SAN JOSE — A veteran developer has begun construction in downtown San Jose’s famed Willow Glen district of an office and restaurant building that the real estate firm hopes will be its headquarters for decades to come.

Republic Urban intends to shift its headquarters from downtown San Jose to the Willow Glen district by moving into a new two-story building that it is developing, said Michael Van Every, president of Republic Urban Properties West Coast.

“We’ve been in business at 84 W. Santa Clara St. in downtown San Jose for over 15 years and intend to be in business for another 50,” Van Every said. “It was important we find the perfect permanent home in a strong business district.”

That district is Willow Glen, one of San Jose’s oldest neighborhoods. Willow Glen became a settlement in the 1860s, a municipality in 1927, and was annexed to San Jose in 1936.

“We couldn’t be more excited about being part of the Willow Glen business district and this great overall neighborhood,” Van Every said.

The project that’s now under construction is a two-story building that will include the new main offices of Republic Urban and a potential restaurant on both levels.

“The ground floor consists of a restaurant with an outdoor patio,” a project proposal filed with San Jose city officials shows. “The second floor consists of offices and a restaurant with an outdoor deck for visitors to enjoy the pleasant weather and scenic ambiance of downtown Willow Glen.”

The building totals about 18,700 square feet, including the ground-floor patio and the second-floor deck, planning documents show.

Republic Urban said it’s already in negotiations with some prominent Bay Area restaurants to take the dining space in the building. The developer didn’t name the prospective restaurant tenants.

Willow Glen will see a first when the building is complete: a rooftop lounge.

The design of the building is influenced by San Miguel de Allende, a city in Mexico that is known for baroque Spanish architecture that dates back to the colonial era, according to Republic Urban.

“The restaurant will be a neighborhood gem for the loyal local audience that supports Willow Glen businesses,” Van Every said.

The developer has built, owns, or is planning to build 17 properties in the Bay Area. One of the company’s projects is a big mixed-use transit village called Gateway at Millbrae Station, located next to the BART station in that Peninsula city. Republic Square, a mixed-use retail and hotel complex, is a major project in Livermore.

In Willow Glen, Republic Urban Properties expects to move into its future headquarters building by late 2021 or early 2022, the company said.

The developer hopes that the building will be a landmark and iconic destination in the neighborhood.

“This location demands a building and users that will be part of the business district for 200 years,” Van Every said.

 

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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