Three-tower project in Downtown San Jose seeks $1.5B in financing

Bank of Italy renovation, two new high-rises to add offices and homes with extensive gardens and greenery

From left: the Bank of Italy building at 12 South First Street, 409 Second Street, 180 Park Avenue and Cushman & Wakefield’s John Forrester (Spavlov2000, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons, James KM Cheng Architects, Hayes Davidson and Westbank, Cushman & Wakefield)
From left: the Bank of Italy building at 12 South First Street, 409 Second Street, 180 Park Avenue and Cushman & Wakefield’s John Forrester (Spavlov2000, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons, James KM Cheng Architects, Hayes Davidson and Westbank, Cushman & Wakefield)

Cushman & Wakefield is seeking $1.5 billion in financing to develop three environmentally friendly towers in Downtown San Jose.

The Chicago-based brokerage aims to renovate the landmark Bank of Italy tower at 12 S. First St. and build high-rises at 180 Park Ave. and 409 S. Second St. The trio will feature extensive use of gardens and greenery, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Cushman & Wakefield has teamed up with Westbank, a developer based in Vancouver, and local developer Urban Community to develop the trio of green tower projects.

Westbank's Ian Gillespie and Urban Community’s Gary Dillabough (Westbank, Urban Community)

Westbank’s Ian Gillespie and Urban Community’s Gary Dillabough (Westbank, Urban Community)

Cushman & Wakefield says it’s trying to raise the $1.5 billion in financing through a syndication approach that may involve pools of funds.

“There is tremendous growth happening in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, right now,” Dave Karson, vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield’s finance, debt and equity unit, told the newspaper. “That brings a lot of potential for supply” of new office and residential buildings.

All three projects would include trees, vines and other plants popping from stairways, terraces and rooftops inside what Westbank calls its “net-zero” Downtown campus – which aims to be carbon neutral and environmentally sustainable.
As the coronavirus era persists, both Westbank and Urban Community hope to provide green housing as a way to attract residents and office tenants.

The trio of “net-zero” projects include:

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— A revamp of the century-old Renaissance Revival Bank of Italy building, slated to be finished by summer of next year. The project will include a new green staircase that will climb the south side of the 14-story highrise, as well as a garden terrace on the east side of the tower.

Park Habitat, a 20-story office and retail tower at 180 Park Ave., broke ground in April and is expected to be completed in 2025. The 1.2 million-square-foot office and retail complex will expand the Tech Interactive museum. It will also include numerous gardens, as well as a “green lung” ventilation system to allow people to essentially work in a park.

— The Orchard Residential at 409 S. Second St. is set to break ground this fall. The project is being built next to the shuttered Bo Town restaurant and will preserve the well-known restaurant’s structure.

Westbank and Urban Community have proposed seven major projects with both housing and offices in Downtown San Jose, including the three towers that call for $1.5 billion in funding.

The seven Westbank projects are expected to generate 4 million square feet of office space and 1,000 apartments.

“It has never been more important to build projects that contribute positively to our cities and communities and that are sustainable, socially, environmentally and economically,” said Andrew Jacobson, Westbank’s vice president of U.S. development. “We’ve designed all of the projects in our initiative with that in mind.”

[San Jose Mercury News] – Dana Bartholomew

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