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Growing tech company officially buys Fry’s Electronics San Jose site

Property could be location of huge tech campus

SAN JOSE — A tech company in expansion mode has officially bought a San Jose site that once housed a well-known Mayan-themed Fry’s Electronics store. Now, the property could become a huge office campus.

Super Micro Computer paid $80 million for the property at 550 East Brokaw Road in North San Jose, according to documents filed Feb. 9 with the Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office.

San Jose-based Super Micro Computer bought the 19.7-acre property near the interchange of Interstate 880 and Brokaw Road through an all-cash deal, the county documents show.

The company now owns a choice site where San Jose city officials have approved a vast seven-building office campus. The city has approved a phased development of the tech campus.

Super Micro Computer is well aware of the property’s potential for development, according to a company regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The seller previously obtained, and the company is acquiring under the purchase agreement, discretionary entitlements for a potential redevelopment of the property,” the company stated in the SEC documents.

Campbell-based Bay West Development, acting through affiliate Caracol Property Owner, sold the property to Super Micro Computer. Bay West had previously obtained entitlements for the development of the site.

Over the last two years, despite the city’s approval, the development of a speculative office campus in the Bay Area has become unviable.

That’s because severe post-coronavirus economic maladies have afflicted the Bay Area office market.

Chief among the ailments: Numerous tech companies have drastically curbed their respective appetites for office space at a time when they have engineered wide-ranging job cuts.

However, an office campus that is bought by a potential user such as a tech company can suddenly become viable.

Super Micro Computer is in expansion mode and appears to be steering against the tide of tech industry cutbacks and retrenchments in the Bay Area.

In 2013, the tech company bought the former headquarters campus of the San Jose Mercury News, which is now located in downtown San Jose. In 2018, the tech company bulldozed the newspaper’s former newsroom building.

Super Micro Computer then embarked on a redevelopment of the one-time newspaper property, located on Ridder Park Drive near Brokaw Road. The redevelopment includes some new office and research buildings. The Ridder Park site is known as the company’s green computing campus.

At the just-bought East Brokaw site, the approved project allows for the phased construction of seven office buildings totaling about 1.92 million square feet and two parking structures totaling roughly 1.65 million square feet.

The project would bring about the demolition of the former Fry’s store, office and warehouse structures on the property. The existing space totals 293,900 square feet, according to the purchase documents. Super Micro Computer happens to be leasing a warehouse on that site.

Fry’s Electronics store operations ended about three years ago in February 2021 when the iconic retailer abruptly went out of business because it was unable to survive in an economy dominated by the relentless expansion of online commerce.

If Super Micro Computer transforms the East Brokaw site into a new tech campus, it would become the third major hub for the tech company and create a triangle of employment with points all within a mile of each other.

The company’s headquarters at present is located at 980 Rock Ave. in San Jose.

The site that Super Micro Computer has just bought has a long history of usage by high-profile — even iconic — businesses, Fry’s among them.

Here’s a summary of which companies have occupied the 550 East Brokaw site, and when, according to a report prepared that architecture firm TreanorHL prepared for the state Parks and Recreation Department in 2021:

— Levi Strauss & Co. distribution center, 1969 to 1979

— Tandem Computers leased the former distribution center from 1981 to 1983

— Televideo Systems, a computer hardware firm, occupied the building from 1985 to 1995

— Fry’s Electronics opened a retail store in 1996 and closed the store in 2021 when the iconic retailer abruptly ceased all operations

Super Micro Computer accomplished the East Brokaw property purchase at a time when the tech company’s sales have hopped higher and profits have soared.

During the 12 months that ended in December, the company earned $732.4 million on revenue of $9.25 billion.

Over the one-year period that ended in June 2023, the company earned $640 million on revenue of $7.12 billion.


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