The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to negotiate an exclusive agreement with Lowe Enterprises and Gensler Architects to develop a master plan that would modernize the 40-year-old Civic Center, consolidate county services and generate revenue with space that isn't needed for government.
The 55-acre development site, which includes the former San Jose City Hall, is bounded by North First, West Mission and North San Pedro streets and West Younger Avenue.
Earlier this month, a board committee recommended Lowe Enterprises because of its experience with public-private projects, and Gensler Architects for its work on adapting historic buildings.
"We have an exciting opportunity to reshape the civic center in a way that improves government efficiency while benefiting the surrounding neighborhood," said Board President Ken Yeager in a statement. "The proximity to downtown San Jose and shopping, as well as access to transit and the airport, provide endless possibilities."
While Tuesday's vote gets the ball rolling, details of the plan will be worked out in phases, giving the board and the public many opportunities to weigh in on features that might be included in the redevelopment.
Supervisor Dave Cortese called for a study session to focus on redevelopment goals and ideas for moving forward.
Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group has developed 4.4 million square feet of public-private projects totaling more than $1 billion and is currently involved in several public-private partnerships, including the San Diego County Operations Center, a 915,000 square foot, $500 million multi-phased campus.
Closer to home, Lowe Enterprises is developing 1.8 million square feet of office space on 43 acres off North First Street, near the county's Charcot Campus.
In 2011, the county acquired 10 acres of the former San Jose City Hall complex in lieu of repayment of a debt the city owed the county. The site includes the former City Hall building and annex, a health services building and a parking lot.