Is the Future of the Bay Area Moving South?
Happy New Year Everyone! Enjoy our special guest blog post below by Jeff Current, President of the AIA Santa Clara Valley (American Institute of Architects). This is an excellent synopsis of real estate opportunities in the Bay Area 2012!
San Francisco – The City by the Bay! Beautiful & stately it stands as a metropolis that lives, breathes and expresses its unique personality to the world. SF is a fantastic place surrounded by sparkling bay and majestic sea: a metropolis that superimposed an urban grid right over the tops of its hills and valleys as if it were the flat expanse of the LA basin. It is, and will continue to be a hub for culture and creativity in the Bay Area.
…But San Francisco has a cousin down the peninsula; the Santa Clara Valley, that continues to expand and grow and attract a life, culture and energy of its own. The business epicenter of northern California has shifted from the Financial District to Sand Hill Road and from the docks of Fort Mason to the disc drives of Silicon Valley.
Along with this shift in business comes a shift in population. A few years back San Jose passed San Francisco as the 10th largest city in the USA & 3rd largest city in California (behind LA & San Diego). In a new era of sustainability and gasoline prices approaching $5/gal, more people are choosing to live and work and play within a smaller circumference. This is building up the demand for ‘smart growth’ communities and the South Bay is home to quite a few of them. Looking ahead to Santa Clara Valley’s future is both exciting and dizzying.
We could have 3 brand new Sports Stadiums built in the next 5 years with 49ers Football, Earthquakes Soccer and Athletics Baseball venues. These new projects attract hotels, restaurants and retail. Pro sports franchises put their host cities on a world stage as media covers ALL THE ACTION, LIVE!
Our business and social lives continue to be shaped by products conceived and born in our valley. Huge new campuses are being designed by World Class architects for Apple Computer in Cupertino, Facebook in Menlo Park and Google in Mountain View. Apple’s Net Zero Energy “Spaceship” design by Foster + Partners of London will house up to 15,000 employees in a glazed donut ring set in a serene orchard. Google is creating a “LEED Platinum Campus” that not only provides office space for 2,500 to 3,000 employees, but will include housing, retail and entertainment to offer its workforce a home and activities close by.
Transportation is getting a huge makeover as BART presses south into Santa Clara County with a station in Milpitas (Great Mall), 3 stations in San Jose (Berryessa Swap Meet site, Five Wounds neighborhood and Downtown SJ) and Santa Clara (FMC site near Santa Clara University). California High Speed Rail is in the planning stages to provide 2 hour and 7 minute rail service between San Jose’s Diridon Station and LA’s Union Station.
Besides all this, Silicon Valley is attracting major auto-makers like Ford and GM with design and research facilities to connect them to the technologies that drive the future of transportation. The Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce has been working with the City of San Jose on ideas for a port in Alviso to allow for ferry service to once again connect Oakland and San Francisco with the South Bay. This plan could also include a marina with housing and hospitality uses, a Fisherman’s Wharf and restaurants, and recreation activities amidst the restored saltwater marshlands.
Alviso is linked to downtown San Jose by the Guadalupe River which plays host to pedestrian and bike trails and could even bring water taxi service from the Ferry Terminal to downtown (a la San Antonio’s Riverwalk). The Guadalupe River Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States with opportunity to attract thousands for nature, recreation and sports activities.
This is OUR VALLEY! These projects are in our neighborhoods and districts. As architects and designers in this thriving expanse of humanity and creativity, we need to plug in and get involved in some of these activities. Many of these organizations and projects are searching for visionary individuals to provide leadership for the process of growth and development. I encourage each of you to get involved to whatever degree you can commit.
- Jeff Current, AIA
>Click HERE for more information on AIA Santa Clara Valley!