Big housing development planned near downtown San Jose
SAN JOSE — A big housing complex that could include affordable homes is being eyed on an increasingly busy street that links downtown San Jose with the city’s mega-malls to the west, the project’s developer said Thursday.
The development, planned for West San Carlos Street in San Jose, would create 230 residential units as well as add ground-floor retail and gathering areas for the neighborhood. Potentially 15 percent of the units would be set aside as affordable homes.
San Jose-based developer Core Cos. plans to build the residential project at 1301 W. San Carlos St. at the corner of Race Street. The developer noted that the complex would be between the bustling Santana Row and Westfield Valley Fair malls to the west and downtown San Jose and a proposed Google transit village a few blocks to the east.
“This corridor is one of my favorite areas in all of San Jose,” said Chris Enders, senior development manager with Core Cos.
Valley Fair is in the latter stages of a vast expansion that would add numerous retailers. Santana Row is busy with a huge new office complex and is attracting more shops and restaurants.
Downtown San Jose appears poised for a major expansion with numerous office complexes and towers being planned or already under construction. Google intends to develop a transit-oriented community of office buildings, homes, restaurants, shops, hotel rooms, and open spaces near the Diridon Station, which itself is slated to become a BART stop.
“This corridor is the next big area where you are going to see a lot of activity in San Jose,” Enders said. “It is an untapped resource.”
The development would likely be a welcome addition to the neighborhood, in the view of Bob Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Valley Synergy, a land-use and planning consultancy.
“We are in desperate need for more affordable housing,” Staedler said. “We should be smarter about how to get affordable housing projects built more efficiently.”
Staedler questions the scope and effect of San Jose city rules that oblige developers to include plenty of retail as part of their residential projects.
“The city is requiring retail in an area site that isn’t really suited for retail,” Staedler said. “Look at the Smart & Final store at the opposite corner and it has its back to the street without an entrance on West San Carlos.”
The proposed development is located directly across from what’s being planned as a high-capacity transit station, a mass-transit upgrade that will help speed people between the two shopping centers and the Google village and the rest of downtown San Jose.
“West San Carlos is planned as an urban village,” Enders said. “The city wants housing and wants the corridor to be a vibrant mix of residential, retail, restaurants, and offices. We are shooting to be part of the live, work, play scenario for that area.”
Core Cos. also is in the middle of developing Sparq, a big residential complex in downtown San Jose’s SoFA district, a neighborhood that features a vibrant collection of restaurants, art galleries, theaters, entertainment venues, and night spots.
The 1301 W. San Carlos St. project would include a plaza as well as a gathering area on the street shielded by an overhang from the main building. Both areas would be designed to invite residents as well as neighbors to stroll through the area or relax on the site.
“We have set our building back 20 feet from the sidewalk,” Enders said. “We will have a gorgeous little paseo that will let people walk and gather, go to the retail, interact with residents or other people from the neighborhood. We want to have some sort of artistic, place-making component in the plaza. That way it’s a welcoming place where people want to hang out.”