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Q&A: Jared Silver Talks Retail, Real Estate With Middle Plaza Project


With Middle Plaza, Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry is opening a luxury space near downtown Menlo Park that gives this upscale Silicon Valley area more than 35,000 square feet of luxury retail and upscale restaurants.

Stephen Silver and his son Jared are heading the development, which will fully open in fall 2023. Middle Plaza also serves as a legacy project for the late real estate mogul John Arrillaga Sr., one of Stephen Silver’s friends and a partner in the original concept.

The three-floor development features ground-floor boutiques including a new Bulgari boutique concept; a second-floor space features watch and jewelry brands such as Messika, Hermes, Laurent Ferrier, and Arnold & Son. The third-floor penthouse will feature the new corporate headquarters and a Stephen Silver salon.

Stephen Silver boutique
The Stephen Silver boutique on the third floor of the Middle Plaza development serves as the headquarters and salon for the venerable family-owned jewelry brand.

JCK spoke to Jared Silver, president of Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, to get his take on the development, retail trends, and this visionary project.

Why is Middle Plaza the right development for you and your fellow tenants?

To fully appreciate the reasons why we are building Middle Plaza, you must understand a little of the area’s history. Menlo Park and Atherton developed as a sunny summer getaway for wealthy San Franciscans in the 19th and 20th centuries. As Silicon Valley developed into the economic engine we know today, these communities became some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country but to this day have only limited, suburban amenities. Today our clients want more offerings available to them locally and see no reason to hike all the way up into San Francisco. This is why we got involved with the project, to create a retail and cultural hub for Silicon Valley.

How does your retail space (flagship and offices) accent or fit into this?

We will incorporate independent boutiques on the ground floor, a “living room”-styled multi-brand environment with copious outdoor space, a restaurant, and a large plaza with a capacity for outdoor performances. The building is being programmed to be a gathering spot for the community—a place where people relax and enjoy themselves while experiencing art, music, great dining, and world-class shopping. Middle Plaza will become an important asset for the whole community in Silicon Valley.

How did you design your retail space in terms of what customers want now?

I wanted to create an environment where my customers feel as comfortable in our space as they do in their own home, so I went to Jon de la Cruz, a famous Bay Area–based architect, to help us put this vision on paper. The biggest benefit to this home-styled multi-brand space is the privacy and comfort our customers feel as they walk into the space. We are designing the showroom to be a true Californian luxury experience, with an indoor/outdoor entertainment space, multiple private meeting spaces, and a large entertainment bar to accommodate whatever event we’re hosting. Practically, it can accommodate a variety of events, from private dinners with our brand partners and TED Talk–styled speaking series to our holiday party and board meetings of the charities we support.

Who helped design this space and what is/are your favorite feature(s) for your jewelry to shine?

Jon de la Cruz is a respected local architect who developed much of the indoor environment. We gave him a direction to create a feeling of continuous discovery. We liken it to the way you might feel browsing through the living room or study of a very interesting friend. In each bookcase you may find something unexpected, like the work of an independent watchmaker you’ve never heard of and a new rising star in the jewelry category. We want it to be a pleasure to keep looking.

Top: Stephen and Jared Silver say they are excited to see Middle Plaza, their Silicon Valley headquarters and three-story retail and restaurant complex, come to fruition when it opens fully this fall (photos courtesy of Stephen Silver). 

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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