AMCAL’s Latest Student Housing Project Wins Top Award

The Grad San Jose exterior view of corner of student housing building

The Grad San Jose took the award for the top student housing community at the Multifamily Executive Award competition in September 2022 in Las Vegas. Read about The Grad in MFE Magazine here.

The Grad is a new, off-campus, purpose-built student housing community designed specifically to serve students of San José State University located in the heart of Silicon Valley. The Grad is a 19-story mixed-use residential tower adjacent to a 4-story parking garage topped with an expansive recreation deck.  The tower’s ground floor encompasses approximately 14,750 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a main residential lobby facing campus, a 24-7 management office, and abundant secured bicycle parking.  On floors 2 through 4, The Grad lavishes its residents with student-focused amenities including: a three-quarter-acre landscaped amenity deck that offers a resort-style swimming pool and outdoor spa, BBQs and picnic area, and a Jumbotron for game days and movie nights. A 24-hour, state-of-the-art fitness center opens onto this vibrant resident oasis. 

Students also enjoy complimentary high-speed internet and cable, private and shared study lounges on every floor, business center/computer lab, coffee cafe, fitness-on-demand, spin, and yoga studio, multipurpose rooms with white boards and monitors for practicing presentations, a penthouse level sky deck with views of the campus and San Jose’s downtown, and three high-speed elevators. Residential units are located on floors 3 through 19.  The fully furnished apartment-style suites offer studio, two-, three-, and a many four-bedroom floor plans, most with bed-to-bath parity.    

Located one block from the University’s main entrance, the Grad is in the path of the campus’ future growth plans. It also helps fulfill the City of San Jose’s long-range conceptual program for revitalizing the Downtown by allowing high density infill development and the replacement of underutilized sites.  The Grad replaces an abandoned restaurant that stood dormant for years, and now majestically welcomes students into its vibrant, urban space.  As a transit-oriented development, the new community is increasing public transit ridership on the local VTA Light Rail and regional BART.    

The Grad’s striking high-rise design and unprecedented abundance of amenities is unique in San Jose’s urban center.  The community is the first high-rise student housing building and among the very few built in the U.S.  The Grad San Jose won: PCBC’s 2021 Gold Nugget Award for Best Student Housing, Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 2019 Award for Best Market Rate Residential Project, and received attention from the Silicon Valley Business Journal for being the 8th largest construction project in San Jose. 

The building’s L-shaped footprint takes full benefit of the site, with the main lobby nearest to the campus entry and the south-facing courtyard cradling the spacious outdoor amenity deck for optimal solar orientation.  The building design concept is an intersection of two volumes (one more solid with metal panels and punched windows, the other more transparent, with a checkerboard window wall) which reinforces the importance of the corner as the two planes slide through one another.  There is a well-lit pedestrian base activated with commercial space and the double volume residential lobby close to campus creating a strong corner presence with the use of unique building materials.  The articulated tower façade is crowned with 10-foot-high uplit blades that change colors every evening.   The parking structure is curtained by a floating semitransparent perforated metal screen which provides a public art element.  The design of the art screen is echoed in the design of the building lobby, where the interior aesthetic is clean and sophisticated, incorporating natural tones accented with pops of orange and blue.

The Grad provides its residents with abundant opportunities to socialize or to find quiet for studying. Residential spaces are designed for small social groups with a focus on outdoor areas and amenities that allow residents to connect while maintaining social distancing.  Private study rooms and larger team rooms dot each residential floor. Most floor plans are designed to give students their own private bedrooms and bathrooms.  

The Grad’s location is ideal for walking to campus, transit and the venues of downtown, including eateries, coffee shops and event venues in the surrounding arts and cultural district. But without leaving the property there is literally something for everyone at the Grad—an exercise center, a swimming pool with sundeck and barbecue areas, sports courts, picnic area, community space for activities, lush landscaping, unmatched academic amenity space, and the list goes on—all within the urban center of San Jose.

In addition to the benefits of its urban location and proximity to campus, The Grad features plenty of indoor and outdoor activity space, secured garage parking, an open-air sky deck, ground level retail and restaurants, state-of-the-art fitness center, spin and yoga studio with Fitness-on-Demand classes, resort-style pool and outdoor spa, a picnic area with BBQs, an outdoor deck Jumbotron for college games and movies, a large multi-purpose room, private and group study rooms on each floor with white boards and monitors, a business center/computer lab, secure bike storage, and free Wi-Fi and cable throughout the community.