By Meghan Hall
After a series of conversations with the city officials and the wider San Jose community, Weingarten Realty has revealed its new vision for the redevelopment of the Cambrian Park Plaza Shopping Center. The ultimate goal of the project is a people—not car—centric development that will act as a new town square and community heart for residents and visitors alike.
“After more than four years of working with the City of San Jose and listening closely to community comments and concerns, Weingarten Realty has dramatically re-envisioned Cambrian Park Plaza Shopping Center’s future,” explains Weingarten in a blog post detailing its plans. “Guided by new City design goals and a concept plan generated by neighbors, we have created an innovative new Signature Project for Cambrian – a truly mixed-use village which will become the heart of the community.”
Weingarten has expressed that redevelopment of the original Cambrian Park Plaza Shopping is needed. The property is currently developed with five, single-story buildings and multiple large surface parking lots. The shopping center sites on 17 acres and in all includes 170,000 square feet of retail. Originally developed in the 1950s, current tenants include Dollar Tree, BevMo! and Roundtable Pizza, but retaining tenants over the years has been difficult.
“Since originally developed, the center has become unattractive to potential new tenants due to its lack of modern function and appearance,” states Weingarten. “The current vacancy rate remains incredibly high. Because of its relatively low density, aging infrastructure and short-term lease arrangements, the property presents a rare opportunity for the local community, City, and Weingarten Realty to pursue redevelopment.”
Chief among community concerns when considering new project plans was a desire for public open space and a bike and pedestrian-friendly environment. While density on the site will increase, residents and city officials hoped for a project that would include a healthy mix of uses tied together with open sightlines, public art and parks.
Plans for the village include several commercial buildings. Building One will have 305 podium apartments, plus 60,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. The building will be oriented around the community plaza and also include six levels of underground parking.
Building Two will be home to a 229-key hotel with underground parking. The hotel will offer guests and residents outdoor restaurant decks, also designed to face the park. Building Three will include 165,000 square feet of assisted senior living with four to five levels of underground parking.
Separate from the buildings will be 25 townhomes along Union Avenue, and 48 single-family homes for existing residents.
The development will be joined together with a variety of open and green spaces. More than one third of the site, or about six acres, will be reserved as public open space. Included in the plans are a large central park with amphitheater and public art opportunities, which will act as a connection to shops, outdoor seating areas and fountains. Pedestrian paseos will tie the urban village together and will be anchored by a central promenade spanning from the entrance of the village to the corner of Cambrian and Union to the eastern edge of the site. Other designated outdoor spaces will include a children’s playground, fitness space, dog park, community garden and entry plaza.
Weingarten formally resubmitted its pre-application to San Jose in August, and city officials are working to produce an environmental impact report (EIR) detailing the development’s impact and next steps. Public meetings and evaluation will continue to take place in the coming months as the project undergoes City review.
As of this writing, Weingarten Realty had not yet returned The Registry’s request for updated comment.