Two new construction projects help strengthen Santa Clara's economy

Over the last few months, many American cities have made significant strides in returning to pre-recession levels in terms of their job and house markets. Although circumstances have been improving across the country, some areas have been improving faster than others. Metros in California, for example, can boast some of the most quickly improving economies in the country. Big cities such as San Diego and San Francisco have been posting sizable gains in jobs, home values and consumer optimism over the last few months.

However, one smaller city - Santa Clara - has been not only matching the growth of these larger metros but in many ways exceeding it. The city's strengthening economy has encouraged residents to move to the city, companies to invest in it and builders to initiate construction throughout it. Two new commercial projects indicate that the good times are likely to continue and that the value of real estate in Santa Clara is projected to increase for at least the next few months.

New office building
The intersection of Highway 101 and the San Tomas Expressway is often considered some of the most desirable real estate in Santa Clara. Therefore, an empty lot there has been a much-discussed topic among city planner for several months. As such a coveted lot, it seemed an ideal spot for a new building project.

On November 29, the Santa Clara Planning Commission finally found the project it was looking for - a six-story, 218,000-square-foot modern office building. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the board officially approved the rezoning necessary for San Francisco-based firm SPI Holdings to begin their development plans.

If the plans come to fruition, the building will add another valuable asset to Santa Clara's growing business sector. The proposed structure is on a grand scale - in addition to the significant square-foot total, the building is scheduled to include a three-level garage, a 9,300-square-foot amenities building and a 4,000-square foot retail building.

The site is located in one of Santa Clara's fastest-growing commercial districts - just a few thousand yards from the Biltmore hotel and the under-construction 49ers Santa Clara Stadium, the source reports.

Although it is still a long way from being realized, the project demonstrates the confidence that many investors, builders and companies have in the region.

Another drop in the bucket
A second recently approved project further enforces Santa Clara's growth. According to ABC, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has begun work on a cutting-edge water recycling plant that will revolutionize the way the region cleans and distributes water for irrigation and industry.

The project is scheduled to be completed in the middle of 2013, and when it is it will likely be the gold standard for similar facilities in the region. The $65 million center will produce up to 10 million gallons of purified water each day, the source reports.

For an area that boasts continually growing industrial and agricultural sectors, this facility is vital for sustaining operations.

"Recycled water is drought-proof, it's water that's in our county that we can use, it's water that otherwise would be going to the bay, so we're being wise stewards of the resource," water district spokesperson Jim Fielder told the source.

Connection to property values
With so many high-profile projects underway in Santa Clara, it is unsurprising that the residential sector is improving in lockstep. According to recent data, this is the case with several metrics - number of homes sold, median price and offers on high-end homes.

Although the first two figures are important, it may be the last that is best for people considering moving to the region. After several years when low-priced homes and distressed properties made up a bulk of the inventory, the news that many buyers are turning their attention to higher-priced homes is welcome.

"The middle and high end of the market are driving the increase [of high-end sales in the area]," Andrew LePage of DataQuick told the San Jose Mercury News.

With new construction projects underway and home values at all points on the price spectrum rising, now may be the perfect time to find your next home in this strengthening city.