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Fraud-tied San Jose site is bought through a real estate foreclosure

Fraud-tied San Jose site is bought through a real estate foreclosure

SAN JOSE — A San Jose site where a big mixed-use housing complex was proposed but never built in the aftermath of a real estate fraud case has been foreclosed and bought.

The parcels that have just been bought through a foreclosure proceeding were just a section of a San Jose property where Silicon Sage Builders and the company’s principal executive Sanjeev Acharya had proposed nearly 800 homes along with restaurants and shops.

The just-bought properties are at the corner of Alum Rock Avenue and Jose Figueres Avenue and have addresses ranging from 2101 through 2149 Alum Rock.

When proposed, the 796-unit housing development on Alum Rock was expected to bring about a big expansion of economic activity in that part of east San Jose, due to the mix of residences and merchants.

Instead, the Alum Rock site became one of the numerous failed projects in the collapsed real estate empire cobbled together by Acharya and the Silicon Sage firm.

The Securities and Exchange Commission claims both Acharya and Silicon Sage have committed an array of fraudulent actions that swindled hundreds of investors, many from the South Asian community.

In 2020, an affiliate controlled by Acharya paid $9 million for three of the parcels needed for the development, although the real estate executive needed to buy several other parcels to assemble enough land for the huge project.

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The Acharya-led affiliate bought the property several months after the outbreak of the coronavirus that devastated the economy in the Bay Area and worldwide.

The combination of fraud allegations and the coronavirus — exacerbated by the financial mismanagement by Acharya — doomed both the Alum Rock project as well as many others that the Silicon Sage executive had planned to develop in the Bay Area.

Sunbelt Rentals bought the Alum Rock parcels, paying $5 million for the properties, according to documents filed on Sept. 7 with the Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office. Sunbelt Rentals is a unit of London-based Ashford Group, an industrial equipment rental company.

In a sign of the weakening value of the parcels, the unpaid debt on the mortgage for the properties totaled $6.25 million at the time Sunbelt Rentals bought the sites.

It wasn’t immediately clear what might be Sunbelt Rentals’ plans for the property.