North First Campus, a 1.8-million-square-foot, 43-acre master planned office campus being developed by Lowe Enterprises and an affiliate of Five Mile Capital Partners, has been Pre-Certified for LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the first plan in Silicon Valley to be LEED-ND Pre-Certified and is one of only seven certifications in California. The LEED-ND rating system promotes smart locations, neighborhood designs which reduce vehicle miles traveled, communities where jobs and services are accessible by foot or public transit, and projects that facilitate more efficient use of energy and water.
“Our approach to North First Campus from the outset was to embrace green building principles for every aspect of the project. We devised a master plan and guiding principles for the development that would ensure the creation of an eco-friendly environment and provide an efficient use of natural resources. The LEED-ND Pre-Certification acknowledges that our plans will accomplish this goal,” said Rick Newman, CEO of Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group. “We are creating an environment at North First that fosters the new work dynamic. The Campus is designed to create collaborative indoor and outdoor work spaces to take advantage of California’s temperate climate. We have been very deliberate in the layout and planning of the outdoor spaces to ensure that they function well for recreation and socializing and as informal gathering spots for making connections and sharing ideas.”
Pre-Certification is for projects that are entitled but not yet built and recognizes the development’s holistic approach to sustainability issues that incorporate principles of smart growth, walkable urbanism and green building design at the neighborhood scale. Upon completion of North First Campus all buildings will be at least LEED Silver certified and the project will receive the final LEED-ND certification.
North First Campus is situated in an area of San Jose that is planned for higher density development and is located directly across from the VTA Component Light-Rail Station. These are key elements for LEED-ND as the station provides public transportation linkages to the other parts of the area and region and encourages pedestrian friendly neighborhoods.
“Congratulations to Lowe Enterprises on the award of Silicon Valley’s first LEED-ND rating Pre-Certification for the proposedNorth First Campus,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. “This rating will serve Lowe Enterprises well as it promotes its premier development siteto Silicon Valley technology companies seekingexpansion space. I thank Lowe Enterprises and Five Mile Capital Partners for its significant investment in North San Jose and applaud thedesign team on its efforts.”
North First Campus draws its inspiration from great neighborhood streets, such as Fillmore and Union Streets in San Francisco. Its plan focuses on an integrated, walkable environment that weaves outdoor open spaces into a network of pedestrian and bicycle paths. Campus Way, the project’s main street, is envisioned as a tree-lined thoroughfare fronted with creative workspaces and related business amenities as well as storefront shops and cafes. A highlight of the Campus is the abundant and varied open spaces. Pocket parks provide furnished outdoor meeting rooms, work spaces and spots for relaxation. Urban Plaza, at the entrance of Campus Way, is an attractive public space that will be programmed with a series of events including a local Farmers Market, live entertainment and food truck gatherings. The Campus Commons, a large grassy area in the center of the property with an adjacent community building that includes a basketball court, tennis court, fitness facility and lap pool, is a focal point for North First Campus offering a spot for larger-scale gatherings, product launches, casual recreation, organized sports and events.
“In contrast to many campuses being built in Silicon Valley, it is important to us for North First to be open and integrated into the community. This led to our focus on creating events, such as the Farmers Market, which will bring in local farmers, and to making strong physical connections to the extensive Guadalupe Trail, a bike and pedestrian walkway,” noted Newman.
Landscape at North First Campus will feature drought tolerant and native plants. A native habitat along the periphery restores native plants and wildlife to the site, provides a natural way to treat storm water, and offers bike trails and walking paths.
North First Campus features nine buildings located along Campus Way ranging in size from 150,000 to 350,000 square feet with large 30,000 to 42,000 square-foot floor plates. Designed to LEED Silver and Gold standards, the buildings will reduce energy and water use and will be managed to promote recycling and composting as well as green cleaning practices.
“North First Campus is an example of how we are taking a more advanced approach to issues of sustainability and resilience, which are increasingly a concern for the next generation of workers,” said Lewis Knight, Firmwide Director of Planning and Urban Design at Gensler. “Unlike a traditional campus, with buildings clustered around parking lots, North First Campus demonstrates a new suburban density on light rail that supports the new work model.”
Lowe Enterprises established its San Francisco office in 1980 and has a long and active history of development and investment in the Bay Area. In addition to North First Campus, the firm’s current Northern California projects include the 860,000-square-foot Centennial Gateway adjacent to Levi’s stadium in Santa Clara with joint venture partner Montana Property Group, and a mixed-use project to be developed at the 55-acre Santa Clara County Civic Center.