SAN JOSE — Construction is underway on a 23-story housing tower that would bring more than 300 residential units to downtown San Jose.
Garden Gate Tower is being built at 600 S. First St. in downtown’s hip and trendy SoFA district, near Interstate 280.
Boston-based Scape North America, a developer that is a unit of London-based real estate firm Scape, is building 336 units in the tower, including 28 affordable residential units.
This week, construction equipment and workers were visible on the development site at the corner of South First Street and East Reed Street.
Workers and their machinery appeared to be engaged primarily in excavation work on the site this week. Scape hasn’t disclosed a timeline for the completion of the project.
“The Scape project breaking ground shows that residential development is possible” in this area, said Bob Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Valley Synergy, a land-use consultancy. “The fact that they included affordable units makes it even a greater achievement.”
The new tower is poised to help create more vitality in this section of downtown San Jose. The SoFA district consists primarily of restaurants, nightclubs, cocktail lounges, entertainment hubs and live-performance theaters.
“The SoFA district is proving itself to be a downtown area able to obtain financing,” Staedler said.
In the fall of 2021, Scape North America landed up to $182 million in construction financing from New York City-based Madison Realty Capital, a private equity fund, according to documents filed with the Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office.
Initially, Scape had planned to develop 290 units in the tower. But during the planning process, the developer decided to build 336 residences.
“The development of the project would contribute a modern, high-quality urban design to the downtown,” according to a San Jose Planning Department staff report.
The tower’s ground floor is slated to include 5,900 square feet of retail or restaurant space. An underground parking garage will also be part of the project.
In March 2020, Scape bought the development site for the tower, paying $16.5 million for the property, county documents show. KT Urban, a prominent local developer, sold the site.
The under-construction tower also could serve as a landmark for downtown San Jose.
“The project will act as a gateway tower to the SoFA arts and entertainment district in downtown San Jose,” C2K Architecture, which designed the new tower, said in a post on its website.