Huge Tech Campus Project of Former Fry’s Headquarters Moves to San

The death of a large brick-and-mortar electronics retailer could lead to the birth of a new nearly two million square foot office complex in San Jose. Plans were revealed last April to demolish the giant temple-shaped Fry’s hypermarket – which at the time had not yet closed and served as the headquarters of the old San Jose-based company – and replace it. by a campus of seven 135 foot tall office buildings. According to the Mercury News, the project now faces a major milestone in the city’s review process, which includes the preparation of an environmental impact report.

“The project proposes to demolish the existing Fry’s Electronics building and above ground parking [at 550 E. Brokaw Road, near downtown San Jose] and build seven eight-story office towers in an office campus design, ”San Jose Planning Records said. Construction is scheduled to begin in October 2023 and could last until 2031, the Mercury News reported. Planning documents show that office buildings will contain an array of “staging areas” for employees working on campus, including outdoor terraces on the seventh floor of each tower. In addition, the buildings will be configured around pedestrian streets and will ultimately total 1.92 million square feet of office space.

An artistic representation of the proposed campus of 1.92 million square feet of office buildings to be built near the site of the former headquarters of the electronics chain Fry’s, now closed. Source: Gensler

Phase 1 of the project, which could begin in two years, would include the demolition of the Fry and the construction of two of the seven towers.

Many tech nerds and gamers in the Bay Area have been devastated by the loss of Fry, which has happened slowly and then suddenly over the past several years.

With the pandemic decimating in-person businesses and creating another hurdle for already struggling retailers – and while creating a greater market presence for online sellers – Fry’s announced in February that it was shutting down operations completely, as reported by the New York Times. The retailer, who built a cult on the West Coast but couldn’t compete with the rise of Amazon, blamed the shutdown on ‘changes in the retail industry and challenges posed by the pandemic of COVID-19, “” the Times said.

The announcement came after a year in which several Fry’s stores had already fallen into obscurity, including the Campbell store which closed in November.

The Mayan temple-themed Fry’s hypermarket in San Jose is now a monument to obsolescence. Source: Yelp

Founded in 1985 by the three Fry brothers, the eponymous chain once had 31 stores in nine states and was established to “provide a one-stop-shop environment for high-tech professionals,” the Times said citing Fry’s LinkedIn profile. . Fry’s was also famous for its elaborate store themes, and as The Times writes, “Stores ranged from 50,000 square feet to over 180,000 square feet, each stocked with an eclectic assortment of gadgets and parts. Its location in Phoenix had an Aztec Temple, for example; his store in Burbank, was inspired by 1950s science fiction films; and Fry’s in Woodland Hills, Calif., was a page from Alice in Wonderland, decorated with figures as high as 15 feet of the characters in the story. “

Another Fry home decor store in the City of Industry, near the San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles. Source: Wikipedia

The siege of San José “[paid] tribute to the first astronomers, the Mayans, with backdrops from Chichen Itza, with a massive temple at the entrance, palm trees between the shelves and hidden speakers that play the sound of birds chirping across the parking lot, ”like SFGate wrote. The Fremont store mimicked the World’s Fair of 1893, where a Tesla coil in the center of the store fired every hour; the Sunnyvale store showcased the history of Silicon Valley; and the Palo Alto store had a Wild West theme.

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