Mixed-use project unlike any San Jose has seen before OK’d by city

The development contains 1.2M sf of offices as well as room for retail and expansion space for an existing science and tech museum next door

San Francisco /
Nov.November 04, 2021 11:35 AM
Westbank's Ian Gillespie, Urban Community's Gary Dillabough and a rendering of the Park Habitat project (Photos via Getty, Navitas Capital and Kengo Kuma and Associates/Westbank)
Westbank’s Ian Gillespie, Urban Community’s Gary Dillabough and a rendering of the Park Habitat project at 180 Park Avenue (Photos via Getty, Navitas Capital and Kengo Kuma and Associates/Westbank)

San Jose approved a 20-story project with offices, stores, and museum space that’s unlike anything ever seen downtown.

Developers Urban Community and Canada’s Westbank Corp. picked a design to reflect a building as a park, rather than in one. Renderings by Kengo Kuma & Associates, the project’s lead designer, show that Park Habitat’s facade will be covered by myriad planter boxes and vines on wire trellises, giving it a distinctly green exterior.

It was the largest mixed-use project to receive San Jose’s blessing since the city unanimously approved Google’s planned 80-acre transit village in May.

The building, at 180 Park Avenue, will bring “a completely new kind of vibrancy to downtown,” Urban Community co-founder Gary Dillabough said in an email. Urban Community, which is said to have spent about $300 million downtown, sold $184 million of property to Westbank last year, a day before the firms said they would team up to develop six downtown projects.

A rendering of the Park Habitat project at 180 Park Avenue (Hayes Davidson/Westbank)
A rendering of the Park Habitat project at 180 Park Avenue (Hayes Davidson/Westbank)

Next door, Jay Paul Co. is building a 19-story Class A office building slated for completion in the third quarter of 2023. Jay Paul also owns a block-sized office park across the street that it plans to redevelop into a 3.8 million-square-foot tech office campus.

“That whole Park Plaza neighborhood is about to see an incredible transformation,” Dillabough said.

Park Habitat involves the demolition of the existing Parkside Hall, San Jose’s first convention center, and replacing it with about 1.2 million square feet of office space, about 60,000 square feet of expansion space for the Tech Interactive science and technology museum next door and room for ground-floor retail. Parking would be provided underground with 1,000 spaces.

An open-air atrium is intended to increase fresh-air ventilation and allow more natural light. The developers plan to build a garden on Park Habitat’s rooftop and install landscaped terraces at various heights.

All that plant life also adds to the construction cost, which neither Westbank nor Urban Community has disclosed. Westbank declined to comment. An Urban Community spokesperson said the firm would release a construction timeline next week.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to add that Westbank declined to comment.





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