Monday, February 24, 2014

Construction Starting on 554-Unit North San Jose Apartment Project

The Golden Triangle is the area bound by Highways 101, 237, and 880. It is the largest tech cluster in the world and where you'll find most of San Jose's high-paying jobs. In recent years, several dense housing projects have sprung up right in the middle of the triangle and the trend is continuing.

Equity Residential has just wrapped up the Domain apartment project, a 444-unit, $155 million project right across the street from the @First shopping center. Domain has the distinction of being the largest modular construction project in the area. The apartments were prefabbed and then assembled like lego pieces, which explains how the building went up so quickly.

Now Equity is about to break ground on Tasman Apartments, an even larger development across the street from Domain. This one will clock in at 554-units and cost $215 million to build. It looks like the bulk of the building will be a respectable six-stories.

The amenities list is quite long: roof deck (love these), pool, spa, fitness center, bike-repair shop, BBQ center, clubhouse, and a game lounge. Equity is even throwing in two parks: the five-acre Domain Park and a one-acre park at Tasman Apartments in 2015.

The location I would say is ideal. Not only is it close to jobs, but Light Rail is nearby, @First is across the street, it has easy access to Highway 237, and the new Stadium (plus related projects) are 5 minutes away. The only thing I would have liked to see is some retail on the ground floor of these buildings. All in all, this should be a solid addition to the area.

Source: SVBJ


  1. It's amazing how many apartments have been built in North SJ over the last few years. The astonishing part is that this is just phase one of what they are planning to do!

    My preference on the retail is that they build a dedicated shopping/retail center rather than put ground floor retail in all these buildings. That just leads to a Starbucks/Peets, Subway/Quizno's, etc type of thing. We've got that covered already!!!

    @First serves a purpose, but it could have been a lot better IMO (a la what Mountain View are doing on San Antonio Rd & El Camino...when build out that'll have apartments, retail, a movie theater, a bunch of restaurants, etc).

  2. The Business Journal (the original source of this news) is behind in their reporting. This project broke ground more than 2 months ago. They have already excavated the entire site for the below-grade parking, and are well along in pouring the concrete for the parking levels. It's pretty amazing how fast they are moving!

  3. whoa. those are some ugly generic apartments.

  4. Regarding the first comment (9:16am) and retail in this area... I don't think it has to be either-or. I think we should be thankful for the ground-floor retail that some of the residential developments have decide to incorporate in this area, e.g., North Park (years ago), Crescent Park, Brandon Park. These developments could have been built with no ground-floor retail, which would have meant more of a "blank wall" experience for people walking in the area, but instead the ground-floor retail is contributing to the start of a more walking-friendly pattern in North SJ.

    I think that a more concentrated retail center may still come to North SJ... it's just a matter of time and getting to critical mass of nearby residents and employees. At a North SJ development update meeting held about 18 months ago by the City, an Irvine Company rep said that they are actively looking for opportunities to build a retail center. Hopefully whoever does will build a really nice, vibrant, walkable center like you mentioned is planned in MV at San Antonio Center Phase 2.

    1. I'm 9:16am ...

      Paragraph 1 - good point.

      Paragraph 2 - that's good news. I hope they can pull it off. The MV center when built-out is going to be a killer mixed-use center when you consider that Caltrain is right there and Google are moving into that old site across Central Expy. I'd like to think we can pull off something like that as well.

  5. The concentrated retail center is going to be built Santa Clara, by the Stadium ;)

    Yay...San Jose, building homes, Santa Clara, building jobs and retails. Fvckie fvck....

    1. That's SJ's problem in a nutshell unfortunately. Housing does not generate any revenue for the city. It actually costs money due to the services (police, fire, etc) that are needed. That's why cities like Mountain View, Santa Clara & Sunnyvale are rich and SJ is poor.

      As for north SJ, we need at least a couple more Samsung-like developments to balance out all this new housing. The only people that benefitted from this wave of development were the developers & owners of the land (obsolete R&D buildings). We've watched the other cities (especially Santa Clara & Sunnyvale) go crazy with new office development while SJ has built about 10,000 apartments for the very people that will work in those buildings. Guess who got the best deal???

  6. I wouldn't say they're rich and SJ is poor. We're pretty wealthy as well, just not as much per capita as them.

    Housing only brings about 1/4 of SJ's revenues annually, and most likely is a drag on our services.

    Pisses me off that Irvine builds thousands of apartments in NSJ, while right on the other side of the border they build those Gateway office joints in Santa Clara. Why the hell didn't they build here and shove housing over to SC? Let me guess, it's because SC says NO.

    The homes and office are literally within a mile of one another, they can be switched. There's no reasons why SJ gets the housing components and SC gets the office/job components. Unless there's an actual bias against building office/job components in SJ as opposed to SC.

    I swear to God, the councilman in NSJ, Kansen Chu, is about the most passive, underperforming councilman I have seen. The guy is so damn invisible you would only hear of him during re-election times. He caters to the residential component of that district yet seems to never fight hard enough to get the JOB components in.

    Along with Downtown, NSJ is the next district election I'm looking forward to the most. We need some go-getter guy/gal in that seat.

    1. Well you know who was the councilman when the whole NSJ thing was conceived .... ?

      None other than Chuck Reed!

      I actually think Chu has done an OK job. Not great but OK. In the early days it looked like the area was going to absolutely overrun with apartments. He stepped in and formed the taskforce to try and balance things out with parks, retail, schools etc. It does look promising that the SCUSD (partnering with the ciry of SJ) will be purchasing the old Agnews property for a school. Give some credit to him. Having said that, he's termed out so you'll be getting get a new person soon :)

    2. Chuck was 8 years ago, at that time the housing thing hasn't blown up in NSJ yet. Besides North Park we had nothing else then.

      I don't mind the new housing in NSJ, but I wish there were more pushbacks from Chu in regards to them. Say, like instead of having Irvine building 3000 units in SJ and all their office space in SC, have them build split each of them in each city. Of course SC would throw up their arms and say HELL NO, and Chu would then consent to that and wag his tail like the good small-minded puppy that he is.

      There are not much retails in NSJ, nor parks, nor schools. I couldn't care much for them in NSJ. They will naturally come when there is enough residential numbers. But that's not what NSJ is about. NSJ has been, and is still, our top high-tech, high-paying job zone, and for any District 4 councilperson, jobs and office/commercial should take prime focus over everything else in that District.

    3. You're plain wrong. The NSJ idea was hatched back in 2003 timeframe. Check the city documents. Reed was the councilman at that time and he had beaten Chu in what was a contentious election by all accounts. District 4 includes not just the North 1st street corridor but all the North Valley /Berryessa disctict. They really are separate animals but get one councilmember in the current alignment. Perhaps will what is going on that might change. NSJ needs parks, schools & retail to make it a desirable place for people to live. Then they can be close to their place of employment, which is hopefully in NSJ as well. It's all linked together. Chu drove a lot of the real planning for this balance. Sounds like you don't care for him...that's your right but I think you've got it a little mixed up.

    4. I'm all for supporting the NSJ plan. I'm sure back when that NSJ plan was hatched, the housing components also had to have an equal amount of job buildouts accompanying it. Problem is we're not seeing a whole lot of the jobs. To me that's what the councilperson of that district should be pushing wholeheartedly for. Chu just doesn't do anything regarding this aspect, and that's why I don't care much for him.

      The only thing that happened office-space wise was Brocade's campus. Current going under construction is Samsung's campus, and in the future the prospective locations at Peery and N1 Campus. Meanwhile we already put in close to 10,000 housing units.

      Maybe it's better that we split that district up into 2, the job district and the residential district.

      I hope we have a cap for housing soon in NSJ. Let Santa Clara build their portion of housing. Let MV and Sunnyvale build their portion of housing. Let us concentrate on getting some jobs in this joint, as it was meant to be.

      I hope everything sorts itself out, and that NSJ does not end up devolving into a bedroom community for companies in Milpitas and Santa Clara :(

  7. Bob, the way the North SJ plan is set up, there is a cap on residential units for each phase, that goes along with commercial growth. The Phase 1 residential component (8,000 units) has all been approved and is mostly built or under construction. The City is not supposed to proceed with any Phase 2 housing (which would be another 8,000) units until the Phase 1 commercial growth (which I think is about 6.7 million net new square feet) has occurred.

    I'm not a SJ resident (just a big supporter), but for all those SJ residents... this is something to keep an eye on in the next few years. The Council may come under a lot of pressure from housing developers to approve more housing (i.e., proceed into Phase 2 residential) before the Phase 1 commercial growth has all happened. Let your Council reps - and those running for Mayor and Council - know that you want the City to stick to the NSJ Plan.

    1. Thanks for the info, sir/madam! Most definitely will keep an eye on Phase 2 residential itch from the developers.

  8. Seeing the changes in this area on a daily basis, its sad to see they are using the old model of separating housing from retail and remote mega-schools. It appears they are using mid-20th century suburban design but trying to achieve more urban like population densities. I would seriously question if the the area is going to be walkable and rideable enough to prevent north 1st, Tasman and Zanker from being even worse versions of the east SJ traffic sewers like Capital and Tully, but with day long gridlock and even higher records for pedestrian fatalities. San Jose set a 16 year record for pedestrian fatalities last year, but their crosswalk philosophy is still to paint a single white line across seven lanes of traffic and hope for the best.

    Are we creating a walkable community that people will want to live in, or just a warehouse area to store residents? It would be nice to see phase 2 address the need for complete streets, active transportation, safe routes to schools, and move towards less separation of retail, schools, and housing. A lot has changed in the world since the plans were made in 2003, and its time to update phase 2 using what has been learned since then.

    (I live and work in San Jose)

    1. The problem is, what you suggest would entail a lot of money. With RDA gone, it's up to the developers to follow our suggestions.

      1st, Tasman, and Zanker are already semi-traffic pit during workdays, and if Phase 1 commercial gets built out and the jobs pile up in that area, traffic will get much worse. But it is something that we just have to endure, for the sake of the jobs.

      You can go to Detroit right now, and their streets have no traffic, but that's because there are no jobs. Capitol and Tully are some of the larger avenues in our city, and gridlock is a given. Have you seen Van Ness in SF on any day? Same issue. Our city is MASSIVE in size, and our streets have to be fast and wide to carry all the cars. We are a car-first city and will likely remain that way for a long time. Pedestrian fatalities come naturally in large-sized cities, we're just gonna have to live with it.

      The only thing that can change is the mentality of drivers--younger drivers growing up are taught to share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists. Eventually they will be the dominant driving group, and when that time comes I believe we will see more harmony between pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers :)

      Even though I complain about the lack of balance between the current housing boom in NSJ and its slow office build counterpart, I believe that the new residential in that area are being done in the right way. 5-7 stories tall, smaller streets in between them, all surrounding 1st Street's light rail line. They all have a bit of retail mixed in, and they have @First to tide things over along with several smaller plazas around there. It's definitely way more walkable than most neighborhoods of San Jose. The residential components I have no problem with; it's going in the right direction, for sure. Plenty of rooms for improvements, but the ones that are already built are pretty OK, in my opinion.

  9. I'm not sure a survey of residents would show they are willing to endure any level of congestion without any attempt to mitigate. More jobs does not need to equate to unmanageable congestion if the area is designed to properly utilize transit, including the ability to safely get to the transit.

    Making streets faster and wider has been shown to only worsen congestion in many cases, as people adapt routes to fill the extra space, and transit mode share is reduced because of more difficult access. If the vision is a land of free roaming cars, then this can only be achieved by increasing alternate transport mode share as population increases. Busy roads will always exists, but smart communities allow for alternate routes around them and across them. I don't need walk down Van Ness because there are other better options nearby.

    The reason mode share works is that any mode of transport other than a car uses a small fraction of the physical space that a car does. If we want jobs plus manageable congestion, then the pedestrian is our best friend, not the enemy. Its no way to treat your best friend as a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter. I really don't understand the us vs them mentality when it comes to this, because it does not make logical sense.

    This is why the enlightened authors of the general plan have built in mode share goals. We need development to step up and do what it can to support these goals, for the good of everyone including those who love to drive.

  10. Hi,

    I am moving from midwest into San Jose and thinking of renting near North SJ. The rents are quite high though so I was contemplating where to stay. Wondering if there are any interesting plans for parks, shopping etc for the north san jose area as such?? Any inputs/thoughts from the SJBlog community?

    1. Welcome to San Jose! The largest planned shopping/retail project in the entire Bay Area is going to be across the street from the 49ers Stadium in Santa Clara, which is just 5min or less from North San Jose. It will start out mostly with restaurants (think Santana Row) and then move on to a 1.5 million SQFT open air shopping center with housing and offices on top.

      A new park has just been completed across the street from the @First shopping center in North San Jose and I believe there are plans for more small parks with some of the major residential projects that are planned. I hate to send you to Santa Clara again, but I would strongly recommend checking out Ulistac Natural Area on Lick Mill Blvd. This is a huge natural park with a variety a large variety of plants and easy access to the Guadalupe River Trail. This is all at the border of Santa Clara and North San Jose.