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Why the Stadium's the Hottest Ticket on the Tour

San Jose Mixed-Use

San Jose's got a bevy of activity brewing, including a record-breaking bar at the new Earthquakes soccer stadium. (If the players kick a ball into someone's mug, will that count as a goal?)

We caught up with Colliers SVP David Buchholz, a downtown San Jose vet, about his recent sold-out bus tour of his neighborhood's highlights. He led the three-hour tour (sans Gillian hat), which drew the who's who of Silicon Valley housing and office developers, real estate brokers and investors in three packed buses. Here he is during one stop at the new 18,000-seat soccer stadium slated to open in time for the 2015 season. You don't understand the size and the scope of the stadium until you are standing inside, David tells us. Among the biggest perks: Having the biggest outdoor bar in North America. The massive bar runs almost the full length of the width of the soccer field at the end zone. 

Above, entrepreneur Gene Campbell in his newly opened Glasshouse event space downtown. Since the last Downtown San Jose Real Estate Tour in May 2013, 40 tech-related tenant leases (32 of which were new) got inked in the downtown core, David says, totaling about 223k SF. (That includes two new leases from Intacct and Xactly at Legacy Partners' Riverpark Tower 2.) David eats, breathes, and lives downtown, having been a resident for 20 years. Downtown leasing has picked up as companies seeking to be along Caltrain are starting to realize how convenient downtown is to get to from Diridon Station via the free DASH shuttles that loop through downtown and dump off employees to work (every Class-A building is just a three-block walk away). 

Earthquakes exec assistant Miguel Duarte gave a full-blown sneak peek of the stadium. A large digital display will face into the venue with a second display a third the size broadcasting the game and score for all of Coleman Avenue to see. David is excited about another development coming to Coleman: a long-awaited Whole Foods at The Alameda, opening Dec. 9. He's a regular at Trader Joe's (having just wolfed down one of their salads at his desk before our phone convo), but he's anxiously awaiting the Whole Foods to finally debut (the deal's been rumored since 2003--the first year of the downtown San Jose tour).

The stadium is a European design, which means seats are right on the grass. The bar allows for a couple thousand people to stand and congregate to watch the game, thanks to three terraces from the bar down to the field level. A one-acre park adjacent to the bar lets attendees picnic on grass. The team's "small rabid fan base," the Ultras, have their own special section reserved for hundreds to jump and chant in blue body paint, located above the standing-room-only section. Silicon Valley's Kinder's Meats & BBQ is signed on to feed fans. 

There are 1,000 units in four projects underway in downtown San Jose now, with almost another 1,200 in the pipeline. The urban atmosphere speaks to Millennials, and they like to rent as opposed to buy, he says. One project on the tour was Simeon Properties' 347-unit Centerra, located across from San Pedro Square and its two dozen restaurants and happening Farmers Union market on Fridays. 

Above, facing southwest towards KT Properties' Axis residential project. The shot is snapped from the top floor of Centerra, and he says the 21-story tower's shell will be complete in Q2 and deliver in Q3 of next year. This spring Sares Regis Group of Northern California got started on its 232-unit The Pierce apartment project. Fairfield's proposed 195-unit project, with a placeholder name "Marshall Squares," between 1st and 2nd should have site development permits by late November or December.

The event was hosted by Colliers International, Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel and AEI Consultants in partnership with the City's Economic Development office, San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA) and the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. Tour planning committee members that made it happen include (back row) SJ Economic Dev's Tina Kapoor and Lee Wilcox, AEI Consultants' Christine Velasquez, Hoge Fenton's Sean Cottle; SJDA's Blage Zelalich; Colliers' Paige DeSmet and Nick Goddard, SJDA's Nate Echeverria, and Colliers' David Buchholz. Holding down the front are Hoge Fenton's Patricia Blanquies and SJ Economic Dev's Cara Douglas.

Above, Cara and Christine share a moment at the stadium. David says the stadium, though not necessarily downtown, is a great nearby attraction that's going to be a huge economic driver for hotels and business. The downtown core has experienced 457k SF of positive net absorption in 17 months. (That's a lot when you look at the size of downtown San Jose; the 25.4% available has shrunk to 18.3%.) David's also kept busy since the last tour, having repped Iron Point Asset Management in the sale of 152 N. 3rd to RPRO152N3 for $15.5M.