January 8, 2021
Branden Sarkissian & Regina C. Williams
First Community Housing
75 E Santa Clara St Unit 1300
San Jose, CA 95113
RE: Proposed The Village at Roosevelt development in San Jose
Dear Branden & Regina,
Thank you for presenting your proposal for the Village at Roosevelt project to Catalyze SV’s members at our Project Advocacy Committee on December 9th, 2020. As we understand it, First Community Housing’s proposal is for 125 affordable homes, with up to 50% supportive housing, and 2,400 sq ft of commercial space. The development will have 8 car parking spaces, 216 secure spaces for bikes, and is located next to a VTA bus stop with frequent lines 22, 23 & within a half-mile of VTA Rapid 522, Rapid 523 & the planned 28th Street/Little Portugal BART station. We’d like to submit the following feedback on the project:
Sustainability: The Village at Roosevelt takes an ambitious approach in addressing sustainability. With a commitment to LEED Platinum, modular construction that reduces waste, & rooftop solar, this project incorporates substantial green building features and will minimize its environmental impact. FCH is to be commended for its continual commitment to sustainability.
Affordability: With up to 50% permanent supportive housing & included services, First Community Housing will play a critical role in improving the lives of formerly homeless residents. A focus on very low-income residents making 30-60% of Area Median Income will provide stable housing to those struggling most with high housing costs.
Transportation Choices: This project implements a comprehensive Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan to reduce personal automobile trips. This includes pairing its location next to frequent bus service (lines 22 & 23) & within a half-mile of rapid bus lines 522 & 523, as well as giving free VTA Smart Passes to all residents. Additionally, 216 secure bike parking spaces (1.7 per unit) & car parking limited to 2 spaces for residents (0.02 spaces per unit) are both the most ambitious ratios for a project ever presented to Catalyze SV.
Housing Density: With 125 units on 0.4 acres (300 du/ac), this project brings needed homes to this small lot on an important transportation corridor. With a basement that provides resident amenities, a ground-floor retail/services podium & 7 additional floors utilizing steel modular construction, this is an innovative project we hope can be replicated across the region.
Elements to Improve:
Flex Parking Opportunities: While we applaud First Community Housing’s effort to reduce the need for an automobile, a few of our members believe some residents might require transitional parking. The main concern is that with limited affordable housing units in Santa Clara County, residents that rely on vehicles to get to their jobs, or require vehicles for work, will also apply for units. The Village at Roosevelt could look at developing partnerships with the high school, community centers, other nearby developments or private businesses to provide flex parking if it is essential to any future residents.
Continued Outreach to Community Organizations: With the Village at Roosevelt likely a few years away from construction, we believe that close coordination with the neighboring Roosevelt Center will be key in helping to ensure success of both this project & the Center's programs. We also hope to see additional outreach to neighborhood groups such as the Naglee Park Campus Community Association & additional engagement to generate interest in the homes among low-income folks who don’t own cars.
Local Context in Design Elements: We appreciate the significant amount of common space available for residents, retail on East Santa Clara Street & activation on North 21st Street. As First Community Housing moves forward with the design, we encourage you to explore incorporating Portuguese design or other elements that reflect the neighborhoods culture into this project.
This project will bring 125 affordable homes, supportive services, & 2,400 sq ft of commercial space to a small transit-oriented lot on the East Santa Clara bus corridor. With the highest standard of sustainability, comprehensive TDM measures, & an innovative design maximizing density, the Village at Roosevelt will be an important asset for the community. With our above feedback considered, we look forward to seeing this project move through the entitlement process to bring much-needed housing to East Santa Clara Street.
Catalyze SV’s staff, Board, and Project Advocacy Committee members