San José State University Invests in Downtown With More Student Housing

by | Nov 16, 2023 | Campus Life, Community Engagement, Featured

The south tower of the San José Hilton Signia hotel complex will soon be converted into a thriving student community in the heart of downtown. This photo includes a rendering of an SJSU sign on the outside of the building, a planned addition.

San José State University and Throckmorton Partners have announced a landmark partnership to significantly expand the university’s undergraduate housing inventory. SJSU is embarking on the Bay Area’s largest post-pandemic conversion of a downtown commercial property to student residential housing. With the ability to house over 700 students, this project will transform what is currently the south tower of the Signia by Hilton San José hotel complex into a thriving student community in the heart of downtown.

The new partnership will position SJSU to reimagine the currently underutilized hotel space, and be able to deliver hundreds of new beds for students including 124 affordable beds for students in need. Ultimately, the university aims to leverage new state housing-specific funding secured earlier this year to deliver a cumulative total of 517 affordable student beds across its entire housing stock in the coming years.

Rendering of the lobby

A rendering of the planned lobby for the new housing option for students.

Through the latest state budget, SJSU was granted access to $89 million in debt relief capacity as part of the Higher Education Student Housing (HESH) program, allowing the university to enter a lease agreement with Throckmorton Partners. The lease includes an option to purchase after two years, pending approval of the CSU Board of Trustees.

The university’s ongoing efforts to further expand its footprint in downtown San José will lead to hundreds more students living within a short walking distance to campus and contributing to downtown small businesses and entertainment venues. This project, temporarily referred to as “Spartan Village on the Paseo” until the completion of a formal facility naming process, aligns with a key goal of the university’s new Campus Master Plan to have 20% of the full-time student population living on or immediately near campus. Additional students living downtown underscores the university’s commitment to housing more of its students and also its continued investment in downtown San José’s economic vitality and success.

“Our students are the heart of all that we do at San José State University,” said SJSU President Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson. “This new housing option will expand our campus footprint and add student vibrancy to the downtown corridor. The SJSU campus influences industry-defining research and learning, and at the same time integrates our university community with small businesses, medium-sized companies and even global headquarters of major corporations, creating invaluable opportunities to unlock students’ potential and potentially jump-start their careers.”

Rendering of the cafe

A rendering of the cafe for student residents.

Renovation of the hotel is scheduled to begin immediately to deliver new student housing by August 2024. Plans include a major renovation of the lobby and second-floor mezzanine spaces into a student-centric environment to support social activities and programs. Amenities will consist of an expansive dining area and a community kitchen, a fitness center, a games room, co-learning spaces and a study lounge in the “sky bridge.” SJSU Housing will also have an on-site presence through Resident Advisors (RA) and Residential Life Coordinators (RLC) to develop and offer social activities and programming as well as provide assistance for students. SJSU Cares and Student Wellness remain vital sources of holistic care and support on the campus for all SJSU student needs. In addition to the renovations, less intensive modifications will be made to floors three to 14 to better align rooms with a student residential layout including updating existing building systems and providing new furnishings.

Hundreds of student residents will be within a seven-minute walk to campus along downtown’s core pedestrian boulevard the Paseo de San Antonio. The addition of these new residents will translate to increased foot traffic and patrons for small businesses in the area. The university hopes it will aid in the city’s ongoing transformation efforts of retail space, bringing intellectual, and cultural change to downtown businesses, restaurants and cultural institutions.

Throckmorton Partners issued a statement about the project and the partnership with SJSU: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with San José State University to transform the prestigious 5-star Signa Hotel into a state-of-the-art student housing facility. This project is not just about providing housing; it’s about creating a vibrant, supportive community for the university’s students. This strategic collaboration underscores our team’s commitment to finding innovative solutions in real estate development and our ability to execute very complex projects. The SJSU and the greater California State University teams were incredible to work with and held the highest standards on behalf of the public.”

Rendering of the dorm

A rendering of one of the converted hotel rooms.

“We are beyond excited to partner with Throckmorton Partners on this important University project,” said Charlie Faas, SJSU Vice President for Administration and Finance. “The Throckmorton team worked tirelessly over the past nine months to forge a partnership with the university and CSU and were exceptional in their attention to detail and focused efforts to meet the needs of the University and our students. We look forward to our continued collaboration with the Throckmorton Partners.”

Admitted students for the 2024-25 academic year will begin receiving information about their housing options, including Spartan Village on the Paseo, in the coming months. Details on the housing application process can be found at

“We’re offering a brand new and unique opportunity to open up housing for our students in the fastest turnaround possible. New student housing options are what our Spartans deserve,” said Patrick Day, Vice President for Student Affairs. “Bringing more of our students closer to campus allows them to focus on their success, expand their professional networks, and tap into the unique opportunities that proximity to the action of Silicon Valley has to offer.”

More details and renderings can be found at