Big South Bay tech hubs are prepped for coronavirus era

SAN JOSE — A big real estate company whose tenant list reads like a who’s who of the tech world has launched a revamp aimed at transforming some of its Bay Area properties into COVID-ready and green-friendly office hubs.

Hudson Pacific Properties, one of the biggest office property landlords in Silicon Valley, is undertaking upgrades at its Metro Plaza campus in north San Jose and its Page Mill Center complex in Palo Alto.

These two office hubs are one of several Bay Area office centers that Hudson Pacific bought in 2015 from Equity Office.

Since the acquisition, Hudson Pacific has spent more than $240 million to modernize and reposition the Bay Area assets it obtained in the deal, the company said.

The main goals of the capital upgrade, besides an overall modernization: health and wellness and green-friendly improvements, according to Drew Gordon, Hudson Pacific executive vice president of California Office Operations.

“For the health and wellness bucket, we did things like dramatically increase outdoor seating areas at all of our buildings,” Gordon said.

Offices and exterior work and leisure areas at Metro Plaza, 25 Metro Drive in San Jose, concept. // 

At the company’s Metro Plaza in north San Jose, Hudson Pacific is adding 26,000 square feet of spaces with indoor and outdoor access. The overall complex, located a short distance from San Jose International Airport, totals 456,900 square feet.

“We increased the number of fitness centers that were available to our tenants, and we instituted a major bike-share program,” Gordon said. “We have dramatically increased our EV (electric vehicle) charging stations.”

The Metro Plaza upgrades include new fitness and conference centers, three completely renovated lobbies, and more than two acres of outdoor spaces that have been fully re-landscaped.

Common areas and gathering sites in Page Mill Center, 1500 Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, concept. // 

At both Page Mill Center in Palo Alto and Metro Plaza in San Jose, a number of the improvements have protection against the coronavirus as a key objective.

“We are focused on delivering more touchless technologies to our tenants in places like restrooms,” Gordon said. “In a post-COVID world, we are limiting touchpoints with respect to the spread of a virus. We are focused on HVAC systems. We have made sure we have the right air exchanges and the right air filters.”

The upgrades at both Metro Plaza and Page Mill Center were underway before the outbreak of the coronavirus ushered in dramatic changes in how people work, live, play, and learn worldwide. More changes took place with the reality of the deadly bug.

Fitness Center, Metro Plaza office complex, 25 Metro Drive in north San Jose, concept. // 

“We have been making tweaks, adding more indoor and outdoor experiences,” Gordon said. “We took the opportunity to make further improvements based upon current needs.”

The real estate firm also launched a tenant app during the worst of the COVID outbreak.

Hudson Pacific’s tenants in California and other parts of the West Coast include Google, Netflix, Nutanix, Riot Games, Qualcomm, Salesforce, Amazon, Square, Dell, and Uber, regulatory filings show.

“Our tenants have been very positive about the amenities,” Gordon said. “The feedback we are getting is very positive.”

And gradually — but noticeably — tenants have been returning to the office.

“We are seeing that our buildings have been able to absorb the higher density as vaccination rates continue to climb, COVID risks decline, and our tenants repopulate” their offices, Gordon said.

Entry area of Page Mill Center, 1500 Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, concept. // 

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