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Sares Regis' Big Shovel Year

Sares Regis Group of Northern California and Pritzker Realty Group just closed escrow on a two-acre development site at and we found out why it's downtown San Jose's time to shine. (San Jose hasn't gotten this much attention since the song Do you know the way to San Jose? pointed out that people didn't know where it was.)

We chatted with Sares Regis VP of development Jeff Smith, pictured here in Tahoe with his son, Parker (this pic's also a PSA to get in your last ski of the season this weekend). His new site sits in San Jose's emerging visual arts and entertainment destination known as South First Area district, or SOFA (also the destination for a couch potato). The Pierce will have 232 luxury units and 4,300 SF of retail. Demo work started this month and occupancy is slated for summer 2016. The site was formerly owned by Sares Regis' longtime partner Steinberg Architects; now they're the ones designing the complex. The proximity to 280 will mean an opportunity for prime signage and exposure to the freeway.

He pictures a restaurant and wine bar filling retail space at The Pierce (rendered above), as well as potentially linking up with a great artist or art group in the area to curate pieces for the expansive lobby and leasing center. For a downtown site, two acres is very large, and tenants will get "oversized" perks like a pool, gym, theater, and Internet cafe. (Have a little data with your coffee.) He thinks the spike in San Jose development is a result of more shovels making their way down the Peninsula, and it's logical that downtown would get its time. He thinks San Jose is doing a good job at bringing boots to the street, providing opportunities for development. Larger-scale residential projects were a no-no in San Jose until recently, when the city council loosened up to the idea.

This year the company will start three to four projects between 500 and 600 units. Sares Regis recently delivered the 307-unit Plaza Apartments in Foster City (above) and will deliver almost 300 more this year between one project in San Mateo and another in Redwood City. Jeff admits the industry's labor shortage is a problem, and the solution comes down to picking the right partners. While Sares Regis builds most projects in house, he works with third-party GCs on some of the bigger and more complex ones (he's teaming with Clark Construction on The Pierce for that reason).