The Story of MIRO: San Jose’s Tallest Development

By Evelyn Jozsa and

Bayview Development Group's Ted McMahon unveiled the story behind San Jose’s tallest residential project and explained how it will impact the city's multifamily market. Mike DiNapoli of Suffolk Construction revealed why MIRO is part of the "build smart" trend.

San Jose is part of the nation’s largest tech hub and one of the most attractive business destinations. High demand for rental units, population growth and a strong employment market have led to a housing shortage in the city. In response, developers are reaching new heights with residential projects for the tech talent moving in.

MIRO, a 28-story community located on East Santa Clara Street, broke ground in November 2017 and is San Jose’s tallest development. Although the project won’t fix San Jose’s housing crisis, it will impact its downtown area by adding 630 units to existing supply. Residents will be able to choose between one- two- and three-bedroom floorplans, including 16 penthouses. In addition, the high-rise will offer roughly 21,000 square feet of retail space and more than 47,000 square feet of amenity space—rooftop pool as well as fitness, spa and pet facilities. 

Multi-Housing News reached out to Ted McMahon, Chief Investment Officer of developer Bayview Development Group, to find out more about MIRO and the challenges it brought on. Also, Mike DiNapoli, general manager at contractor Suffolk’s Northern California office, discussed the status of the project, scheduled for completion in 2020, and how the company is implementing its “build smart” approach at MIRO Apartments.


What is the current status of the project?

DiNapoli: Suffolk is currently shoring and excavating for the three-level below-grade parking garage and we’re continuously dewatering the site as we work down to the bottom of the hole. We are set to pour foundations and erect the tower crane in advance of vertical construction.

What challenges have you come across so far in developing MIRO? How did you overcome them?

Ted McMahon, CIO, Bayview Development Group

McMahon: We’ve had a variety of challenges but continue to make progress. The cost of construction remains the biggest impediment to building in the Bay Area and MIRO is no exception. The rate at which costs are escalating makes getting clarity as early as possible from our design partners and the municipality critical.

MIRO is part of an ongoing wave of luxury residential development in San Jose’s downtown area. What is unique about this project?

McMahon: MIRO will break new ground with the scale and quality of amenities offered. One example of this is the significant rooftop lounge space with chef’s kitchens and dining space that can be reserved by residents for events and will offer cooking classes and wine tastings.

San Jose has the best weather in the Bay Area and the architecture takes full advantage of that fact. That’s also why we offer huge verandas and balconies on our upper floor units. Another example is music practice spaces for residents to either practice alone or have jam sessions in sound-attenuated rooms. The overall offering is geared to be competitive with the best apartments buildings up and down the peninsula.

How is Suffolk’s “build smart” approach implemented in the construction of MIRO?

DiNapoli: Suffolk’s “build smart” approach is about delivering value to clients through earlier collaboration and more sophisticated technologies and processes on our projects. Our collaborative, innovative processes and tools allow us to provide clients with a more predictable overall experience and better results.

On the MIRO project, our team integrated data from the architect and structural engineers into a comprehensive construction model that allowed for more team collaboration and better coordination during the planning phase of the project. Using the model, we were able to identify design discrepancies and propose constructability solutions much earlier in the process, long before they could become issues.

During the construction phase, we use sophisticated models that can be accessed by all project stakeholders in real time using digital tools on site. That means everyone is working off the same set of updated plans at all times, which helps us mitigate risk, minimize mistakes and rework, and enhance the productivity of our trade partners in the field.


How will this new development impact San Jose’s multifamily market?

McMahon: San Jose, like the rest of the Bay Area, is so short on housing, that 630 units will be a drop in the bucket within the whole city. For downtown though, MIRO will help to stretch the trend of high-density well-appointed buildings a few blocks farther east than the current offerings. We are close to San Jose State University, which is the largest employer in downtown and a huge economic driver. We believe there is great potential for growth in this transitional neighborhood and MIRO will be a positive catalyst.

How do you see multifamily demand in San Jose going forward?

McMahon: We still love the fundamentals of the new job/housing starts ratio and the backlog of demand for quality housing should contribute to continued growth. The City of San Jose is very supportive of finding ways to fill that demand in thoughtful ways that encourage density where infrastructure can support it, meaning less impact on traffic and sprawl, concerns we all share as Bay Area residents. Infill development in strategic areas with existing and planned infrastructure makes good sense. With BART on the horizon for downtown, we expect long-term demand in the core of the city able to weather likely macroeconomic fluctuations.

Images courtesy of Bayview Development Group

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