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5 Things Heating Up San Jose

Transportation and densification are taking center stage in San Jose, according to keynote speakers at Bisnow's State of Silicon Valley event at the San Jose Westin.

San Jose Director of Real Estate Nanci Klein says we have 228,000 Millennials in San Jose—way more than Mountain View or Palo Alto. And over half of residents have a bachelor's degree in science and engineering. With one in four of Apple's Silicon Valley workforce living in San Jose, transit is a hot topic, and a slew of new grant-funded projects over the next three years will allow us to be "crazy connected." Almost 900 access trips go out of Diridon Station every weekday between buses and rail, and when BART and high-speed rail arrive that will go above 1,500. There's no way Transbay in S.F. can touch that, she says, and we will have the most connected place on the west to get in and out.

She calls San Jose the "smallest big city" in the nation and says it's mastering the art of proximity for pedestrians and residents. When looking at 2014-15 permits, San Jose put out 20,000 permits and 240,000 plan checks and inspections. Downtown already has 120 tech companies and its 11% office vacancy should go below 10% by year end (stay tuned for some lease deals, she says).

At "Renvoation Row" about 3M SF has been renovated in the last two years. And sports are also on fire in the city. A big coup is the Super Bowl's Opening Night at SAP, which will cost only $35.

San Jose is projected to grow by 40% by 2040, which equates to over 400,000 people—that's more than S.F. and Oakland combined, says SPUR San Jose director Leah Toeniskoetter. She gave a quick history lesson about San Jose, about how in the 1950s it wanted to be the LA of the north and its population doubled decade after decade.

But its 2040 plan changes that, to locate denser buildings along major lines of transit. Downtown wants to be the urban center of South Bay and there's a plan to reduce single occupant driving by 50% by 2040. In North San Jose, Samsung's new HQ is beyond expectations. It's not a security maze, but rather an open layout that lets you stroll in and have lunch in a courtyard or shop at the retail store.