Fry’s Electronics collapse frees up prime Bay Area real estate

SAN JOSE – The collapse of Fry’s Electronics, which closed all of its stores this week, suddenly clears 65 acres of what is considered prime property.

In San Jose, Fremont, Concord, Campbell, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto, there are former Fry’s Electronics branches, some of which are located on huge lots.

“These properties will help create new buildings and new developments,” said Dave Sandlin, executive vice president of Colliers International, a commercial real estate company.

Tech campuses, residential, car dealerships, research, manufacturing – almost anything but big box retail – are among the types of projects that have been suggested, might be feasible, or are on a community’s wish list for the real estate.

“You could see developers or various users like tech companies targeting these sites,” said Edward Del Beccaro, executive vice president of TRI Commercial / CORFAC International, a commercial real estate company.

In the case of one property, a location at 550 E. Brokaw Road in northern San Jose, a proposal for a mega-development is already being examined by urban planners.

At this San Jose location, a developer has proposed a technology campus with seven modern office buildings that together could have a total area of ​​2 million square feet.

What happens next to the locations can be a process that is months or years in development. Furthermore, the final disposition of the properties may depend in part on who or who owns the sites.

The San Jose and Fremont properties appear to be controlled by one or more members of the close-knit quartet that owned Fry’s Electronics.

Officially and on paper, each of the six properties has a different owner:

– San Jose, 550 E. Brokaw Road, owned by Caracol Property Owner LLC, covers 19.7 acres. Caracol operates 600 E. Brokaw Road, the corporate headquarters of Fry’s Electronics. The Fry’s shop there has a Mayan theme – and El Caracol is an observatory in the ancient Mayan settlement in Chichen Itza, Mexico. The estimated value is $ 20 million.

– Fremont, Osgood Road, owned by Wardenclyffe LLC, encompasses 10.1 acres. Wardenclyffe operates from the 600 E. Brokaw address in San Jose. The Fremont store has a motif inspired by the famous inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla, who designed and built an experimental wireless transmission tower called the Wardenclyffe Tower on Long Island. The estimated value is $ 23.9 million.

– Campbell, 600 E. Hamilton Ave., 3.9 acres. F&F Campbell, a group led by local residents Roberta Feuerstein and Elliot Feuerstein, is the owner. The estimated value is $ 11.3 million.

– Sunnyvale, 1077 E. Arques Road, 13.6 acres. Wise Property Trust, a group belonging to the family of Robert E. Wise, a high-profile film director, owns the website. The estimated value is $ 11.3 million.

– Concord, 1695 Willow Pass Road, 5.6 acres. Linsong LLC, managed by IFong Lin of Redwood City, is the owner. The estimated value is $ 20.2 million.

– Palo Alto, 3200 Park Road, 12.5 acres. SI 45, a subsidiary controlled by developer Sobrato Interests, is the owner. The estimated value is $ 73.7 million.

“The Palo Alto site can easily be a tech campus,” said Sandlin. “Palo Alto is a fantastic place. It is close to Stanford University and Stanford Research Park. “

Townhouses, beer gardens, apartment complexes, small office space, local retail stores, creative laboratories, and microfabrication sites have been touted by community groups and local officials as potential future uses of Fry’s former Palo Alto property. Sobrato says it is not interested in residential development.

The Concord property is across from an automatic row.

“Many dealers may want this property,” said Del Beccaro. “It has freeway visibility and is only a few blocks from an intersection.”

The Fremont location could be well suited for a tech campus because of its size if the former store location is leveled.

“You can easily build a million square feet on the Fremont property,” said Del Beccaro.

The store building in Fremont, however, could be attractive enough in its current state to avoid the wrecking ball.

“This Fremont building was built in a very similar way to these advanced production buildings now,” said Sandlin. “Without a lot of additional capital, it could be rented for a significant amount of money.”

Similarly, the Campbell building could survive and become the site of a research and development operation, Sandlin suggested.

In contrast, the Sunnyvale property sits next to and near locations where developers and big tech companies like Google have been actively building, buying, renovating, and leasing a number of websites.

“You would probably want to build a very high-density office project in this location,” said Sandlin.

By far the most ambitious plans publicly exposed are in San Jose, where a full-fledged tech campus would emerge if the city approves the proposal of what appears to be an alliance between Bay West Development and one or more of the Fry’s Electronics owners.

“Fry’s Electronics may be gone, but these locations will create new buildings and lots of new jobs,” Sandlin said.