The San Jose planning commission will review and vote on adopting the Berryessa BART Urban Village Plan as a guiding policy document in a public meeting tomorrow evening. The plan would rezone 28.9 acres surrounding the newly-opened BART station to allow for over four million square feet of commercial space and roughly 5,100 new residential units.
The Urban Village is split between four distinct districts around the new Berryessa BART station. These districts are the Facchino District, the Flea Market South District, the East District, and the Berryessa & Lundy District. The FAR is expected to range between 3 to 10, with residential density zones going as high as 500 dwelling units per acre of land.
The Facchino District is the furthest north of the four and has an estimated build-out of 340,00 square feet for commercial use below 820 residences. Since the area is abutted by single-family, the district’s edge will have townhomes to buffer the mid-rise multi-family apartment buildings.
The largest portion of the Urban Village is the Flea Market South District, which has a conservative target capacity of approximately 3,000-3,450 residences, over three million square feet of commercial activity, and towers rising as tall as 270 feet. The city planners made an intentional commercial and residential land distribution to provide a fair balance for jobs and housing. A central open space will extend from the BART station through the district, where vendor kiosks and community activities will be encouraged. The southern district includes a green corridor with protections for Coyote Creek and Penitencia Creek.
Regarding the fate of the flea market, it will remain open up until groundbreaking of any potential development. KRON4 reports that while no specific plan is set, there is “the goal of eventually finding an alternative location for the Flea Market. Who knows, maybe they could just build a physical market instead of using surface parking.
The East District, opposite from the Flea Market, will be considerably smaller with just two blocks. Plans include a public park, 710,000 square feet of commercial space, and 570 apartments. The area consists of BART parking structures, which the city expects to be phased out and eventually redeveloped for more commercial or residential use.
The Berryessa & Lundy District is located in the northeast of the Urban Village. The area could host medium-density housing and mid-rise commercial buildings with a capacity for 710 apartments and 130,000 square feet for business. There is an alternative option for the district to be dedicated to commercial use.
The Urban Village program is part of the city’s Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan, which was adopted in 2011 to increase construction, emphasizing environmental, economic, and social benefits. The neighborhood will be serviced by the new Berryessa BART station, which the city estimates will see 25,000 daily riders by 2030, or millions of rides annually, once the Downtown San Jose BART station opens.
When reached for comment, the local activist organization, Catalyze SV shared the following comments with SFYIMBY from a letter addressed to San Jose council members and Mayor Liccardo: “Our organizations believe that the remaining land slated to be redeveloped at the Berryessa Flea Market – the ‘South Village’ of Market Park – is one of the most important development sites in all of Silicon Valley. Not only is it a massive parcel of land owned by a single entity, but it is also closest to the most important new transit center in Silicon Valley in decades. In addition, the site includes the Berryessa Flea Market, an important part of our region’s culture, commerce, and history for 60 years… We are confident the developer can find a way to recreate aspects of the Flea Market and continue its legacy in a more compact, urban design.”
Catalyze SV went on to summarize, “Bottom line: the Berryessa Flea Market is the biggest development site in all of Silicon Valley right now. Part of the site already got developed in exactly the wrong way using the tired tropes of the past: suburban, car-centric, low-level housing.” The organization goes on to recommend, among other points, that the council allow for more housing, less space given to vehicle use in favor of pedestrian use, and to give more concrete assurances that the plan will not displace current merchants at of the Flea market.
For information on how to join the meeting, starting Wednesday, March 24th, see the meeting agenda here. For information about the city meeting from a local activist organization, see the action alert from Catalyze SV here.
UPDATE: Article has been updated to clarify Catalyze SV wants assurances to avoid displacing current merchants at the Flea market and not residents, but do also believe that not including high levels of affordable housing could lead to overall residential displacement as well.