SiliconSage Builders

SiliconSage picSiliconSage Builders specializes in condo and mixed-use developments that meet the needs of its target demographic in Silicon Valley.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

SiliconSage Builders became the pioneers for urban infill condominium and mixed-use projects in Silicon Valley after the 2008 recession and today the firm helps alleviate the area’s housing shortage. The company prides itself on developing game-changing properties that are uniquely designed and always innovative.

“Silicon Valley is transitioning from being suburban to urban,” says Sanjeev Acharya, founder, president and CEO. “We saw an opportunity to meet a growing need for urban housing in underutilized downtown areas. We moved quickly to acquire and entitle properties just as Google, Facebook and Apple were expanding their staffs.”

Acharya worked for 20 years as a software engineer at various companies in Silicon Valley before launching the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company in 2011. Although he made a significant career change, Acharya did not come into the industry unprepared. For more than a decade prior he had bought and sold real estate, an activity that piqued his interest in construction and honed his skills for a transition into the residential market.

In 2007, Acharya purchased residential property in Sunnyvale and decided to subdivide it to build two single-family homes. This project would launch his career. Over time, SiliconSage Builders has transitioned from single-family homes to townhouses and condominiums – the current focus of the company’s construction.

Today, SiliconSage Builders offers in-house acquisition, design, construction and sales teams to oversee its multifamily developments. “As a fully integrated company, it helps us have better control over the process, as well as control over the quality,” Acharya says. “We take what we learn from each project and we apply that to the next development.”

Successful Approach

Acharya prefers the challenges presented by condominium projects, many of which he builds as mixed-use developments. “I came into the industry with a high-tech background and I take a different approach to solving problems and keep an open mind,” Acharya says. “I have a different business DNA; I am wired differently. I have the ability to learn quickly and process information quickly. 

Specifically, business traits such as out-of-the-box thinking, an aggressive approach, teamwork and a keen understanding of technology helped him succeed from the start. Acharya says developing a space people can be proud to call home is also a very attractive aspect for him. “The excitement around buying a property and calling it home made me more passionate and I want to build that project that continues to get people excited,” he adds. “We want to be at the forefront of pushing the envelope constantly.” SiliconSage

SiliconSage Builders’ core team consists of about 60 people. The company has more than 200 people working in the field on any given day. “They are all my employees,” Acharya says. “We have a dream team of highly qualified in-house staff and consultants who make the fast-paced growth journey that we have undertaken an exciting and fun process.”

Acharya’s key executives, Jeff Douthit, chief operating officer, and Lily Quan, director of sales and marketing, thrive on speed and agility as standard operating procedure. “Our employees enjoy an environment of innovative projects, steady growth, long-term prospects and a team that treats each other like family,” Acharya adds.

The company is also looking to increase its vendor pool and develop new relationships. “We would invite nationwide and international wholesale suppliers of various products to contact our purchasing department to bid on our projects,” Acharya notes. “Suppliers who can compete well and give us a great product at a great price we would look to develop a long-term relationship. We need people who can understand building 1,000-plus units. One of the things we are focused on over the coming months and years is vendor development in terms of material suppliers from A to Z in the construction industry.”

Sense of Community

Over the past seven years, SiliconSage Builders has completed about 13 projects with a total of 165 units throughout Silicon Valley. The company has four projects under construction that will add 145 for-sale condominiums to Santa Clara, Calif., and bring the company’s total to 350 units in Silicon Valley over the next year-and-a-half.

Downtown Gateway, a mixed-use development, will be the first new home community built in historic Santa Clara’s downtown in 20 years. It will include 44 condos on three floors above 14,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space. Downtown Gateway is walking distance to thousands of technology jobs, shopping, dining and attractions.

The project will include luxury one- to four-bedroom residences that range from 734 square feet to 1,340 square feet along with amenities that include a clubhouse, fitness and meditation room.  Downtown Gateway is expected to be LEED Gold certified. “The Downtown Gateway will be a new lifestyle community pre-selling in the spring,” Acharya says. 

In Fremont, Calif., SiliconSage Builders is building Osgood Residences, a 93-unit condominium development. The company also has another development in Fremont in the design phase that will feature 72 townhomes, 64 apartments and retail space. SiliconSage Builders is also designing a 38-unit apartment building in Sunnyvale that will be completed in 2021.

Expanding in San Jose

SiliconSage Builders last spring broke ground on Almaden Terrace, a 96-unit condominium building in San Jose, Calif. The building will be five stories tall at the front side and four stories in the back to be less intrusive to neighbors. Almaden Terrace will consist of 45,000 square feet and include nearly 200 parking spots in an underground and at-level parking garage.

Almaden Terrace is expected to be ideal for first-time homebuyers and other residents who may not be able to afford a more expensive home in the area. “We focus on the urban lifestyle and are geared toward mixed-use products with proper amenities,” Acharya notes. “We offer residences with the lifestyle aspect that includes retail, dining and shopping all in one.”

With the development of Almaden Terrace, SiliconSage Builders was required by the city to build new curbs, gutters and sidewalks, as well as add trees and streetlights in front, “so it’ll look like a modern city frontage with a safe and pleasant place for people to walk,” the company says. SiliconSage Builders expects to move in tenants later this year.

SiliconSage Builders is also constructing a 101-unit rental building in San Jose. “There is a serious housing shortage in Silicon Valley,” Acharya says. “We want to be innovative and different in good times and bad, and we believe we should give products people will desire.”

As SiliconSage Builders continues to develop the Silicon Valley housing space, it plans to offer homeowners a fully integrated experience complete with artificial intelligence, the latest smart technology and Amazon lockers.

“We understand that the millennials and the new generations have a different taste in products than the prior generations, and we are staying cognizant of that,” Acharya says. “They want to be in walking distance to amenities and to be able to catch a bus, shuttle or cab to go wherever they want. Being aware and gearing towards this market will be key for the evolution of the next generation. We are focused on being on the forefront of that.”

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