PwC will soon occupy one of SJ's visual landmarks

Sobrato Tower in San Jose

November 18, 2010 6:05:14 PM PST
The 17-story Sobrato Tower on Almaden Blvd. reflects an eye-catching blue sheen over downtown San Jose by day. By night or on overcast days, the lack of interior lights clearly indicates it's totally vacant. It has been that way since it was completed eight years ago.

"For years, this building was a symbol of the fact that the economy had gone into the tank and was built when times were better. Times have been tough since then, so it's great to see this corner being turned specifically on this building," San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said.

The accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is taking over the top eight floors. It's not going to put a dent in San Jose's 20 percent office vacancy rate because the company's 1,200 employees will be moving out of another downtown office building. Still, there could be welcome economic impact.

"It's also trying to keep 1,200 employees, hopefully to1,300 in the next year downtown, and going to lunch downtown and being around, so I think it should have an on-going economic impact," Rob Gittings from PricewaterhouseCoopers said.

PwC, as Pricewaterhouse is known, will move in next June as it signed a 15-year lease.

PwC will be occupying eight floors. It will take about 200 construction workers six months to outfit the raw space into useable office space. They'll be doing work to the ventilation system and adding a lot of fiber optic cable.

The firm specializes in serving high tech companies, so it will be installing equipment to meet global needs. City leaders say they sense an economic turn-around, not just because of this deal.

"Just in the next few days, we're going to be talking about announcements from companies like SunPower, Equinix, Samsung, Solar Junction -- all of which are opening new offices, new facilities, right here in San Jose," San Jose City Council Member Sam Liccardo said.

Soon, a long-vacant office tower will become a new symbol of a renaissance.