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June 30, 2005
High-rise condo tower moves ahead in San Jose
A Chicago developer plans to build a $110 million, 21-story condo project in the South of First Street area of downtown San Jose.
A development agreement has been inked between the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, which owns the land, and Mesa Development LLC.
The 208-unit project could be one of the first true high-rise condominiums in downtown, but it won't be the last. Eight more high-rise residential projects are on the books for downtown.
"We did a lot of market studies and analysis," says John Weis, deputy executive director of the Redevelopment Agency. "We feel there is pretty deep demand."
He says the last condos to sell downtown, units in the Park Townsend project, were going for between $375,000 and $400,000. Mesa's development will go for considerably higher prices, given the views it will offer and other amenities like concierge service.
Mesa isn't worried about selling the condos for an estimated $625,000 in 2008 when they hope to hammer in the last nail, says Richard Shields, one of three owners of Mesa. "We're hoping to set a new high water mark."
Of the four developers who responded to the agency's request for qualifications a year ago, Mesa was the only one who offered a high-rise project and who had experience with that type of construction, Mr. Weis says. Mesa is no stranger to such projects. It has built them in Wisconsin, has one going into Indianapolis and is working on a 56-story project in Chicago.
If Mesa can get a building permit before June 30 of 2006, the city will waive the requirement that a certain percentage of the development be sold as affordable housing. It's an incentive program the San Jose City Council voted in a year ago to get high-rise developers interested in downtown, Mr. Weis says.
Mesa won't need height approval from the Federal Aviation Administration because the development will be lower than the neighboring Marriott hotel, Mr. Weis says.
Mr. Shields figures with the cultural attractions downtown, the entertainment and parks, it won't be difficult getting more residents to buy homes there.
"Anything you can do to put feet on the sidewalks and lights in the windows will be good for downtown," he says.Posted by Coalition Webbies at June 30, 2005 08:41 PM