California Dolphin: statewide California news

Village plans take shape near downtown San Jose on county property

SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County has claimed a fresh stake in the Silicon Valley village game with a proposal for offices, homes, and shops on a big site in San Jose east of that city’s downtown district.
A new village would sprout on East Santa Clara Street between 14th and 17th streets on the site of the old San Jose Hospital, under a plan proposed by the county that would help create more activity on a stretch of roadway that is currently slumbering.
“The East Santa Clara Master Plan is a collaboration between the county of Santa Clara and the Santa Clara County Housing Authority to enliven the streetscape and energize the neighborhood, provide for new county and housing authority offices, and add new retail and much-needed housing to the downtown,” according to a report summary prepared by county officials.
The proposal would include 320,000 to 360,000 square feet of office space that would be used primarily by the county’s Housing Authority. The offices would address the immediate needs of the housing agency, as well as future county government needs.
In addition, 550 to 800 dwelling units would be part of the proposal.
“Housing will include family, senior and supportive housing available to a range of income levels,” according to a report prepared for a meeting of the county supervisors that’s scheduled for May 21.
The housing that is being planned for the project would be designed to help meet county goals related to affordable housing.
“Increase affordable housing opportunities for our community’s most vulnerable and poorest residents” and “prevent and reduce homelessness throughout Santa Clara County” are among the goals for the housing planned for the site, the county report stated.
Ground floor retail is expected to front on East Santa Clara Street and a plaza would total at least 11,000 square feet and reach as much as 18,000 square feet.
“The city of San Jose and the surrounding community have expressed their strong support for neighborhood-serving retail to be part of this master plan,” a county report stated.
Local residents prefer certain types of retail, the county’s analysis of community preferences show.
“Two retail elements have garnered the most support, and are shown by the retail study to be potentially supportable: food service and convenience grocery,” according to the county presentation.
In 2010, the county government bought the old San Jose hospital site and demolished the hospital structure and other buildings. Subsequently, the county constructed the existing Valley Health Medical Clinic at East Santa Clara and North 17th streets. That three-story building would remain even after the village is developed.
The project would be built in phases over a period of five to 20 years. The development would also require approval from the city of San Jose.
“Specific timing depends on the market condition, entitlement process, and available financing,” the county staff report stated.
County officials hope that the project will do more than add offices, housing, and retail to the area.
“The theme for the development is Health and Wellness, continuing its history as the site of the former San José Hospital, the site of the current Valley Health Medical Clinic, and the future site of safe, secure housing for individuals and families, complete with supportive services and healthy open gathering spaces,” according to the county’s presentation.

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