Santa Clara, California, rolled the dice in 2010 when it decided to build a $1.2 billion stadium for the San Francisco 49ers National Football League team, sparking outrage from local environmentalists and die-hard Niners fans unhappy about the team’s games leaving town. Unlike recent stadium projects in other cities, there was no far-ranging redevelopment plan included in the deal for the 49ers stadium, which is located about 40 miles (64 km) south of San Francisco. And there was no guarantee that building the stadium and moving the games to Santa Clara would spark any interest in the city-owned land around the stadium site, which the city had been trying to promote for years.
“The ‘for lease’ sign had been on the land so long the sign fell down,” says Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews.
Now, a year after Levi’s Stadium opened, Related Companies is planning a $6.5 billion mixed-use development on 239 acres (97 ha) across from the stadium, which is now home to a golf course and a BMX dirt track. The project—which was called City Place but for now is simply known as Related Santa Clara—includes more than 9.2 million square feet (855,000 sq m) of retail, entertainment, office, and residential space, making it one of the largest redevelopment projects in the region and one of developer Related Companies’ largest projects in the United States.
Would Related be developing this project without the stadium? “Absolutely,” says Ken Himmel, president and chief executive officer of Related Urban. But there is no doubt the stadium influenced the company’s plans for Santa Clara. “The stadium created a dynamic,” he says. “What it said to the business world is, we’re open for business and encouraging growth.”
Related has ambitious plans for the project, which is under environmental review. Not only does the firm intend to create an entertainment and retail destination, but its plans also call for a new city center for Santa Clara—the type of urban mixed-use project rarely seen in the suburban communities of Silicon Valley.
“There is a huge missing piece” in the region, Himmel says. “We view ourselves as building a new downtown for Silicon Valley.”
Becoming Santa Clara
In terms of development, Santa Clara, which is home to chip giant Intel, has lagged behind many of its swanky Silicon Valley peers. Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino, and the other South Bay communities thrived during the high-tech boom years, developing around exclusive enclaves for the waves of newly minted tech millionaires. Modern Santa Clara, population 120,000, grew more as a suburban community near San Jose, and is best known for its semiconductor companies and California’s Great America amusement park.
“Santa Clara is a bit of an anomaly,” says Leah Toeniskoetter, director of the San Jose office for the nonprofit SPUR, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. “Santa Clara never had a downtown.”
During the early planning process for the stadium, the real estate market was still in the post-2008 funk, making it difficult for Santa Clara to entice a developer. Most of the site is landfill, raising an array of environmental and engineering issues. A group led by former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana developed a plan for an entertainment and retail complex on nine acres (3.6 ha) next to the stadium that is now used as a parking lot, but the group dissolved and the site is now part of Related’s plan.
Related saw a chance to create a large-scale mixed-use project. It also concluded that the market had changed. Prices for commercial and residential space in the communities surrounding Santa Clara have soared in recent years and now rank among the highest in the country. “Lease rates are high enough to promote work at a higher level,” Himmel says.
Related also found an eager partner in the city. “The golf course is not only water intensive, it’s subsidized by the city,” Matthews says.
This article was taken from urbanland.uli.org Original link http://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/new-city-place-santa-clara/Read More