DivcoWest Floats Plan for San Jose office-home conversion

DivcoWest is honing plans to convert a historic office building in Downtown San Jose into homes.

The San Francisco-based developer has updated its proposal to convert the former Bank of the West building at 2 West Santa Clara Street into either apartments, co-living units or a micro hotel, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The office-to-home conversion comes after DivcoWest revamped the 10-story, 100,000-square-foot tower, built in 1910, into “creative offices” for tech firms and business startups. A five-story mural honors the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

But demand for offices plunged after the pandemic with a shift to remote work. The office vacancy across Silicon Valley rose to 17 percent last month, with a record 7.6 million square feet of offices available for sublease.

DivcoWest has floated three options for its slate blue-and-white tower at West Santa Clara and South First Street.

An apartment option would include 65 units with work-from-home nooks, plus 1,500 square feet of ground-floor shops and restaurants. It would include a small office on the first floor and second-floor offices, plus a fitness center.

A co-living option would include 73 units with work-from-home nooks, plus the ground-floor retail and office, with offices across the second floor. Co-living set-ups can include shared facilities such as living rooms, kitchens or bathrooms. The fourth floor has a large living room and theater.

A micro hotel option would have 147 cozy rooms, with a ground-floor restaurant and bar. The first and second floor would contain unspecified features for guests; the fourth floor would have a co-working office.

In each version, an outdoor terrace would be on a lower fifth-floor roof. The potential cost of the office-to-home conversion was not disclosed.

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“Conversion to new uses would require an architectural remodel as well as a structural and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems remodel,” DivcoWest said in a cover letter to the city about its plans.

In a similar move, Westbank and Urban Community have proposed converting the historic Bank of Italy at 12 South First Street in Downtown San Jose from offices into homes.

— Dana Bartholomew

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