SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The first in a series of new high rise buildings has broken ground in downtown San Jose.

“We are finally seeing a significant amount of investment from people who believe in the future of our city and the future of our downtown,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo.

A 19 story state of the art high tech office building–the tallest in San Jose and the first downtown high rise in almost ten years–will rise on what was once a one story bank building at 200 Park Avenue.

It’s the vision of self-made billionaire developer Jay Paul, who has built technology campuses for Apple, Google and Facebook.

“I think it’s a unique opportunity to have a real city center,” said Mr. Paul in a rare sit down interview with KPIX. He explained why he’s bullish on San Jose.

“A lot of young people like the vibrancy of a city, that’s what makes it such a compelling argument to be down here.”

Paul has recently bought several large properties in San Jose, including a block at Almaden and Park Avenue called City View, where he plans to build three more office high rises totaling almost 4 million square feet.

The space will be large enough for about 20,000workers. The old 1970s era buildings there now will be torn down to make way.

“This is going to be the new 100 percent corner for the city,” said Scott Knies of the Downtown Association.

Knies said the plans will have a huge impact on San Jose’s demand for housing and traffic, but it’s where Caltrain, BART and other transit options will be.

“The jobs are going to keep coming, let’s put them where at least you have a chance to get people off the freeways,” he said.

200 Park Avenue is being built on spec and so far, there is no tenant. But with Jay Paul’s track record, it’s likely to be an established tech titan or a growing startup.

“I think in ten years, people are really going to look at this and say this is really the center of technology in Silicon Valley,” Mr. Paul said.

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