Editor’s note: The following story is part of the Business Journal’s 2019 edition of Silicon Valley structures, the annual awards program honoring the region’s top real estate developers, dealmakers, projects and deals. The print edition of the section publishes on Sept. 20. Honorees will be awarded at a Sept. 19 awards gala in downtown San Jose. Click here for tickets.

Members of the Campbell Fruit Growers Union, back in 1892, built a sprawling complex that first served as a fruit processing plant. It now houses retail and office space, including a “hipster” bar, and is a popular destination in downtown Campbell.

The Cannery is an 11-building property. It is a historical resource of the City of Campbell and is one of only a few historic brick and timber buildings in Silicon Valley. Of particular interest are the clerestory windows.

The property served as a retail destination in the 1970s and was repositioned as predominantly office space in the 1980s. In 2013, it was acquired by Four Corners Properties and Rockwood Capital and in its renovation, developers have added retail space.

The property’s recent renovation exposed structural wood elements, industrial steel work and the clerestory windows, with the glass removed and covered by wood and stucco. Workers found bottles, inkwells, railroad tracks and rusted iron spikes.

Size: 104,000 square feet

Cost: $15 million overall, $4 million in interiors

Status: Started June 2017, completed January 2019.

Amenities: With 11 buildings, tenants can lease a site while benefiting from the amenities of a diverse project. The largest building, at 40,000 square feet, has a sawtooth roof and four rows of clerestory windows, allowing in large amounts of natural light. The property is adjacent to the Valley Transportation Authority stop in downtown Campbell.

Tenants: For many years, the property served as a low-cost option for office space in the West Valley. The development team saw potential to attract tech and creative tenants and to achieve rents commensurate with high-end office space in Silicon Valley.

Challenges: The development permit required reviews from the city’s planning department and commission, historic review board, site and architectural committee and city council. Particular attention had to be paid to how new architectural elements would complement historical elements. The property was occupied and is a thoroughfare for pedestrians. The path for pedestrians changed frequently, with plywood walkways and barricades. At some point, each tenant could not access entrance to his or her suite. Demolition revealed structural inadequacies, termite and water damage, and illogical utility routes.

Tidbit: While the design and construction teams were experienced in newer buildings designed as offices, working in The Cannery forced them to rethink things such as finish selections, electrical wiring and fire protection. The work included ADA and seismic upgrades.

Unique features: In the early 1900s, George Henry Hyde used new inventions such as electric motors and conveyor belts to improve the cannery’s efficiency,
documented in a 1921 issue of Canning Age. The design team found the magazine and historic photos, showing what the building looked like 100 years ago, including the clerestory windows.

Key players

Owner/developer: Water Tower Fee Owner, a joint venture between Rockwood Capital and Four Corners Properties

General contractor: South Bay Construction

Architect: Habitec

Leasing brokers: Erik Hallgrimson and Bob Simpson