Monday, December 1, 2014

New Live-Work Project in Downtown San Jose

Barry Swenson Building is finally moving forward on a half-acre parcel that was acquired almost 15 years ago. The empty parking lot at the corner of N. 4th St. and E. Julian St. will be transformed into a modern and unique 13-unit live-work project. These types of projects are very rare in Silicon Valley. The ground floor is setup to accommodate small businesses such as an office or store while the owners of the business would live upstairs. There is also the option to do nothing on the ground floor and live in it as a 3-story townhome.

It's a great concept that I hope we'll see more of in San Jose. In other areas these types of projects have helped transform neighborhoods. With one the highest rates of entrepreneurship in the country, this seems like an ideal time for live-work units in San Jose.

Barry Swenson Builder is going to self-fund the project, which means it can start construction immediately after getting all of the entitlements (targeted for summer).

Source: SVBJ


  1. Great to see more housing options - but from past San Jose experiments with this building type, I'm not sure that it works well. Existing development on North First Street (south of Ryland Park) and housing along West San Carlos Street (one project east of Bird Ave, the other west of Meridian) have the first floor not operating as businesses. When owners/renters choose to live in these first floor spaces, the windows are covered and do not contribute to an active street life. These types of units might work very well in areas where there exists a strong storefront retail environment already.

  2. The poster above makes a good point about live-work units that end up not being used as businesses and not contributing to the street life. However, I still think this type of development is a plus in certain locations (such as high-visibility corners on the edges of downtown) because they offer the *potential* to become active businesses/storefronts in the future. Once the area has more pedestrian traffic (for instance, when other mid/high-rise residential gets built) it may be more attractive for the owners to turn the first floors into businesses. However, if this parcel gets developed as purely residential, it will never have an active ground floor.