We are going to kick off the first workweek of 2016 with two big stories for East San Jose. Today, we'll talk about the first major development proposal in decades for East San Jose. Tomorrow, we'll have an in depth restaurant review for what might just be the best new restaurant in all of San Jose--and it happens to be in East San Jose.
The Empire Lumber site at 1260 E. Santa Clara Street is clearly a prime spot for redevelopment given that it is across the street from a future BART station. Despite the fact that we won't see any trains stopping at that station until the year 2025 or so, developers have already started taking serious interest in the neighborhood.
Steinberg has proposed a seven-story mixed-use building with 418 apartments and 30,000 SQFT of commercial space on the ground floor. As you can see from the drawings below, this is not your typical building in East San Jose. You have large sidewalks with outdoor dining along Santa Clara Street facing Five Wounds Portuguese National Church--one of our most iconic buildings. There are plenty of large balconies for residents, including some nice ones on the penthouse floors. There is a swimming pool and green space on the podium level above the retail and parking, and Steinberg even designed it to have a view. A publicly accessible urban plaza would sit between two large retail pads: 18,000 SQFT on East Santa Clara Street and 12,000 SQFT at the corner of Santa Clara and 28th Street.
The Empire Lumber lot currently houses a used-car dealership, definitely not the best use for this land. There is some push-back from the community on the proposed height of 85 feet. The current site plan has a cap of 55 feet on part of the proposal, so Steinberg would require a variance to get approval. Given this location near a future BART station and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station that will hopefully go live by the end of this year, we should be going as dense and tall as possible. This would be a terrific addition to the neighborhood!