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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Obstacles loom before houses in downtown San Jose can climb to BART station

Entrance to BART Diridon station in downtown San Jose on West Street Santa Clara, concept. Plans are subject to change. Numerous hurdles need to be removed before a Google-designed apartment complex, which could include affordable homes in downtown San Jose atop a future BART station, becomes a reality. (VTA)

SAN JOSE. Numerous hurdles need to be removed before a Google-designed apartment complex, which could include affordable homes in downtown San Jose atop a future BART station, becomes a reality.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is leading the consideration of the potential development of several hundred residential units as part of a transit-oriented project that Google may build over a future BART stop near SAP Center and the current Diridon train station in downtown San Jose.

But, according to VTA, there is still a lot of work to be done before anything can germinate above the expected BART station.

Among the milestones to pass: Any construction of a BART station near the Diridon transit hub must meet the exact requirements of VTA and BART, according to Bernice Alanis, VTA and BART’s Silicon Valley Business Operations Representative.

Obstacles loom before houses in downtown San Jose can climb to BART station
BART Diridon station levels in downtown San Jose on West Santa Clara Street, near Cahill and Montgomery Streets, concept. Plans are subject to change. (VTA)

“Development or any construction of a transit center must meet very strict structural requirements,” Alaniz said.

VTA has yet to reach an agreement with Google to build a residential project at the BART station near the Diridon transit center.

The potential development area has addresses that include 574 W. Santa Clara Street. VTA owns plots where mixed residential and commercial construction can take place.

The site sits next to a proposed San Jose transportation area that Google plans to develop known as Downtown West, where the search giant can employ up to 20,000 tech workers.

The western city center will consist of office buildings, residential buildings, shops, restaurants, hotels, cultural centers and entertainment centers in the immediate vicinity of the SAP Center and Diridon train station.

Obstacles loom before houses in downtown San Jose can climb to BART station
Site plan showing the respective locations of Diridon BART in downtown San Jose, potential transit oriented development over BART, and other key existing facilities nearby. Plans are subject to change. (VTA)

Google and VTA have entered into a public-private partnership agreement with several elements.

Key features of this deal include:

– Google was required to obtain planning permits in San Jose for a transit-oriented development project that VTA is considering over the BART Diridon station site.

– Google would agree to lease the VTA site at 8 S. Montgomery, east of the future BART station. The site can be used as a construction site for the Diridon BART project. Real estate is valued at $ 17.7 million since the purchase of the Google website in 2018.

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“Google would also agree to lease a warehouse building on the southwest corner of Cinnabar and North Montgomery Streets to VTA. In 2018, Google bought a large public vault for $ 32 million in cash at 570 Cinnabar St., which matches the site’s description.

Within the BART Diridon station itself, a mix of residential buildings and shops is being considered.

VTA documents show that “up to 500 high-rise residential units in aerial development above Diridon BART station with 18,000 square feet of retail, commercial and office space on the ground floor” are key elements of what will be developed on this site. …

The VTA board will have to vote to allow VTA employees to start negotiations with any developer, for example Google, about a transit-oriented development on a VTA-owned site.

Affordable homes should also be part of Google’s housing development, according to public figures from VTA.

“Such a project should include at least 20% of apartments available for families with low and very low income, as specified in the VTA’s affordable housing policy,” the agency’s document says.

Mountain View-based Google said it wishes to limit its comments on housing primarily to what has been posted in VTA filings.

“Right now we are working with VTA to formalize the agreement and more details will be made publicly available as soon as it is completed,” a Google spokesman said earlier this month.

The shipping agency hopes to spearhead a joint effort on a potential mixed-use project over the BART Diridon station.

“VTA continues to work with the City of San Jose, Google and other Diridon (area) stakeholders on how to maximize the benefits of Downtown West and other developments proposed in the Diridon Station area,” the transport agency said in an email. which it sent to the address of this news organization.

Obstacles loom before houses in downtown San Jose can climb to BART station
Interior and access to metro platforms at BART Diridon station in downtown San Jose on West Santa Clara Street, concept. Plans are subject to change. (VTA)

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