County Moves Forward with Santa Clara County Civic Center

Board Approves Master Development Agreement with Lowe Enterprises on 55 Acres

Santa Clara County / CALIFORNIA

The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, at its May 24, 2016 meeting, approved a Master Development Agreement with Lowe Enterprises for the multi-phased planning and development of the 55-acre Santa Clara County Civic Center in San Jose.

“The development agreement is our first step toward creating a Santa Clara County Civic Center that will be a modern, efficient center for government services,” said President Dave Cortese, Board of Supervisors. “With the selection of Lowe Enterprises we can now start the first stage of project development for a new and vibrant Santa Clara County Civic Center.”

Lowe Enterprises, selected through a competitive public Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposal (RFQ/RFP) process, is a national real estate investment, development and management firm with more than 40-years of experience.  The company established its San Francisco office in 1980 and has a long and active history of development and investment in the Bay Area, including the 500 Terry Francois building in Mission Bay and the Clearview/GoPro Business Center in San Mateo.  Lowe brings specific expertise developing government and community-serving facilities to the Civic Center project as it was also the developer of the San Diego County Operations Center.

“I have been a leading advocate for the development of the Santa Clara County Civic Center,” said County Supervisor Ken Yeager. “We envision a hub of activity that is welcoming to residents and brings additional uses and amenities to create an attractive mixed-use destination.”

Lowe, in conjunction with Gensler Architects, will immediately begin the first phase of the development process with the creation of a Master Plan for the properties bounded by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Guadalupe Maintenance Division to the north, Highway 87 to the west, North First Street to the east, and Mission Street to the south. The Master Plan, which will be developed over an approximate 12-month period, will identify the size and location of all aspects of the Civic Center development, including government buildings, parking, and open spaces that will bring new uses to the Civic Center that also complements and enhances the existing neighborhood.

Guiding principles for the Civic Center development include that it must be designed and executed in a manner that is environmentally sensitive and increases the value of County-owned properties.

“Our vision for the Civic Center is being developed through a transparent and inclusive public process with stakeholders and the surrounding community,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez, District 2. “In the long term, it is just good business sense for the County to own land instead of leasing it.”

As part of the open and transparent development process, County staff, in coordination with the Office of Supervisor Cindy Chavez, hosted a public outreach meeting on March 30, 2016, to update the community about ongoing and upcoming actions related to the master planning of the County’s Civic Center. The Board then held a public hearing on May 10 for the community to provide feedback on a proposed ordinance that would allow the County to move forward with development, once approved at today’s meeting.

“Lowe will work with the County and the community to create a roadmap to guide the growth of the Civic Center that maximizes its service to the community.  This may include the replacement of many outdated government facilities with new buildings as well as the consolidation of services.  An evaluation will be done to assess the right master plan for the area and deliver a high-quality project in the most cost-effective way possible,” said Alan Chamorro, senior vice president, Lowe Enterprises.

Concurrent with the Master Plan process, work will begin on the environmental review process, including the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, in compliance with CEQA guidelines.


The Board of Supervisors has identified initial recommendations to help guide the master development agreement that includes:

·Planning for public space on the Civic Center Campus of approximately 1.15 million square feet, constituting approximately 23 acres for public uses, leaving an estimated 17 acres of land for possible revenue-generating purposes (on land that the County would continue to own);

·Planning for the demolition of the West Wing and connector and relocation of its occupants, the Office of the District Attorney, along with other law and justice administrative uses, to new buildings on the Richey site, the former Army Reserve located at the corner of San Pedro Street and Hedding Street;

·lanning for potential relocation of the remainder of the County administrative uses (not including the Main Jail or the Courts) to the area north of Hedding St., leaving a single block south of Hedding Street for revenue-generating purposes (on land that the County would continue to own);

·Further exploration for either redevelopment/modernization or replacement of the East Wing, for continued public use or private use (depending on the adopted Campus site plan scenario); and

· Relocation of the Sheriff’s Emergency Vehicles Operations Center from the Richey site.

For periodic updates, visit the Project Website: