The Art of Historic Preservation

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Construction Of Public Assembly Venues in Silicon Valley

Pier 30-32, San Francisco, CA.
In spite of the poor economy, plans for the construction modern public assembly venues in and around the Silicon Valley continue at a feverish pace. There are some very high profile projects current underway as discussions about a possible new stadium for the Golden State Warriors gain momentum. The America's Cup debut in San Francisco has prompted some major improvements to the waterfront areas around Pier 30 and 32. The City of S.F. is spending $7-$8 million dollars to overhaul the pier in preparation of September's event. The plan is to use the piers to house up to five (5) sailing teams.
Piers 30/32
San Francisco

The City of San Francisco has been looking for ways to upgrade and utilize this area for many years. The piers are in such bad shape they have been unable to handle heavy truck traffic for years. With the spectators village planned for Piers 27-29, the restoration of Piers 30-32 would be a huge plus the City's tourism industry.
Original Rendering of Pier 30-32
After Renovations for America's Cup Race

There has been quite a bit of speculation about the use of the piers after the conclusion of the America's Cup races. Initially, the plan was for Larry Ellison to develop the area, with huge tax breaks and incentives from the City of San Francisco, of course. The plan called for a new waterfront residential and retail complex with access to public transit; within walking distance to AT&T Park. However, the negotiations between Larry Ellison and the City of San Francisco broke down and the plans were scrapped. Since that time, there have been rumors about the city developing the piers for cruise ship traffic. There has even been talk of removing the piers all together.
America's Cup
Rendering of Pier 27

Pier 30-32
May  2010

New Warrior's Stadium, San Francisco, Ca.
The most intriguing conversations involving the long term future of Piers 30-32 have been the proposed development of a new stadium for the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors currently reside across the Bay at Oakland's Oracle Arena and have been looking for a new home since the new owners took control 17 months ago. The proposed stadium sit at the base of the SF Bay Bridge, would seat 17-19,000 people and would cost approximately $500 million. The development would also include 100,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. According to Mayor Ed Lee, the investment group would be responsible for funding the construction of the new stadium, there would be no new taxes or money from the City's general fund.

Rendering of New Warrior's Stadium
at Pier 30-32 S.F.

The Old FMC Site
Home of Earthquake Stadium
Earthquake Stadium, San Jose, Ca.
A privately funded, soccer specific stadium is currently under construction for San Jose's MLS Franchise, the San Jose Earthquakes. The new stadium will seat 18,000 people, it will have 12 luxury suites and cost approximately $60 million. The project is privately financed and will include a mixture of residential, retail, R&D and possible hotel development.
Artist Rendering of
New Earthquake Sadium

The owner of the Earthquakes and developer of this state of the art MLS stadium is Lew Wolff. Mr. Wolff is also the owner of the Oakland A's baseball franchise. Coincidentally, the Oakland A's have been in a long running battle with the SF Giants over the rights to move the franchise to the South Bay. Could there be another stadium project in the South Bay's future?

49er Stadium, Santa Clara, Ca.
The voter approved stadium will cost over $1 Billion when all is said and done. The City of Sana Clara will borrow $850 Million from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and U.S. Bank to fund the project. In addition, to the loans secured by the City of Santa Clara, the NFL has given the 49ers a $200 million loan to complete the deal. The new stadium will feature 9,000 premium club seats, 150 luxury boxes and a total seating capacity of 68.500.
Construction Begins at 49er Stadium

Turner Construction is the general contractor for this project scheduled for opening in September 2014.
Rendering of New 49ers Stadium

San Jose McEnery Convention Center Expansion, San Jose, Ca.
SJ Convention Center
Under Construction
The San Jose Convention Center is undergoing a much needed $120 Million expansion in upgrade of their facilities.
The expansion will add 125,000 square feet of flexible space to the facility; this will include 35,000 square feet of flexible Ballroom and 25,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.
In 2009, the local hotels instituted a special hotel occupancy tax to help finance the expansion of the convention center. The new facility is scheduled to open in Fall 2013.
Rendering of SJCC Expansion

Other Notable Projects

Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco, CA.
S.F. is planning a $500 million expansion to their 700,000 square foot convention center. The facility's re-grand opening is schedule for 2018.

Rendering of SFMOA

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Ca.
SFMOMA is undergoing a $325 million expansion project that will double the current square footage. The grand re-opening is scheduled for 2016.

Silicon Valley's Top 5 Construction Projects

Current  Silicon Valley Construction projects in progress...

No. 5: Palo Alto Medical Foundation San Carlos Center

Total square feet: 419,755

Address: 301 Industrial Road, San Carlos 94070
No. 5: Palo Alto Medical Foundation San Carlos Center
Total square feet: 419,755
Address: 301 Industrial Road, San Carlos 94070
Rendering Courtesy of NBBJ

No. 4: The Plaza at Triton Park (Phase A)

Total square feet: 425,000

Address: 1168 Triton Drive, Foster City 94404
No. 4: The Plaza at Triton Park (PhaseA)
Total square feet: 425,000
Address: 1168 Triton Drive, Foster City 94404

No. 3: Santa Clara Gateway

Total square feet: 450,000

Address: 5451, 5453 & 5455 Great America Parkway, Santa
Clara 95054
Total square feet: 450,000
Address: 5451, 5453 & 5455 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara 95054
Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction

No. 2: 3333 Scott Blvd., Buildings A, B, & C
Total square feet: 460,000Address: 3333 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara 95054
No. 2: 3333 Scott Blvd., Buildings A, B, & C
Total square feet: 460,000
Address: 3333 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara 95054

Total square feet: 1.9 million
Address: 4900 Centennial Blvd., Santa Clara 95054
Turner/Devcon Construction

Source: Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal ArticleJune 22, 2012by Lemery Reyes, Researcher

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Top 5 Silicon Valley Business Complexes

#5  Intel
2200 Mission Blvd. 95054
Santa Clara, CA.

2.8 Million Square Feet

#4 Morgan Hill Ranch
18555 Butterfield Blvd. 95037
Morgan Hill, CA.

3 Million Square Feet

#3 Google Shoreline
1600 Amphitheater Parkway 94043
Mountain View, CA.

4.5 Million Square Feet

#2 Cisco Systems Campus
170 W Tasman Drive. 95134
San Jose, CA.

7.3 Million Square Feet

#1 Stanford Research Park
1501 Page Mill Road 94304
Palo Alto, CA.

10 Million Square Feet

 Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal
July 13, 2012
Jon Xavier
Research Reporter Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Affinity For Architecture

My affinity for architecture and buildings is something that has evolved over the past 15 years. Prior to my experience as a facility manager/operator, my interest in buildings was strictly superficial. As a production manager, my job was to move shows in and out of various venues in the most cost efficient, safe and timely manner possible; that's was it. There were only a few things about public assembly venues where I produced shows that really concerned me; where is the location of the loading dock?, where is the location of the Box Office and the dressing/green room(s)?, is the HVAC system functional? Unless it was a really "special" venue, the building's architecture, design and history was a passing interest at best

San Jose Civic Auditorium
I'd worked at the San Jose Civic Auditorium as a production coordinator and stage manager on several occasions during the mid 1980s. The Civic Auditorium was one of those "special" buildings because of it's age and it's length of "service" in the production arena. The building opened in 1934 and had a long history as one of the premiere Rock and Roll venues in the South Bay. The number of big time performers that appeared at the venue, (James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Carlos Santana, BB King just to name a few.), it's classic exterior and antique mechanical systems made the San Jose Civic Auditorium an interesting venue to produce events.
Montgomery Theater 1936
San Jose Civic Auditorium Complex
Unfortunately, It was also a very costly venue to produce shows in. Over the decades since its opening, traveling productions and the equipment required to stage them have gotten much more complicated. When the Civic Auditorium opened in the mid 1930s, the logistical needs of touring shows were significantly less complicated. The lack of adequate loading dock space at the Civic meant more time to unload, set up and strike a show. This meant more union staff which equates to more labor cost. Add to this problem, the 4 decade old lighting and PA system, insufficient restroom facilities, poor concession, lack parking and show producers had host of issues to address when working at the San Jose Civic.

In 1989, I went to work for the City of San Jose's Convention and Cultural Facilities Department. Once again, I was working at the Civic Auditorium however this time I was seeing the building for the perspective of the facility operator. Having been in the client seat on many occasions, it was interesting to manage from the owner/operator seat. The biggest adjustment for me came when I learned of the City's managerial and operational methodology. The City of San Jose was not interested in turning a profit with any of their theaters or public assembly venues. (This was truly a case of cultural shock for me.) However, it was the mindset many municipalities at the time; convention and assembly venues are designed to be economic engines for surrounding businesses. Turning a profit was not the goal, however you strive to please your customer which in turn supports your downtown business owners. This is a noble idea but it has some inherent problems. Most notably, a lack of profitability means a lack of funds for repair or upgrades to your capital facilities. (This explains the 4 decades old lighting and PA systems we encountered as clients at the Civic.)

California Theater , 1927
Another issue was the cumbersome process for upgrading the facility's infrastructure. Money for upgrading the facility(s) came from the city's general fund; there was no separate account for the Convention and Cultural Facilities. Not only was the CCF department required to lobby for funding, it often involved competition from other city departments. This resulted in delays in maintenance projects, which necessitated shoddy "quick fix" and patch work repairs.

As a client and tenant of the Civic, I often wondered why this beautiful, classic, historic facility was in such bad shape. It wasn't until I understood the owners business model that this whole tragedy began to make since. I was surprised to know there was actually a method behind the madness of letting an historic structure deteriorate right before our eyes. The Civic Auditorium was one of seven buildings operated by the City of San Jose's Convention and Cultural Facilities Department. Each building is unique; designed and built at different periods of the city's history, for different functions. This is where my interest in buildings, their design and their historical significance first began to take root.

There are many pitfalls when managing buildings that have been in existence since the height of the great depression. The most common pitfall of the "mix-n-match" methods of modifications, repairs and upgrades employed by the various facility managers/operators over the decades. Boilers from the 1930s mixed with plumbing that was upgraded in the 1950s; windows installed in the 1930's replaced/repaired over the decades with windows of various origins over. Or, equipment that cannot be repaired because the item(s) have been discontinued or the manufacturer no longer exist. These are just a few of the inefficiencies that exist from a facility life-cycle perspective.

McEnery Convention Center 1989
As a client, I often scoffed at paying electrical bills at public facilities. When I first started in the concert business, you rarely heard about charges for power and electricity. The cost were usually part of the facility rental or figured as part the Box Office percentage and therefore rarely acknowledged. When I began working at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, it didn't take long for me to begin to understand the enormous cost and the enormous amount of waste that occurs during the course of operating a  public facilities. At one point in the early 1990s, the convention center's electrical bill averaged over $100,000.00 per month. There were many reasons for the outrageous cost of power; the lack of energy efficient lighting,  lack of information and poor employee training just to name a few...If you consider the fact that the convention center has 144,000 sq.ft. of exhibit hall space with 30' tall ceilings and 2' thick concrete floors, the power cost may make some sense. However, when you rent the exhibit halls at thirty eight (38) cents per square foot, you can imagine that the moment you open the doors and turn on the lights, the operation is loosing money; at least most operations would be. However, convention centers are not your typical business operation. Without going into a long, drawn-out explanation, convention centers receive a percentage of the occupancy (TOT) taxes paid to the city or county by hotels and restaurants. This is why convention centers focus on attracting events that have large blocks of guaranteed out of town visitors; more hotel room bookings, more restaurant patrons, more business for retail shops means more taxes for local government, and a percentage of that goes to the operator of the facility. 

Operating a convention center can be a lucrative endeavor given the right environment. A "first tier" city like San Francisco, that attracts major events and conventions from around the globe, is able to generate tremendous amounts of tax revenue from conventions at the Moscone Convention Center. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of first tier cities in the country. The rest of the convention centers are constantly competing to maintain their current client base while looking for new innovative ways to attract new business and increase revenue.
Center for the Performing Arts- 1972 it comes to finding ways of increasing revenue, I find it interesting that energy conservation is usually not the first topic of discussion when talking with operators of public facilities. Don't get me wrong, it may be a  part of the conversation and it may be part of the "plan" but it is rarely fully implemented. Part of this reason is people have a difficult time letting go of routine. I know that sounds simplistic but it is a fact.  There were many an evening when I'd walk into a 50,000 where a small work crew  were cleaning up and the air conditioning is operating at full power along with the exhibit hall lighting. Or, times I'd walk through the building, hours after closing, and find all the escalators still operating. Sometimes were were operating our HVAC system at a cost of $5000.00 per shift to make the rooms "comfortable" for the crews to work in. I hindsight, it wasn't just San Jose's facilities that operated in this way, it was that way many convention centers, arenas and stadiums I'd toured through. It would not be unusual to walk through areas of the facility that have been empty for hours and the place is still lit up like it's show time.

ParkSide Hall- 1972
Inefficiencies like this in public facility management and operations is not only a common phenomenon, it's solution can be critical to the long-term sustainability of many public assembly venues. The need to develop more energy efficient methods for operating buildings is what peaked my interest and led me to the projects I'm so passionate about today.

Though I've spent my career in theaters, auditoriums and assembly facilities, I've developed a very serious interest in the origins of Silicon Valley's technology leaders. I'm fascinated by the stories of Silicon Valley start-ups; major companies whose founders began as engineers and students and whose products and research have reshaped our world. 
The Silicon Valley has a fascinating history. From it's beginning as an outpost for early Spanish settlers, to it's distinction as the center of the world's fresh fruit, produce and canning industry of the world to today's recognition as the technology capital of the world, the Silicon Valley is full of interesting facts, people and places. Many of the valley's best stories are told through it's architecture.  The Winchester Mystery House, the Garage where David Packard and Bill Hewlett started their engineering company, the house where Google began and Cisco Systems' first office are all part of the valley's rich history.

Donner-Houghton Mansion
Destroyed by Fire July 2007
Over the past couple of decades, the valley has lost some of its' most treasured historic structures and buildings. Fire, neglect and ignorance have been the leading causes of the historic losses our communities have suffered in recent years. Unfortunately, many of these historic properties have little or no documentation. Records don't exist or perhaps have not been properly maintained or updated over time. As these properties are damaged or destroyed, the lack of proper records makes rebuilding them next to impossible. Often times photographs are the only documentation of these historic properties.

Today's technology allows for detailed, hands-free documentation of these valuable community resources. Proper documentation of these precious community resources is vital to the cultural identity of our neighborhoods and communities. This is the goal of this online journal. I want to digitally document these unique structures for future generations.

IBM Historic Building #25
Destroyed by Fire March 2008

The neighborhoods and communities of the Silicon Valley are home to some of the most successful high tech companies in the world. Many of these companies began as small start ups and have grown into world leaders in fields from artificial intelligence and aerospace technology to computer architecture and software development. The impact of the individuals and work conducted in these buildings has been felt around the world. While many of the buildings where these Silicon Valley giants got their start are simple and nondescript, there is no doubting their contribution to the way we live our lives today.

For those of you who are familiar with "Capturing History", NVentum's collaborative documentation project with History San Jose, the concept of digitally documenting historic architecture for  is nothing new. What is different about this blog and its' goals is the nature and definition of "historic architecture". Most of the buildings at the San Jose History Park were relocated from other areas of the city after having been designated as "historic structures".
Historic Kelley House
Destroyed by Fire February 2012

Unlike the Capturing History project, the buildings on this blog are not necessarily "historic" or have yet to receive historic recognition from any formal sanctioning body. The buildings on this blog represent my list of historic, iconic Silicon Valley architecture. My dream is to document as many of these iconic buildings as possible for future generations.   

I would like for visitors to come to this blog, click on the building of their choice and be re-directed to an interactive 3D model of the facility. This would not have to be the entire facility, perhaps just the main lobby or a room(s) that has had some historic significance for the company or the Silicon Valley. I believe this would be a great educational tool as well as an interesting documentation tool.

For people who work in some of the Valley's leading tech firms, this idea is going to sound a bit unrealistic. Anyone who is familiar with SV firms recognize the huge hurdles one would have to clear to make such a idea possible. Silicon Valley companies are notoriously suspicious and borderline paranoid about industrial espionage, theft and intellectual properties. Over the past several months, I have contacted several SV high tech firms to discuss the possibility of digitally documenting a portion of their facility and the response has been less than enthusiastic. The key to the success of such a project is educating the facility operators/owners. It is important to understand the limitations of laser scanning technology; we can't steal your ideas with the laser. The laser scanner cannot scan through walls, into desk or behind closed doors. However given what's at stake I can't really blame high tech companies for being ultra sensitive and on the alert for industrial espionage and theft. 

Pasetta House at SJ History Park
Laser Scan/Texture Map by Ken Hanna
In the meantime, NVentum's work with History San Jose continues. Our focus is the documentation the 14 acre park,  all 32 historic buildings and the documentation of the museum's massive artifact collection. Our immediate goal is to create the world's first virtual museum exhibit featuring the Historic Pasetta House at the San Jose History Museum. The plan for the Pasetta exhibit is to create two (2) temporary exhibits; one will be displayed at San Jose City Hall, the other will go on display at the San Jose Mineta Airport. A third, permanent exhibit will be located at San Jose's History Park. These interactive, fully navigable exhibits will allow visitors to take a virtual walk-thru of the historic buildings, view and read about the artwork on display and the artist who created them. The concept of virtual museums and virtual tours is no longer limited to collections of high definition photos or restricted by the location and number of video cameras mounted with the exhibit area.

For more on the Capturing History Project, please visit our online journal at
Pasetta House
Laser Scan/Texture Map by Ken Hanna