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St. James Plaza

The century-old St. James Plaza in downtown San Jose began life as a Masonic Scottish Rite temple. After decades of use as business offices, the stunning nine-story glass-and-brick building began losing tenants to newer commercial complexes due to management neglect and aging infrastructure. By 2006, when Embarcadero Capital Partners, LLC, purchased the building, occupancy had declined to 20 percent. The new owners redesigned the main lobby and common areas, defined a project plan to update the mechanical infrastructure, and in 2008, hired Orchard Commercial to manage the property.

Challenge

Effectively manage St. James Plaza to retain existing tenants and attract new credit tenants to increase the overall occupancy rate. Complete renovations to restore the building to its rightful place as a jewel of San Jose's historic business district.

Execution

  • Assigned an experienced, responsive property manager to create positive relationships with tenants.
  • Oversaw upgrades to the water, cooling, ventilation, and energy management systems.
  • Assisted with the recruitment of a new building engineer and property management administrator.
  • Supported Embarcadero Capital's leasing efforts to attract new tenants.

Results

St. James Plaza's reputation as an outstanding business address was enhanced by a first-rate property management team. Embarcadero Capital signed new leases with ZER01, an organization dedicated to presenting the world's most innovative artists; Fat Spaniel Technologies, a much-sought-after renewable energy startup; and the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. By mid-2009, overall occupancy of St. James Plaza had risen to 70 percent.

"Orchard's team has made all the difference. They all know what's going on, and they all pay attention to detail. They aren't just dealing with the nuts and bolts. They have a global understanding of a project."
—Jill Benitez, Director of Property Operations, Embarcadero Capital