Housing project set to sprout in downtown San Jose

Mercury News

SAN JOSE — A mixed-use housing and retail complex that will bring downtown San Jose more than 100 new homes and an enticing restaurant concept is set to begin construction within weeks near the city’s convention center.

The Firestone project, near the corner of South Market and Balbach streets in the city’s South First Area, or SoFA district, would become the newest large development in downtown San Jose once it gets underway.

“We are using an urban approach for this project,” said Dennis Randall, a partner with Acquity Realty, a development and real estate investment firm who added that the project will break ground in August. “The ground floor will have a very cool restaurant and bar.”

The Firestone, located at 477 S. Market St., will have 130 residential units, according to Acquity.

Acquity paved the way to receive the financing to build the project through a pair of transactions completed on July 19.

Through an affiliate called CG AQ 477 South Market Street, Acquity brought an investment partner on board to take a stake in the property. The site was bought for $6.8 million, according to Santa Clara County public records.

On the same day, the Acquity group obtained a construction loan of $41.5 million, the county documents show. The records also indicated that Cigna Investment Management is now involved in the project.

“The Firestone could be the beginning of a new model for residential development in San Jose,” Randall said.

The project will offer fewer parking spaces than the number of residential units. Randall estimated the development would have about 94 to 95 parking spaces.

Keep a curb on parking is one way for the developers to combat some of the effects of rising construction costs that have bedeviled builders in the Bay Area in recent years.

Plus, residents in The Firestone will be able to relax and gather on the rooftop of the five-story project, which will have an elevator that reaches the very top, with rooftop gardens and a barbecue, according to John Pringle, a partner with Acquity.

“People will have an outstanding view of downtown San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley from the roof,” Randall said.

The new complex is in the up-and-coming SoFA district, an emerging hotbed of nightlife replete with restaurants, nightclubs, theaters, and drinking establishments.

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