Park Habitat Project in San Jose Net Zero Initiative Breaks Ground on Earth Day

Vancouver, CANADA

Park Habitat Project in San Jose Net Zero Initiative Breaks Ground on Earth Day, April 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Earth Day, Westbank, Urban Community, Peterson and OPTrust are breaking ground on the first project to be constructed in a largescale net zero initiative in downtown San Jose. Designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma, Park Habitat will create 1.3M sf of low-carbon workspace and retail, as well as an expansion space for the adjacent Tech Interactive. The project is part of an overall campus vision to bring the ingredients of community - housing, workspace, retail, public space, amenities and nature – into the center of Silicon Valley. Comprising seven projects across downtown San Jose, as a collection, the campus aims to achieve net zero carbon lifecycle for both operational and embodied carbon.

"San Jose is proud to celebrate the start of construction on one of the first fully net zero carbon workspaces in the nation on Earth Day.” Said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Through Westbank and Urban Community's collaboration, Park Habitat will bring a vibrant mixed-use hub focused on creating community to our downtown, uniquely balanced with our role as a world leader in the fight against climate change."

"The Park Habitat project emphasizes the unique opportunity for San Jose to become a world leader in responding to climate change while developing an active, vibrant, and ultimately inspiring community in our city's core,” said Councilmember Raul Peralez, who represents Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. “I look forward to watching this development and the connected projects unfold in the years ahead, as we continue to build a sustainable city where everyone can live, work, and play."

The first new development in the campus, Park Habitat will be among the most sustainable buildings of its kind, achieving net zero carbon across its lifecycle. The project’s innovative design includes a high-performance façade, water reuse, landscape and wetland integration, as well as a ‘green-lung’ atrium for natural ventilation and light throughout. To reduce embodied and operational carbon to the greatest extent possible, the project will leverage low-carbon building materials, and connect to an all-electric district energy system developed by Creative Energy. Any remaining carbon emissions will be mitigated through on-site renewable energy generation and local, high-quality offsets. From an emissions perspective, it will be as if Park Habitat was never constructed.

In a collaboration with The Tech Interactive, the project will create a 60,000 sf expansion space for the science center, envisioned as an anchor and connection point for a vibrant, active public realm that will support the growth of the surrounding cultural district.

“This space will serve our community in new and exciting ways. We are thrilled for the opportunity to expand our ability to inspire the next generation’s problem-solving skills and to serve as a hub of connection,” said The Tech Interactive President and CEO Katrina Stevens. “For more than 35 years, our programs have sparked STEAM confidence and career aspirations for students, supported educators in innovative methods of teaching, and delighted the community with technology-focused experiences. This project will deepen our impact and the world’s ability to solve some of its biggest challenges including climate change.”

“San Jose has emerged as the natural future hub for Silicon Valley and the ingredients needed for intelligent city-building have converged there, creating the opportunity for a new typology.” Said Westbank founder, Ian Gillespie. “At this moment in history, it’s time we question the basic building blocks of our communities. We are destroying the environment we depend on, we are spending hours a day commuting, our work environments are uninspiring and unhealthy and so is much of our housing. Our initiative in San Jose is part of our commitment to cities and to creating healthier, more sustainable communities within them. We believe this has never been more important and that all of us have a role to play in this endeavor.

San Jose presents the opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the solutions to our greatest challenges can be achieved by helping our cities live up to their full potential. Our Park Habitat project marks a starting point in what we hope will become a broader contribution to Silicon Valley as a whole.”

“It’s a pleasure to be working with such forward-thinking collaborators at the City of San Jose and the Tech Interactive.” Said Andrew Jacobson, VP US Development at Westbank. “San Jose is setting the bar globally for commitments to climate action and our net zero campus will be an important step towards helping realize their ambitious sustainability goals. All of these projects are incredibly complex to develop and the City has been a great partner in helping them progress. We’re looking forward to continuing our work together.”

“Our vision for San Jose has always been to place community at its core, with projects that put people first. Our net zero campus initiative is part of this vision, to help San Jose become a global model for community-building and sustainable, people-centric cities.” Said Gary Dillabough, co-founder of Urban Community. “This initiative has been years in the making and with Park Habitat breaking ground today we’re only just getting started. This project is a shared achievement for us, our partners, the City of San Jose and the community as a whole and we can’t wait to share what’s next in the near future.”

Designed to blur the lines between nature and the built environment, renowned architect Kengo Kuma imagines Park Habitat as a living structure, blending deep sustainability and natural elements with workspace, public realm space and cultural programming. The project ‘breathes’ with an outsized vertical courtyard called the Green Lung, providing ventilation and cooling. Natural elements of pockets gardens, a rooftop forest and a unique vegetative façade are integrated throughout, giving life to the building, while providing access to nature and the outdoors to occupants.

For the past year, the project team has been completing siteworks in preparation for construction. As of today, construction on Park Habitat has commenced, with the project set to complete in 2025.


Park Habitat Renderings

About the Net Zero Campus

The goal for downtown San Jose is to create a sustainable community for the creative economy, that brings companies and their teams out of suburban industrial parks and re-connects them with the urban environment. Developed in partnership by Westbank, Urban Community, Peterson and OPTrust, the Silicon Valley initiative is a masterplan for a net zero carbon campus, bringing together workspace, housing and amenities in downtown San Jose. Designed by a team of world-renowned architects, each of the projects in the campus represent themes centered on the creation of community and responding to climate change. Over the next decade, the campus will create over 4 million sf of workspace and 1,000 rental homes.

About Westbank

Westbank is a practice dedicated to the creation of inspiring environments. We fundamentally believe in the power of well-functioning cities and the overarching values best described as the common good - that the solutions to our greatest challenges will be found in helping our cities live up to their full potential. Established 30 years ago, Westbank is a private company that partners with likeminded global organizations to become ever more impactful. We concentrate primarily on projects that serve as catalysts for broader change in our core cities of focus: Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, Tokyo and San Jose. As a global leader in net zero development and the co-owner of one of North America's largest district energy providers, we are committed to largescale net zero carbon initiatives. Our body of work includes residential, hotels, retail, creative workspace, district energy, affordable housing, exhibitions and public art, with over $50B of projects completed or under development. As our practice has evolved, we have woven together an ecosystem of cultural enterprises including restaurants, gyms, spas, music venues, private members clubs, fashion, dance schools and food halls. We bring this ecosystem to life through collaborations with some of the most talented artists, architects, designers and entrepreneurs in the world. We look for every opportunity to strengthen the bonds that unite us – to create shared experiences that bring people together and help build more inspiring, sustainable communities. Through these and other endeavors, our evolution continues as we become a cultural platform for the creative city.

About Urban Community

Urban Community is a local development practice with strong connections to the community of San Jose.

They collaborate with community members, designers, technologists, city officials, and builders alike to re-envision downtown San Jose. They are redefining urbanism and community equity while pragmatically experimenting with "Smart City" initiatives. Their hope is that Downtown San Jose will be a city designed to adapt and support the rapidly changing way we all live. They are shaping San Jose into a people-first city; a city with a soul.

Urban Community's projects include 227 N 1st Street, The Armory, San Jose Theater and AMC Theater.

About Peterson

Peterson Group (“Peterson”) is a family-owned private entrepreneurial company based in Hong Kong and Vancouver. The company has expanded over the past sixty years from a humble trading company sharing a single desk to a thriving and diversified international group. Today Peterson has businesses in various sectors and different regions of the world, while remaining true to the fundamental values on which the company was founded: integrity, entrepreneurship and partnership. We pride ourselves on our reputation of building lasting relationships with partners, stakeholders, and community groups, continuing to establish our presence as a reliable and trustworthy partner and market leader, and above all else, making positive contributions to the communities in which we live and work. The principal business of Peterson is investments in property globally, crossing asset classes and strategies. In addition, Peterson has investments in private equity, venture capital, private debt and asset management. Throughout our history, Peterson has owned, developed and managed a diverse portfolio of projects including residential, office, hotel, retail, industrial and mixed-use. Across North America, Peterson’s interests include ownership in over 10 million square feet of commercial property, over 2,400 units of residential and hospitality, and participation in the development of another 14.0 million square feet.

About OPTrust

With net assets of over $25 billion, OPTrust invests and manages one of Canada's largest pension funds and administers the OPSEU Pension Plan (including OPTrust Select), a defined benefit plan with over 100,000 members. OPTrust is a global investor in a broad range of asset classes including Canadian and foreign equities, fixed income, real estate, infrastructure and private markets, and has a team of highly experienced investment professionals located in Toronto, London and Sydney.

About the Tech Interactive

The Tech Interactive is a family-friendly science and technology center in the heart of downtown San Jose. Our hands-on activities, experimental labs and design challenge experiences empower people to innovate with creativity, curiosity and compassion. The Tech is a world leader in the creation of immersive STEAM education resources to develop the next generation of problem-solvers locally, nationally and globally. We believe that everyone is born an innovator who can change the world for the better.

Inspiring the innovator in everyone. |

Katie Duckhorn 

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