BUSINESS NEWS URBAN CATALYST SUBMITS FORMAL ENTITLEMENTS FOR ICON/ECHO TOWERS IN DOWNTOWN SAN JOSE Urban Catalyst announced it has submitted its Site Development Permit and Vesting Tentative Tract Map for its Icon/Echo project, slated to bring new office space and residential units to downtown San Jose. Located at 147 E Santa Clara Street in the heart of downtown, Icon/Echo will create more than 300 multifamily apartment units and 420,000 square feet of Class-A office space.
The development encompasses about two acres of land and is catty-corner with City Hall and within one block of a future BART station. The transit-oriented development is part of the federal Opportunity Zone tax relief program. In addition to this key milestone, Urban Catalyst has completed the conforming rezone process for the project to align with the City’s General Plan, and has received approval of the initial Tentative Map for the project land. Urban Catalyst has purchased two of the four parcels needed for the development and is
under contract to purchase the remaining two. The project is being designed by WRNS Architecture in coordination with Studio Current . WRNS Studio works with today’s most transformative organizations to steward their brands with exceptional architecture. Studio Current is an urban design and architecture firm focused on creative infill projects and reinventing the urban environment.
MATT HOYING, from page 9
and people weren’t as comfortable going over to the next cubicle or rolling their chair over to their neighbor to discuss an idea. However, the solution to creating effective collaboration in today’s environment is, at its core, the same as it was pre-pandemic: Be intentional. Be committed to the goal and vision of collaboration. The vehicle in which we get there may be a little different, but whether you take a boat, a plane, or a car, if you end up at the beach watching the sunset does it really matter? If you don’t feel like your environment is as collaborative as you would like, some tools/tips that can be effective to further develop that environment include the following. ❚ ❚ Improve communication. Without communication, true collaboration can’t happen. Train your team on how to lead powerful conversations, suspend judgement, and give and receive feedback. When the team can communicate effectively, they can begin to collaborate effectively. If there is an individualistic mindset (“I/my”) and individuals view feedback as an attack, there isn’t true collaboration. Feedback needs to be viewed as an attempt to make the project or team better. Everyone must be willing to give and take constructive criticism to benefit from collaboration. ❚ ❚ Provide time to collaborate. Collaboration at the end of a project may still be useful, but keep in mind that last-minute changes and rushed fixes are no one’s idea of fun and can lead to poor quality. If it’s a priority, collaborate early and often. ❚ ❚ Take an aerial view of your workspace. If you could hover above your workspace and observe where people are sitting, how they move about, and who they interact with, what would you see? Look at how your workspace is set up. Are you arranged in departments where all transportation engineers sit together, or is your transportation engineer sitting next to a site designer and shares a cubicle with a landscape architect? Do your senior-level people sit in one corner and your entry-level co-workers sit in the opposite corner? Consider intermixing your team. Don’t underestimate the power of “learning through osmosis” and having a project benefit from creating an environment where it is easier to join the conversation, even if you change nothing else.
simple observation to understand whether it’s currently happening. Collaboration can also be observed in a firm’s environment. Are people sitting at their desks all day and keeping to themselves (sometimes disguised as “being efficient” or “getting work done”)? Or are they up from their chairs in another cubicle or actively engaged in communicating with co-workers from another office? We certainly don’t want to encourage a constant social hour, but erring on the side of those conversations being collaboration and accepting some “unproductive” time will be more beneficial to employees and their work than the converse: Discouraging real collaboration, stifling creativity, and hindering the quality of the product. Other places to look for effective collaboration is in company meetings, gatherings, and general conversation. Do people from one department/ team/group tend to only sit and congregate with each other or are your co-workers all intermingled regardless of role? Finally, when truly collaborating on a project, a team benefits from input from people with different backgrounds and from other areas of the organization during the design process, not just in a QA/QC review. The meticulous survey crew, the young energetic designer, the mid-level project manager, and the gray-haired QA/QC reviewer may all be effectively contributing – but are those team members stepping in to do their part of the project and then stepping back out, or are they all actively engaged throughout the process? ENHANCE COLLABORATION. When the pandemic started, one of the unintentional consequences of making sure our co- workers and clients were safe was creating environments that were more naturally difficult in which to achieve effective collaboration. Beyond the inherent difficulties presented by the virtual world, a lot more meetings were happening to ensure separation, desks were further apart, “When truly collaborating on a project, a team benefits from input from people with different backgrounds and from other areas of the organization during the design process, not just in a QA/QC review.”
Without a committed, intentional mindset and environment, collaboration is just a buzzword.
Implementing strategies to enhance collaboration can lead to better projects, better productivity, and better profits. Is it time you put your firm to the test? MATT HOYING is president at Choice One Engineering. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
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THE ZWEIG LETTER OCTOBER 18, 2021, ISSUE 1413
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