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5 Uniquely Designed Projects Aimed To Rejuvenate Downtown San Jose

Change is coming to San Jose’s downtown as five mixed-use development proposals make their way through the planning pipeline.

The multibillion-dollar endeavor by a development partnership between Westbank and Navitas Capital Managing Partner Gary Dillabough is geared to revitalize the city’s downtown with an influx of housing, jobs and entertainment space. Most notably, the iconic designs of the buildings’ plans speak to the efforts to elevate San Jose’s status as a major destination for both work and play.

“Ultimately, the goal here is really to create a world-class city that people love to live in and where they can walk to work,” Dillabough said.

Dillabough said the development team began buying properties in 2017 and has now acquired 30 properties in the relatively small 475-acre downtown area, intending to do something “catalytic.” All buildings are aimed for zero net carbon status, all-electric energy systems and an environmentally friendly construction approach.

“We don't care so much about the buildings themselves. We care about how you create a great community and ultimately how you create a better quality of life for people,” Dillabough said. He added that sustainable buildings in walkable areas with easy access to jobs, schools and entertainment are essential elements to forming vibrant areas.

Rendering of Park Habitat project at 180 Park Ave. in San Jose.

Park Habitat

In keeping with its title, Park Habitat is envisioned to bridge the gap between nature and the office. It is located at 180 Park Ave. next to the Tech Interactive Museum and near the Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park.

Gardens on the top, bottom, interior and exterior of the structure are the main attraction of the project on which the development team anticipates beginning work in Q3. In total, the building will offer 1.2M SF of indoor-outdoor workspaces.

Rendering of The Energy Hub at 35 South Second St. in San Jose.

The Energy Hub

The Energy Hub is a mixed-use project destined to make a bold statement for San Jose’s skyline with its rebuke of the standard square or rectangular building style. Located at 35 South Second St. at the corner of Fountain Alley, plans for a 21-story round, elongated building have been submitted to the city and would yield 438K SF of offices, 194 residential units, a 10-story atrium and ground-floor retail.

In addition to the “curvilinear” shape, greenery from landscaped areas on balconies protrude prominently on the facade with rooftop terraces above. A central archway on the ground level, also rounded, connects with several alleyways.

Rendering of The Orchard in San Jose.

The Orchard

Also under review by the city, a 29-story high-rise at 425 South Second St. and 409 South Second St. would bring housing to San Jose’s South First Area. Plans call for 520 one- and two-bedroom housing units and over 7K SF of commercial space. In addition to a rooftop infinity pool, the project features verdant balconies that give it an urban jungle appearance.

Rendering of The Bank of Italy tower at 12 South First St. in San Jose.

Bank of Italy

The historic Bank of Italy tower, also known as the Bank of America building, is set for extensive exterior and interior preservation and improvement work. Located at 12 South First St., the currently vacant building is slated to begin a transformation toward full utilization with offices, retail, restaurants and cultural spaces starting in Q3. In addition to rooftop gardens, the design shows an exterior staircase with sitting areas overflowing with vegetation.

Rendering of The Arbor at 255 West Julian St. in San Jose.


A plan for a mostly translucent building with varying elevations under review by the city could add 512K SF of office and retail within 14 stories at 255 West Julian St. The proposal is to retain the existing Davidson Building to connect with the new structure via a skybridge and an underground tunnel. The location just off State Route 87 could add a distinct element to the city’s appearance.