Freedom Circle

In Design

3905 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, CA 95054

Project Overview
  • Project Type: Housing + Commercial + Park

  • Owner/Developer: Greystar

  • Presented to our members: March 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 or the following links:

* 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)

Freedom Circle Project Scorecard

Project Overview:

 

Freedom Circle by Greystar is for 1,075 apartments, with 15% affordable to those making 100% of the Area Medium Income and 2,500 sq ft of commercial or community space. The 13-acre development includes a 2-acre park, 1,413 car parking spaces, and spaces for 396 bikes.

 

Freedom Circle scored 3.5 out of 5 overall from our Project Advocacy Committee members.

 

Community Score: 4/5

Our members believe Greystar has done an excellent job of reaching out to businesses and companies in the area, including working closely with neighboring Pedro’s. Since there aren’t residences next to this site, working with corporations can help ensure access to the park and hopefully encourage nearby employees to move to Freedom Circle. We believe a bike lane on Freedom Circle connected to the San Tomas Aquino Creek trail will benefit the community. Our members believe that by reaching out to the Santa Clara Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), Greystar could gain support and productive input. Furthermore, it would be valuable to engage trail users and residents of Santa Clara Council Districts 1 and 2 who might utilize the park.

Vibrancy Score: 3/5

With 1,075 homes and a 2-acre public park set to replace an empty lot running next to the San Tomas Aquino Creek trail, this project will automatically increase the area’s vibrancy. Our members appreciate that fitness amenities for residents are included and that the park contains a playground and multi-use sports court to promote the health and wellness of the broader community. While bringing residents and public space into this office-focused area will increase vibrancy, our members believe that 2,500 sq ft of commercial space for 2,000 residents and visitors to the park is very inadequate. Our members would like Freedom Circle to include additional retail space such as a café/restaurant and a convenience store. Finally, while we believe the park offers a good mix of activity areas, we’d like to see publicly accessible restrooms, public programming, and less formal retail such as a food truck spot or Saturday market.

Transportation Score: 3/5

Freedom Circle’s location with minimal public transportation options nearby makes prioritizing non-car trips a challenge. Our members believe Greystar provides the appropriate number of parking spaces and is correct in pricing parking. By providing designated drop-off and pick-up locations for ride-share and deliveries, the proposal encourages a car-lite lifestyle. Freedom Circle, with pedestrian-oriented access streets, surrounding employers, and within walking distance of Santa Clara Square residents, provides pedestrian access to jobs and amenities. The San Tomas Aquino Creek trail provides safe biking access to VTA Light Rail at Great America Station, large employers, and south to Central Santa Clara. To fully take advantage of the Trail, Freedom Circle should go beyond the bike storage and repair stations provided to become a "bike-oriented development.” A bike-oriented development would require at least one residential bike parking space per unit or in-unit wall mounts and ample bike racks for visitors at the park. Finally, our members strongly support the proposal to narrow Freedom Circle and provide a protected bike lane. We’ll communicate our position to the City and hope Greystar can utilize Catalyze SV’s support to make this happen.

Sustainability Score: 4/5

Our members were glad to see Freedom Circle designed to meet GreenPoint Rated Silver and feature all-electric appliances to take gas out of units. We also appreciate the high-efficiency building systems to reduce energy and water consumption and the addition of a rainwater capture system to reduce runoff. Greystar could push for GreenPoint Gold or Platinum, and we’d like to see extensive solar systems on available rooftop space.

Intensity/Zoning Score: 4/5

Freedom Circle takes an underutilized lot and works to maximize the residential units by adding a 3rd level of partially underground parking and wrapping most of the podium with apartments. The residential density of 95 units per acre is high for Santa Clara and will complement the surrounding tech/commercial properties. That said, our members continue to encourage the maximum number of new homes. This site would be suitable for high-rise, mixed-use residential with retail and office space included.

Affordability Score: 4/5

Catalyze SV members place a high value on projects where affordable housing is on-site and mixed with market-rate units, as is the case here. We also appreciate that because of the scale of Freedom Circle, this development will produce 166 affordable homes, including larger 2-bedroom units for families. Our members’ main concern is that 100% of Area Medium Income (AMI) in Santa Clara County is not affordable to low-income residents or even many teachers, police officers, firefighters, and people early in their careers. While we understand that the affordability level is following Santa Clara policy, Greystar should make some units affordable to those with a lower AMI for a more diverse community of residents.

Legacy Score: N/A

Members of Catalyze SV didn’t think this category was applicable to this site.

 
 
Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5

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