1530 West San Carlos Street

In Review

1530 W. San Carlos St, San Jose, CA 95126

Project Overview
  • Project Type: Market-rate Housing + Commercial

  • Owner/Developer: Studio Current

  • Presented to our members: October 2019

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

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* 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)

1530 West San Carlos Street Project Scorecard

Project Overview:

 

1530 West San Carlos Street by Studio Current includes two separate phases. Combined, they will include 173 homes, over 21,000 square feet of commercial space, 189 parking spots for cars, and 73 spots for storing bikes.

 

1530 West San Carlos scored 3.5 out of 5 overall from our Project Advocacy Committee members.

Community Score: 3/5

The developer has held a couple of community meetings so far. We’ve heard concerns from the community related to displacing residents in the cottages on the current site, as well as that access to the paseo at the back of the proposed project may be cut off from the neighborhood. This project could also displace a pupuseria and other businesses currently on-site. Projects that displace small businesses and naturally occurring affordable housing, particularly in urban villages, should do more community engagement.  

Vibrancy Score: 4/5

It’s clear the architects put a lot of thought into the ground floor; the planned activation of it on San Carlos Street is impressive. We’re also excited to see at least the second example in San Jose of commercial office on the second floor of a mixed-use development. If the second floor includes an athletic club as the developer suggested is possible, we hope that it will be open to customers beyond project residents. While we love the idea of a paseo connecting to other parcels, we are very concerned about the public’s access to the paseo behind the buildings. Currently, it is slated to be a private open space. The project would score higher on the criterion if it ensures this space is public when the site opens. 

Transportation Score: 5/5

The developer’s proposal includes many ways to encourage mobility beyond the individually-driven car. The developer explained they will pursue many TDM measures, including transit passes to residents & businesses - particularly valuable because this project is along a rapid bus line. We’re glad the developer is unbundling the parking & having one level of parking below ground, as any floors of parking at or above ground-level reduce the opportunity for more essential uses. As Catalyze SV frequently does, we recommend this project includes as little parking as possible to enable more residents to afford to live in our city with as little new traffic as possible. For instance, the number of bike lockers could be increased to 1 per unit at a minimum. With multiple TDM efforts, we expect the developer to achieve the 30% parking reduction it noted is possible.

 

Sustainability Score: 3/5

The developer is allowing space for solar panels on the rooftop and a thermal hot water system too. We applaud this. We also like the native and drought-tolerant plants planned, as well as the raised planters on the 5th floor of one of the buildings, which we think would be best used for food that residents can grow & eat. Greater sustainability can be achieved through substituting in a pervious driveway. As always, we look for developers to go beyond city and state requirements to achieve a higher score for this criterion. 

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: 1/5

Not only might this project displace current residents on a limited income living on-site, but it does not qualify for Ellis Act protections for them. The proposal excludes building any affordable housing on-site, opting instead to pay a fee. This is not a preferred option (unless the developer goes above and beyond to support affordable housing in another way or place). Even though not required by the Ellis Act, and regardless of if the current homes are deemed historic, the owner-developer could:

  • provide relocation benefits for existing residents, 

  • enable them to live on-site as long as possible, and/or 

  • offer them and the businesses the opportunity to return to the new project once completed for the current or reduced rent. 

To prevent displacement, the developer might consider signing an agreement with the residents of the few cottages similar to the one Pulte Homes signed with the Winchester Ranch mobile home park residents guaranteeing them new housing for as long as they live. 

Legacy Score: N/A

Since the developer explained that it is waiting for the City to determine if the cottages are historic, we withheld scoring this category at this time.

 
Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5

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