Monday, November 13, 2023

Owners of the San Jose Flea Market cutting office components entirely and dramatically downsizing housing plans

The original plan for the San Jose Flea Market next to San Jose's only existing BART station was for 3,450 residential units (yellow in image below), 3,400,000 SQFT of commercial (teal), a 5-acre urban market (red) and a 1.4 acre public park and open space (green areas). Grey is parking.

Sadly, the owners have changed direction and have completely eliminated office space from the project. The new plan will only have 940 homes and 45,500 SQFT of ground-floor retail space.

They are taking advantage of a loophole in the builder's remedy--which streamlines approval for certain residential projects designed to encourage more housing and development--to actually reduce the size of the project. It's a classic example of good-intentioned law (like rent control) causing the exact opposite effect. If it were not a builder's remedy, San Jose could more easily reject the project and require higher density.

San Jose needs to build about 60,000 housing units over the next eight years to keep up with demand and State requirement. By taking this many homes off the table, it will be a huge step back.

Given the proximity to some of the largest tech companies in the world and immediate access to BART, this site easily could have become another Santana Row over the next decade. Plus its a destination easy to get to from anywhere in the Bay Area. Now, with the scaled back plans it will greatly undermine this opportunity. It may not have the critical mass necessary to pull anyone into San Jose as a destination and will barely make a dent on our housing requirements.

If a dense redevelopment of the San Jose Flea Market site is truly off the table, the next best step would be to quadruple down in Downtown San Jose to hit our target. The infrastructure and space for dense development is already there. Eliminate as many fees and bureaucratic steps as possible for large-scale residential development and let's get that housing built!

Source: SVBJ, SVBJ(2)


  1. Such a weirdly worded article. You say that "the owners have changed direction and have completely eliminated office space from the project.", but the previous paragraph outlining the original plan never mentions "office space". Similarly, the terms "homes" and "ground-floor retail space" was never used in the original plan paragraph either. How are the readers supposed to compare if you don't use consistent language?

    1. Thank you for responding - it's really more of a statement on not using consistent wording in the same article. You really should, so it reads better.