The plans for one of the most important redevelopment in San Jose was developed over 10 years ago, which might as well be a century in terms of the development mindset in Silicon Valley. The San Jose Flea Market Area--which is in the immediate vicinity of the first and likely only BART station in San Jose for many years to come--is supposed to be redeveloped into 2,818 residential units and a paltry 365,622 SQFT of commercial space across 120 or so acres (4-6 story buildings). That might have been fine in 2004, but by 2017 our needs for housing, commercial, and supporting retail around mass transit are going to be quite different unless there is a major economic shift.
Going small near BART will only add to future traffic problems and reduce the effectiveness and potential of our multi-billion dollar BART extension. Currently the developers are looking to add 37,000 SQFT of ground-floor retail and an extra 95 units to the northern section of the Flea Market site. It is a tiny step in the right direction, but is far from enough. We have a golden opportunity here to go dense and add tax-generating commercial space accessible to 80% of the Bay Area's population.
As an example, please watch the video below of what is being built in Milpitas a quarter mile away from the Milpitas BART station. The Flea Market project is transit ground zero, the BART station is right there in easy walking distance. What you see in the video below is the absolute minimum we should be doing with the San Jose BART station.
The District in Milpitas from The Registry on Vimeo.