top of page


Tower development eyed in downtown San Jose’s Fountain Alley

SAN JOSE — A mixed-use tower with a curved shape and a dramatic multi-story atrium would replace a surface parking lot next to downtown San Jose’s Fountain Alley, plans by a real estate venture with a global reach show.

The 21-story tower proposed by an alliance of development companies Westbank, headed by Ian Gillespie; and Urban Community, led by Gary Dillabough, would include a mix of homes, offices, retail, restaurants — and a unique 10-story atrium-like “urban room” that could be accessed from the street.

The development, if approved and constructed, would sprout on a 1.25-acre site at 35 S. Second St. in downtown San Jose on the south side of Fountain Alley, plan filed with city officials show.

The tower would likely offer multiple unique and eye-catching features, the city documents reveal.

Among the compelling attributes: a 10-story atrium that could be bordered by balconies from the residential and office areas and be accessible to the public from Fountain Alley and other nearby streets.

The atrium, which Westbank and Dillabough call an “urban room,” would start at the street level and soar upward for nearly half of the total height of the building.

If viewed from above, the tower would feature curved ends on its north and south sides and stretch along South Second Street next to Fountain Alley and the Bank of Italy historic office building.

Ground-floor merchants such as restaurants and nightspots would also be part of the mix, according to preliminary plans that Canada-based Westbank has filed with San Jose city planners. Office lobbies and residential lobbies would also be built on the ground floor.

“The roof terrace hosts extensive landscaping, a running track, and areas for assembly,” Westbank stated in the filing with the city.

Above the street-level floor, the development would include:

— 10 residential floors with 194 one- and two-bedroom units.

— 10 office floors totaling 314,000 square feet.

— A rooftop area with gardens, knolls, lounges, a sundeck, dining areas, quiet zones, and a running track.

The ground floor will include “alleyways, corner paseos, and the urban room,” the Westbank proposal stated.

The street level will also include water features, green islands, and brick pavers in a curved pattern.

“Trees, street furniture, and outdoor seating areas will complement the storefronts,” according to the development plans.

New offices, retail, restaurants, and housing would be added to downtown San Jose — along with a revamp of the historic Bank of Italy tower — as a result of proposals by the venture of Westbank and Dillabough’s Urban Community. Westbank has achieved world acclaim as a developer under the leadership of its founder Gillespie.

The new projects would occur at the Fountain Alley surface parking lot at 35 S. Second St., the Davidson office building site near the interchange of State Route 87 and West Julian Street, and the old Bo Town property at South Second Street and East San Salvador Street, city files show.

Plus, Westbank and Urban Community also co-own the choice Valley Title lot near the corner of South Second Street and East San Carlos Street, which means another major proposal is likely in the works for that large property in downtown San Jose.

“Westbank and Gary Dillabough are planting seeds throughout our downtown that will spur the interest and imagination of others,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a recent interview with this news organization.


bottom of page