By Jack Stubbs
Downtown San Jose – particularly the area around Diridon Station – has no shortage of large-scale commercial and residential developments in the pipeline, with several in-the-works projects. The San Jose City Council recently voted in favor of a 689-unit development which is set to bring much-needed housing inventory to downtown. On May 16, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to change the zoning of an industrial area downtown – a 5.4-acre parcel, located on the southeast corner of McEvoy and Dupont Streets – to allow for residential use.
Slated for the site is a residential, mixed-use development, which is a collaboration between Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm Miramar Capital; Corvallis, Oregon-based Pinion Property Company; and Pacific West, a division of Idaho-based multifamily developer Pacific Companies.
The project is located within the Diridon Station Area Plan at 254 McEvoy Street, and will ultimately comprise 689 residential units across two five-story buildings. Building A, located on the northern portion of the site, will comprise 314 market-rate units; Building B, located on the southern end, will include 375 affordable-rate units.
The applicant has proposed the following breakdown for the affordable-rate units, according to the Planning Commission’s agenda: 70 units reserved for very-low income, or 50 percent below the area median income (AMI); 35 units for low income households, or those 60 percent below AMI; 35 units designated for moderate income, or 80 percent below AMI; and 235 units at or below 120 percent of AMI.
The project will also include just over 4,000 square feet of commercial space. The project is being developed with a state density bonus concession for a 38 percent parking reduction. There are a total of 523 parking spaces for residents and retail patrons proposed, as well as a central paseo constructed between the two buildings, and an interior courtyard within each building.
At the recent City Council meeting, the project team was granted a planned development permit, which will allow for the demolition of nine industrial buildings totaling 64,800 square feet.
It is not yet entirely clear what the construction timeline or budget for the project is.
The in-progress project comes at a time when San Jose continues to grow and when transit- and amenity-oriented developments are highly sought-after. It is perhaps little surprise that this site was chosen for the residential development, given its central location, just one mile from Downtown San Jose and various attractions including the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, the event venue San Jose Civic, and The Tech Interactive Museum, among others.
The project also offers convenient access to the intersection of State Route 87 and Interstate 280, which enable connection to San Jose International Airport and Highway 101.
The two-building development is also proximate to Downtown West, Google’s underway mixed-use project that was approved by the San Jose City Council in spring 2021. The project is a collaboration between Google, the city and construction company Lendlease.
Downtown West – which comprises 80 acres of the 250-acre Diridon Station Area Plan (DSAP) – allows the construction of up to 7.3 million gross square feet of office space; 4,000 housing units (with a potential allowance of up to 5,900); up to 500,000 gross square feet for retail, cultural and arts uses; 100,000 square feet of event space; up to 300 hotel rooms and 15 acres of parks and open space.
Another prominent in-the-works development that – along with the respective projects being spearheaded by Miramar Capital and Google – is set to shape San Jose’s skyline in the future.
In March 2020, Boston Properties, the largest public developer, owner and manager of Class A office properties in the country, held a groundbreaking for Platform 16, a 1.1 million square foot Class A creative office development located in downtown San Jose.
The urban campus will include three buildings, 16 private outdoor terraces with unobstructed views of the city, as well as two pedestrian plazas, a fitness and wellness center, and a cafe.The first phase of the Platform 16 development project consists of an approximately 390,000 net rentable square foot Class A office building and a below-grade parking garage, according to a statement released by Boston Properties.
Designed by architect Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the project is a joint venture between Boston Properties and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, with San Francisco-based TMG Partners and Valley Oak Partners also assisting with the development.
It is no coincidence that San Jose was chosen as the city of choice for Platform 16, given its central location within the larger Bay Area.
“Platform 16 emerges at the intersection of so many important Downtown San Jose assets – the Guadalupe River Park, Mineta San Jose International Airport, the Shark Tank and our central station,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo at the time of the groundbreaking. “It is the vanguard of a wave of office space that is changing the trajectory of Downtown as Silicon Valley’s urban center.”
In addition to the aforementioned large-scale projects in development in downtown San Jose, the city’s urban core also has several other residential undertakings taking shape as of the last few weeks, as the AEC community strives to provide more living options when the presence of affordable housing has become increasingly acute.
On May 2, local developer Urban Catalyst spent $5.6 million on a final parcel for its Apollo Project in San Jose. Located at 60 Stockton Avenue, the endeavor will ultimately bring a 19-story, 472-unit housing development, designed by San Jose-based AEDIS Architects, to the city’s downtown core.
Urban Catalyst also in mid-May broke ground on 167-unit Gifford Place, which is one of the first new senior living facilities to be built in downtown San Jose in decades, according to a statement released by the company.
In mid-May, San Jose-based nonprofit Charities Housing submitted plans to the city for a 6-story, 99-unit project located at 555 Keyes Street. The project – the construction of which is expected to take 19 months – would be fully-affordable, according to The Registry’s reporting at the time of writing.
Considered individually, each of the aforementioned projects might seem to make just a small dent in the housing crisis afflicting San Jose, and, indeed, the Bay Area more generally. Collectively, however, each contributes to an attempt to try and mitigate the growing housing affordability crisis across the region.
Currently, the San Francisco Bay Area has a population of 7.7 million, making it the fourth largest metropolitan region in the Bay Area. The housing crisis in the Bay Area has reached a fever pitch after decades of limited action. City officials note that the shortage of housing originally began in 1970, when the number of permitted housing units began to decline. In 1970, the region permitted 65,000 multifamily units and 27,000 single-family units. In 2015, 21,000 multifamily and 8,000 single-family units were permitted. Of San Jose specifically, the City notes that the gap between the city’s wealthiest residents and its poorest is rising.
“It is a region of distinct socio- economic stratification, containing many of the wealthiest households in the nation,” project documents state.