans in place.

The 550 Brokaw property housed the legendary consumer electronics retailer’s Mayan temple-themed store, as well as the company’s headquarters and warehouse.

Fry’s Electronics declared bankruptcy in February 2021.

According to Staedler, more such conversions from office to housing may be required in the Bay Area.

“The need for housing has only grown and sites like this one can help the city meet its mandated housing goals,” he said. “This change in use will also reduce traffic.”

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