San Jose hotel tower sale greenlit for SJSU student housing

San Jose city council unanimously approved the sale of the Signia by Hilton hotel to San Jose State University for student housing.

The front entrance of the Signia by Hilton Hotel in downtown San Jose.

The Signia by Hilton Hotel in San Jose

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San Jose State students are one step closer to having more options for housing.

This week, City Council approved a sale between SJSU and downtown’s Signia by Hilton Hotel to convert its south tower — containing 264 rooms — into student housing.

See what all the buzz is about concerning this sale.

🛎️ A deal’s a deal

Earlier this year, the owners of Signia by Hilton put up the south tower for sale, as San Jose’s wobbly hotel industry posed challenges for the former Fairmont Hotel.

University officials confirmed earlier this month that SJSU had interest in the site, and said that this opportunity would lower the hotel’s vacancy + involve the students with revitalizing downtown.

With more than 28,000 undergraduate students at SJSU, the hotel deal fell in line with the school’s ongoing effort to combat student housing insecurity.

The Campus Village Apartments on San Jose State University's campus from a ground-level perspective.

The Campus Village Buildings are the only residences with suites on SJSU’s campus — completed in 2005.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

🛏️ Boosting beds + bunks

When SJSU released its report on the Silicon Valley Pain Index in 2022, they found that 11.2% of the university’s students struggle with housing insecurity.

As of this year, San Jose State has been pushing forward with more housing projects around campus:

  • Campus Village 3 — This $334 million investment will replace the old Washburn Hall dorm with two new buildings, which would accommodate over 1,000 beds. It’s expected to finish in the summer of 2027.
  • Alfred E. Alquist state office building — Located across from Hammer Theater, this project will reimagine the property into graduate student, faculty, and staff housing, with ~1,000 apartment units. The earliest expected opening date is in 2027.

👀 A new look

This new project, dubbed “Spartan Village on the Paseo,” will bring tons of amenities to students, including:

  • Meeting rooms and study spaces, including a sky bridge lounge
  • Fitness room
  • Gaming lounge
  • Film + video screening center
  • Conventional meal service, a “Spartan Cafe,” and community kitchen

Each room can accommodate two to four students, and all will include en-suite bathrooms. 100 of the beds will be offered at below-market rates, while the remaining will be priced along university lease rates.

New students enrolling in the fall 2024 semester will be able to apply for housing starting Tuesday, March 5. Current students can begin applying Monday, Feb. 19.

💰 What’s next?

As of November 2023, more details have surfaced concerning the lease agreement + construction timeline.

The $89 million deal will convert the hotel’s south tower into housing for more than 700 students starting in fall 2024. About 120 of those will be affordable beds for students in need.

Throckmorton Partners purchased the south tower for $73.1 million + immediately leased it to SJSU — an additional $40 million will be used fund renovations.

The lease expires in 2056, but the university’s vice president for administration and finance, Charlie Faas, says they’re planning to purchase the tower in December 2025.

Renovations are expected to be finished by August 2024.

We will continue to update this story as more information is released.

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