By Meghan Hall
A mixed-use residential project in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose is working its way through the entitlements process. Called the Meridian Apartments, the 233-unit residential project has been proposed by ROEM Development Corporation. Public documents indicate that the project will be made entirely affordable.
Located at 961-971 Meridian Ave., the property is currently developed with two vacant single-family homes and a commercial structure. The site totals about 2.1 acres. The project site is in a primarily residential neighborhood. However, a number of commercial centers are located nearby, including Westfield Valley Fair Mall and the Pruneyard Shopping Center.
The new project will rise six stories in height. Project plans indicate that 190,050 square feet are designated for residential uses, and 1,780 square feet has been allocated for ground floor retail. 290 parking spaces, as well as 63 bike parking spaces, are also highlighted in the plans.
A number of community amenities, including a computer room, gym, and lounge are laid out in the plans. On the second floor of the project, ROEM Development and Torrance, along with Calif.-based Withee Malcolm Architects and JETT Landscape Architecture + Design, have designed the buildings around two courtyards. A “tot lot” is also mentioned in building plans. Many units will also have individual decks or balconies.
The project’s initial environmental impact report and the project itself was approved by the San Jose City Council in April of 2020. However, because the development is expected to receive funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the applicant requested a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Review.
In February, the Santa Clara County Housing Authority (SCCHA) committed Section 8 housing assistance via Project Based Vouchers (PBVs) for 35 apartments. About $23 million in value, public documents show that the initial contract term will be for about 20 years, with possible renewal in the future. In all, the estimated budget for the project is expected to come in at about $91 million.
Given the funding, 92 units will be designated for those earning 30 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), 20 will be allotted for those earning 40 percent AMI, and five units will be allocated to those earning 50 percent AMI. An additional 114 units will be for those earning 80 percent AMI, and two units will be specifically for site managers.
Once final approvals are in hand, construction can begin. Build-out is expected to take about 20 months.
Across Santa Clara County, where San Jose is located, the Area Median Income as of April 30, 2020, sat at $141,600 per year. As of April of 2020, an individual earning 30 percent AMI would report an income of $33,150 per year. At 40 percent AMI, individuals earn about $44,240 per year. At 50 percent and 80 percent AMI, individuals earn around $55,300 per year and $78,550 per year, respectively.
As big tech continues to catalyze job growth, landlords, developers and housing experts continue to chase demand, which is placing upward pressure on rental rates. Such trends have held particularly true in San Jose. While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted rents, causing a 14.2 percent decrease in the average effective rent in San Jose, the price per unit still came to $2,480 per month, according to data from brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap.
As of this writing, ROEM Development Corporation had not yet responded to The Registry’s request for comment.