Stalled building project in the South Bay resumes construction amid COVID-19

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Santana Row is bustling with activity again. But it’s not due to shoppers taking to stores and restaurants. 

It’s because crews have resumed work on a 375,000 square foot office building.
 
“Payrolls are flowing. Our general contractor is happy. Our subcontractors are happy. And we’re very happy to be to have the privilege to restart the project,” said Seth Bland, the senior vice president of development for Federal Realty, which is constructing the mixed-use tower and garage.
 
On March 31, the Santa Clara County public health officer ordered an end to mass gatherings and construction that’s considered nonessential. Only building related to affordable housing or COVID-19 was allowed. That order was eased at the end of April due to success stemming the spread of COVID-19.
 
“Getting construction going again is the right step. This is an industry that has always demonstrated the ability to, is highly regulated and they work safely. They’re used to being held to high standards when it comes to health and safety,” said Matt Mahood, the president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Organization.
 
The industry could also be a harbinger for a frigid South Bay economy. Some small businesses couldn’t hang on and have shuttered permanently.
 
“There has been damage done to the extent that businesses are closing,” said Dr. Colleen Haight, the chairwoman of the San Jose State University Economics Department. 
 
San Jose State University Economist Doctor Colleen Haight says construction can have an ancillary impact and bring other industries back to fiscal health.
 
“Every time you have someone going back to work, whether it’s construction or some other industry, that person then has income coming in. That allows them to buy stuff. So it increases consumption, said Haight.
 
The developers of the One Santana West building said when the project is finished it will be able to accommodate approximately 1,500 workers, “in a non-dense” setting. The new office parks and towers will have the specter of social distancing.