Urban Catalyst Completes Land Assemblage for Icon/Echo Development Project With Latest Real Estate Acquisition

Urban Catalyst is studying the potential to re-entitle its Icon development project's commercial office phase to residential use. The residential plan, shown in this rendering's foreground, may include up to 600 or more multifamily units. (Photo: Business Wire)

SAN JOSE, Calif.--()--Urban Catalyst, a real estate fund manager and developer based in San Jose, California, has completed the land assemblage for its Icon/Echo development project after acquiring a critical site kitty-corner from San Jose City Hall.

The property is a surface parking lot nestled between two other properties Urban Catalyst owns — a Chevron gas station at 147 East Santa Clara Street and the site of a former church at 49 North Fourth Street. Since the summer of 2019, Urban Catalyst has acquired the gas station, former church site, and three nearby low-slung commercial buildings at the corner of East Saint John and North Fourth streets.

Terms of the latest deal weren’t disclosed. The entire assemblage consists of four contiguous land parcels spanning over half a city block in Downtown San Jose’s Civic Center neighborhood.

Urban Catalyst had been in a three-year option contract to purchase the fourth and final parcel, a 26-stall parking lot previously owned by Town Park Towers LP, which operates an age-restricted senior living facility overlooking the site.

“This is a critical piece in the assemblage to execute the Icon phase of our project and achieve the densities commensurate with our urban downtown,” Joshua Burroughs, Urban Catalyst’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. He continued: “We needed to coordinate with multiple consenting parties, ultimately providing a sale solution and comprehensive package that benefited our Icon/Echo project and the seller.”

Urban Catalyst plans for the site to remain a parking lot until it breaks ground on the Icon phase of its two-phase Icon/Echo development project. Icon is a 22-story, 510,000-square-foot office tower development, and Echo is a 27-story, 388-unit multifamily high-rise project. Urban Catalyst is sourcing debt and equity financing for Echo, the development’s first phase, and studying the potential to re-entitle Icon’s commercial office phase to residential use, which may include up to 600 or more residential units to be built in one or two phases on the existing office phase’s footprint.

Urban Catalyst will likely submit a preliminary review application for its Icon residential plans to the city of San Jose by the end of this year.

Town Park Towers residents will have access to parking before, during, and after Urban Catalyst completes construction of Icon and Echo. Urban Catalyst plans to construct a new backyard for the neighboring Town Park Towers to accentuate and beautify the facility’s existing courtyard. The new backyard will be ready for immediate use upon completion and will triple the size of the tower’s existing rear patio.

In addition, Urban Catalyst will upgrade utilities on the parking lot, provide secured covered parking for tower residents in Icon and Echo, and allow the tower’s vendors to continue accessing the site.

Urban Catalyst’s parking lot acquisition is a personal milestone for Burroughs, who grew up on the site of the Icon/Echo assemblage, whose dad, Larry, was the pastor at the former First Presbyterian Church at 49 North Fourth Street for two decades, and whose mom, Christine, ran a housing and services provider for homeless families from an old Victorian kitty-corner from the assemblage. (The Victorian has since been demolished and replaced by San Jose’s city hall).

While at Swenson, Josh Burroughs helped acquire two of the assemblage’s four properties for the local real estate development company and managed them for years. Upon transitioning to Urban Catalyst, Burroughs’ amicable relationship with the properties’ prior owners was key in helping Urban Catalyst assemble the Icon/Echo development site.

“This is a win-win where we can provide for and expand the benefits to Town Park Towers residents while pursuing the goals of San Jose’s general plan and urban vibrancy,” Burroughs said in a statement.

Ritchie Commercial’s Mark Ritchie brokered the parking lot sale on behalf of Urban Catalyst, while Town Park Towers LP — led by Bay Area nonprofit Sequoia Living — represented itself in the deal. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP acted as Urban Catalyst’s legal counsel during negotiations, while Farella Braun + Martel LLP acted as Town Park Towers LP’s seller attorney.

Ritchie brokered Urban Catalyst’s acquisition of the Chevron site along East Santa Clara Street and a past sale of the former Presbyterian Church property. “In partnership with Ritchie Commercial broker Maggie Bludau, a Downtown San Jose pioneer agent, I started working with the four original landowners on the idea of assembling the whole block in 2004 as the new City Hall was rising across the street,” Ritchie said in a statement, referring to what’s now the Icon/Echo assemblage.

He continued: “This is really the tail end of 19 years of brokerage work to fully assemble the two-acre parcel that will support 1 million square feet of development as the approved Icon/Echo towers.”

About Urban Catalyst

Urban Catalyst is a real estate fund manager and developer with decades of experience doing ground-up development projects and owning and managing stabilized, income-producing assets. The company’s home market, San Jose, has the strongest job market of the U.S.’s 150 largest metropolitan areas, according to the latest U.S. News and World Report data. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report recently ranked San Jose as the country's second-best area to raise a family, behind Huntsville, Alabama.

For more information, visit urbancatalyst.com.

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Morgan Bernardis
Urban Catalyst

Release Summary

Urban Catalyst, a real estate fund manager and developer based in San Jose, California, has completed the land assemblage for its Icon/Echo project.

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Morgan Bernardis
Urban Catalyst