2080 Almaden Road & 2112 Canoas Garden Ave. San Jose, CA 95125
Project Type: Affordable Senior Housing
Owner/Developer: Affirmed Housing
Presented to our members: January 2022
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)
Almaden Apartments Project Scorecard
The 6-story project is proposed at the corner of 2080 Almaden Rd & 2112 Canoas Garden Ave and it features 80 units for seniors with a mix of unit sizes. It proposes 56 studios, 23 one-bedroom units, and 1 two-bedroom unit with varying affordability levels for residents. The project is 100% affordable and plans to allocate 39 units for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and Rapid Re-Housing (RRH), 39 units for residents earning between 50%-60% AMI, and two manager units. Total floor residential area will be 69,338 square feet over 0.59 gross acre site. It proposes 27 ground-level parking spaces, as well as a bicycle storage room for 45 bikes. The building is pursuing GreenPoint Rated Goal by being all-electric, installing solar roof panels, providing energy-efficient appliances, etc. Proposed resident amenities include VTA transit passes, a computer room, continuing education activities, as well as a conference room in the first floor.
Almaden Apartments Scored 3.5 out of 5 overall from our Project Advocacy Committee members.
Community Score: 4/5
While Affirmed Housing held one community meeting on November 2021 to collect feedback from the surrounding community, our members believe Affirmed should specifically engage older residents because seniors are the target population for the Almaden Apartments. Their feedback is crucial to create a project that meets their specific needs. Beyond state and local community engagement requirements, PAC members would like to see Affirmed conduct this targeted outreach tied to the community meetings scheduled for March and May of 2022. An aspect our members liked was Affirmed’s efforts to continue to engage local Native American tribes.
Vibrancy Score: 3/5
Our members appreciate the variety of resident services which are being proposed, yet there is uncertainty on the design of the ground floor and other amenity spaces throughout the building as Affirmed is still finishing its designs. Our members would like to see community spaces dedicated for activities and recreational purposes for seniors, as opposed to a single conference room. Additionally, redesigning the street frontage area and ground level floor to include more windows and reduce blank walls would increase the aesthetic and attractiveness of the site. We’d like to see a more creative use of ground level space by including art murals or green frontage to make the corner, street-facing area more active and inviting.
Transportation Score: 4/5
The site is located within half-mile from VTA Curtner Light Rail Station and a 7-minute walk to a bus stop. The project proposes 27 ground-level parking spaces, including 4 electric vehicle parking stations, resulting in a 0.34 parking-to-unit ratio. Our members like this low ratio, as it means more space for people rather than cars. PAC members were happy to hear VTA transit passes will be provided to all on-site residents to increase mobility options. In addition to the low parking ratio, the inclusion of 45 bicycle parking units and a bike storage room made Transportation one of the best-ranking categories for this project. Our members have two recommendations: automate the door to access the bike parking storage room and incorporate a guest bike parking structure in the front area of the building.
Sustainability Score: 4/5
The project is pursuing GreenPoint Rated (GPR) Gold certification, which goes above the City’s minimum sustainability standards. Our members appreciated the variety of sustainability elements like an all-electric building, drought-tolerant landscaping, and the solar panels on the flat rooftop to offset residents’ utility bills. Our PAC members would like to encourage Affirmed to pursue the GPR Platinum certification to make this a model project in terms of sustainability standards. Because there is no designated community meeting space, our PAC members believe the inclusion of a small garden on the rooftop would increase the physical activity and socialization among the seniors who would call Almaden Apartments home, improving the project both on Sustainability and Vibrancy.
Intensity/Zoning Score: 1/5
It’s fantastic to see 80 affordable homes in 6-stories on a small site proposed at the edge of a more well-off neighborhood that certainly needs more projects like this. Our members are always happy to see new homes being proposed, yet they were surprised by and disappointed in Affirmed Housing’s decision to pursue 6 stories when the area is designated for buildings up to 12 stories. Members recognize it’s a balancing act to work with neighbors and public officials, yet were frustrated Affirmed made this decision despite indicating little resistance from anti-housing voices. Moreover, this project is potentially eligible for SB 35 and thus a streamlined approval process. Adding 2 or 3 stories will make a big difference on the number of homes, so our members would like to see that. Overall, we encourage Affirmed to build community consensus for more homes & taller buildings by a) making a moral case on why this housing is essential; b) incorporating neighbors’ ideas on community amenities like ground floor activation; and c) mobilizing those who support more affordable homes. Affirmed can then more easily use existing laws to propose more stories on this site and others (where it’s feasible).
Affordability Score: 5/5
Our members were very happy to see this project as 100% affordable housing for seniors at different income levels. The project proposes 39 units for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and Rapid Re-Housing (RRH), 39 units allocated for residents between 50%-60% of the AMI, and 2 Manager units. Because seniors can be on a fixed income, the inclusion of varying income levels was well received and made Affordability the project’s highest score.
Legacy Score: N/A
Our members did not feel that legacy was applicable to this project.