1520 West San Carlos Street

In Review

1520 W. San Carlos St, San Jose, CA 95126

Project Overview
  • Project Type:Housing + Commercial

  • Owner/Developer: MV3 LLC

  • Presented to our members: April 2021

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Catalyze SV evaluates project sustainability, equity, and vibrancy. Learn about our project review process.

For more information, please refer to our scorecard below:

* Projects go through several phases. Developers submit applications to the City, get their design reviewed, do redesigns based on City & community feedback, resubmit proposals for review, and get approval (though can even redesign after approval)

1520 West San Carlos Street Project Scorecard

Project Overview:

 

1520 West San Carlos Street by MV3 LLC includes 202 apartments, with 28 of those as affordable apartments & 15,500 sq ft of commercial space. The development includes a paseo packet park, 187 parking spaces for cars, 71 for bikes, 55 for motorcycles/mopeds, & is within a 5-minute walk of frequent VTA bus lines 23 & 523.

 

1520 West San Carlos scored 3.6 out of 5 overall from our Project Advocacy Committee members.

Community Score: N/A

Our members believe this project is too early in the process to provide a score on community engagement. We believe that MV3 LLC should go beyond the requirement to contact neighbors with one community meeting and reach out to local businesses. The paseo that will serve as a pocket park at the back of the project is a community asset that would significantly benefit from neighbors’ input. 

Vibrancy Score: 3/5

Our members appreciate this project’s contribution to the streetscape, including wide sidewalks, public seating, & large murals that will add character to this area. We also believe the mix of uses & connecting paseo will bring all-day vibrancy to the neighborhood. 1520 West San Carlos also offers extensive residential amenities, including an outdoor living room, pool, gym, and rooftop gardening plots enabling residents to connect with their food. We also believe the co-working space for residents is a thoughtful touch that will become a trend in future developments. While MV3 LLC provides extensive amenities, we’re concerned they may not be available to residents in the affordable units in the new project. We want the final plan to provide them equal access to shared amenities to feel integrated into the development.

Transportation Score: 4/5

We’re glad that MV3 LLC has decided to reduce the number of parking spaces by implementing Transportation Demand Management (TDM) measures & that parking will be rented independent of units. We believe that VTA Smart Passes would be the most effective TDM measure for 1520 West San Carlos since it is within a 5-minute walk of frequent VTA bus lines 23 and 523. While our members are glad that the project is building more bike parking than required, we believe the development - 15 minutes from downtown by bike - should provide one bike parking space per unit.

Sustainability Score: 3/5

As we understand, the project will meet San Jose’s LEED Silver building standard, & MV3 LLC is working to make the building “as green as possible.” While we believe that this is a genuine commitment to sustainability, we hope that as the design progresses, MV3 LLC considers a higher LEED standard, rooftop solar, and more electric vehicle charging spaces than required.

Intensity/Zoning Score: 5/5

This proposal reaches the maximum height allowed under the area’s current urban village. This proposal is below the maximum number of homes allowed per acre because it includes commercial space, retail space, & a mix of bedroom types, all of which we support. 

Affordability Score: 3/5

Our members are pleased MV3 LLC has decided to include on-site affordable housing. We’re also intrigued by the approach that provides 15% of the floor area in 25 larger units. While this approach means that less than 15% of units are affordable, we believe the family units with more bedrooms will provide homes for more people in need. Our primary concern with the affordable units is that they are separated from the market-rate rate building with the paseo as the front yard. This not only presumes they won’t have access to equal amenities but also feels like they are being used to buffer the market-rate tenants from the paseo. 

Legacy Score: N/A

While our members didn’t think this category was applicable to 1520 West San Carlos, they appreciated that MV3 LLC is working to preserve the vintage neon signs on the property. We hope that this will convince other developers to adopt similar actions as the West San Carlos corridor develops.

 
Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5

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