By Meghan Hall
San José has experienced a high volume of mixed-use and high-rise development as the Bay Area’s technology industry and housing demand continue to grow. The bulk of new housing inventory has primarily come to market in the form of market rate apartments — ideal for the young tech and entrepreneur demographic establishing their lives in the Bay Area’s largest city. Trumark Homes — a subsidiary of California-based Trumark Companies — however, is seeking to introduce a condominium product into the crowded San José market to appeal to the urban tenant who wants to buy property. Trumark picked up the already-entitled property, located near 255 N. Market St., in 2017, seeing a unique opportunity to bring inventory to the City’s tight middle market. The development will be called SP78, paying homage to the location and number of units included in the project.
“As soon as I came to Trumark I said ‘we have to buy this site,’” said Tony Bosowski, the Northern California Division President at Trumark Homes. Bosowski came to Trumark homes from San Francisco-based JKM Development, who owned the site prior to Trumark’s acquisition. “What makes us unique is that we are the only townhome product that is for sale — or planned. There is a lot of building around us, but it’s all going to be mid-rise or high-rise development.”
The original development was proposed back in 2005, but the economic downturn of 2008 slowed the project’s pace. Since its original proposal, the development has remained mostly unchanged in terms of its design and unit count.
“I’ve been involved on this project for 13 years, and I was actually involved in the entitlements of the whole area,” explained Bosowski. “We just ended up hitting the downturn, and the site wasn’t feasible at that time.”
Previous developers and city officials were also busy resetting the street grid, which was obtained through Prop 1C Grant money in order to open up the current parcels for development. Previously, the Coleman Overpass passed through the middle of the site, which is composed of three non-contiguous parcels of land on adjacent blocks. The process to reorganize the surrounding roadways began during the economic downturn but was only recently completed, freeing up the parcels for Trumark to build upon.
“This entire area was secluded because the overpass was a barrier,” said Bosowski. “We put back the original street grid, and it opened up all of these areas for development.”
The project will deliver 78 townhomes near San José’s San Pedro Square, and the development will be comprised of two- and three-bedroom units with a starting price in the mid-$900,000 range. The development is broken down into 35 two-bedroom and 43 three-bedroom units. The three-story residences range in size from 1,298 square feet to 1,968 square feet, and included in the units are either a one- or two-car garage, large windows, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. LED lighting, glass-enclosed showers, maple cabinetry and Smart Home Technology are also some of the features included in the base price of the condominiums.
“We’ve gone with very high-end finishes,” explained Bosowski of the condominiums’ design. “The buyer profile who wants the urban setting is looking for a more contemporary type of architecture.”
The development is located just a few blocks from San Pedro Square, which is home to several eateries such as the Old Spaghetti Factory, San Pedro Square Market Bar and Back A Yard Caribbean Grill. The San José McEnery Convention Center and San José Center for the Performing Arts are both a twenty minute walk away, as is the SAP Center, which is located just on the other side of State Route 87.
“The big driver for us picking up this project is obviously the location,” said Bosowski of the opportunity to provide condominium inventory in a hot location such as San Jose. “We know that San José will continue to add new housing, and it’s a desirable market for all builders.”
Bosowski emphasized that the location’s high walkability and commutability factors, as well as their close proximity to major employers and amenities make the San Pedro Square properties an ideal build — and for residents in the area — buy.
So far, Trumark Homes has sold 25 percent of the condominiums, a solid start for a development whose model homes are not yet finished, said Bosowski. Trumark believes that interest in the development will continue to pick up pace as the development’s model homes are completed. The models are slated to open in January, and Bosowski believes the development will sell out by mid-summer of 2019.
“I know as buyers see the product it’s going to be even better,” said Bosowski. “We haven’t pushed any advertising so far; it’s mostly been word of mouth. I think we’re going to see a lot more interest.”
According to Bosowski, Trumark Homes is excited to bring the product to market and contribute to the quickly changing dynamic of the San Pedro Square neighborhood.
“There will be a lot of homeowners and renters in this area,” said Bosowski. “It will be dramatically different five years from now.