Adobe aims to move into downtown San Jose office tower in early 2023

SAN JOSE — Adobe plans to move into its new office tower in downtown San Jose sometime in early 2023, an expansion that’s a welcome counterpoint to the dreary economic maladies unleashed by the coronavirus.

The tech titan expects to nearly double its headcount in downtown San Jose when it moves into the company’s under-construction office tower on West San Fernando Street.

“Adobe is an organization that has always believed that people are our greatest asset,” said Gloria Chen, Adobe’s chief people officer. “Innovation and creativity are core to our DNA.”

The new 18-story tower totals 700,000 square feet and will be connected to Adobe’s existing three-building campus with a bridge that will arch over San Fernando Street.

Adobe North Tower exterior, West San Fernando Street in downtown San Jose, concept. (Adobe, Gensler)

“It will be Silicon Valley’s first all-electric building,” Chen said in a recent interview with this news organization to provide an update to the company’s downtown San Jose expansion plans.

The expansion into the highrise, which Adobe calls the North Tower, will give the company a four-building corporate headquarters campus in downtown San Jose.

“We know the nature of work has changed forever,” Chen said. “We believe that hybrid work with flexibility at the center of it is how we are moving forward.”

But what isn’t part of the equation is the notion of all employees working from home or in a remote setting.

“Coming together in person for work that matters is absolutely critical,” Chen said.

San Jose-based Adobe is anticipating a major increase in its headcount in downtown San Jose when the northern tower opens at 333 W. San Fernando St.

At present, Adobe employs about 3,800 people in downtown San Jose. The new highrise will accommodate about 3,000 people, according to Adobe. The expansion to the North Tower will enable the company’s downtown headcount to total 6,800, which works out to an increase of about 79% in the number of employees in San Jose’s urban core.

The tech company believes that employees can’t always maximize their creativity and innovative prowess when they only operate through Zoom calls or videoconference.

“What you are really looking for is the opportunity for casual collision, in-person innovation, forming relationships, connections forming across different teams and different organizations,” Chen said.

Videoconferences often are conducted in a regimented fashion, which could stifle creativity.

“When you are working in a remote box, you are not getting the energy of interactions with others,” Chen said. “When people come back into the office for the first time, they realize how much they have been missing. Like many other companies, we are transitioning into a hybrid model.”

The future Adobe bridge will connect the new tower to the existing corporate campus, which might further increase collaboration at the headquarters complex as well as foster safe journeys across San Fernando Street.

The company also intends to add artwork in connection with the new bridge.

“We will have art installations on the bridge and paintings on the street level below the bridge,” Chen said. “We will have a lot of moments and opportunities for people on the street level to enjoy the artwork. We are proud to engage with local artists to bring that to life.”

Construction could be completed in 2023 on the new bridge, although that project has yet to start.

The new tower also is expected to be a top-level building in terms of green and environmentally friendly features.

“Adobe’s strategy is to help build a sustainable future,” Chen said. “The North Tower is being built to LEED Gold specifications and will help us cut our greenhouse gas emissions. The building is all-electric and will operate with 100% renewable energy. About 80% of the waste from the construction was diverted from landfills to other construction.”

The building itself will allow for maximum flexibility for meetings. People will be able to easily work in isolation, in small groups and in larger groups. Numerous workspaces are expected to have access to outside gathering areas. And the bridge itself will accommodate outdoor spots for workers.

“The North Tower will be able to accommodate the need for quiet workspaces, the need for working sessions, or the need for casual collisions in meeting rooms or during breaks,” Chen said.

When the tower opens, it will do more than dramatically the size of Adobe’s current campus. The highrise is located on a street that can connect the older parts of downtown San Jose to the new parts of the downtown that are expected to sprout near the Diridon train station.

“The North Tower is kind of an entrance to that part of downtown San Jose,” Chen said.

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