Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to network with the panelists as well as the Mayor, City Council members, and other City of Santa Clara representatives. Dick Johnston of Graphic Packaging International welcomed attendees to the event and acted as the emcee for the evening.
Chamber President & CEO Steve Van Dorn led the discussion and asked several questions of the panelists. Following is a summary of some of the questions asked:
What is the future for affordable housing projects with the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency money?
- Jane Vaughan, Partner of Development, Menlo Equities: She pointed out that there are a number of non-profit agencies working on this issue, and reminded attendees that “below market rate” housing is always included with “market rate” housing.
- Rob Hollister, President of Real Estate, The Sobrato Organization: He commented that the best way to include affordable housing is to have a good housing and jobs plan like Santa Clara does.
What do you see as a future trend in the industry?
- Elaine Breeze, Vice President of Development, SummerHill Apartment Communities: She is seeing a shift in what residents are looking for – they’re more conscientious of mass transportation and what’s available near their home. They’re asking the question of “how can I live here without a car?”
- John O’Brien, Director of Facilities Operations, Nvidia: He sees the future trend as using less energy – it will be about reducing waste and watching consumption.
- Jane Vaughan: She is seeing a trend with organizations partnering with transportation companies to shuttle employees from CalTrain to their work location and back at the end of the day.
What is the biggest challenge your organization is facing?
- Elaine Breeze: Competing for the open land.
- Joan Vaughan: Economic cycles.
- John O’Brien: Employee transportation – it’s a challenge to get to/from public transportation in many locations.
- Rob Hollister: CEQA issues, in addition to zoning challenges in many cities (i.e. no flexibility in the zoning of areas of a city – one area set aside for residential, another for commercial/industrial, and another for retail).
Attendees also had the opportunity to view schematics of what each project will look like upon completion. The event was sponsored by the following companies:
- ActionCOACH of Santa Clara
- American Airlines
- Bay Area Builders
- California’s Great America
- Graphic Packaging International, Inc.
- Heritage Bank of Commerce
- Hilton Santa Clara
- iFLY SF Bay
- Irvine Company
- Kaiser Permanente
- Luxul Technology, Inc.
- Related California
- Rudolph & Sletten, Inc.
- San Francisco 49ers
- Santa Clara Valley Water District
- Southwest Airlines
- Swinerton Builders
- UCSC Extension Silicon Valley
- Arcadia Graphix & Specialty Products
- Pizza Party