Villas @ Buena Vista
1921 W. San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95128
Project Type: Affordable Housing + Commercial
Owner/Developer: PATH Ventures
Presented to our members: October 2021
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)
Villas @ Buena Vista Project Scorecard
PATH Ventures’ proposal is for a mixed-use, affordable housing development consisting of an 85-foot building with on-site services and ground-floor retail. This project features 94 affordable units and 1,877 square feet of commercial space on 0.56 acres along West San Carlos Street and Bascom Avenue in West San Jose. The building features apartment styles ranging from studios up to three bedrooms, as well as an active rooftop. PATH Ventures is proposing 23 total car parking spaces and onsite bike parking for residents to utilize.
Villas @ Buena Vista scored 4.44 out of 5 overall from our Project Advocacy Committee members.
Community Score: 4/5
Our members believe PATH Ventures has made solid efforts to engage with the community and surrounding neighbors despite being very early in their engagement process. We appreciate that PATH ventures have taken steps to include feedback from the tenants of other PATH projects into their design of this project as well as conducted in-person site visits and door-to-door outreach to meet and engage with surrounding neighbors. One extra community engagement measure our members would encourage PATH to explore is to also engage with surrounding neighbors of past PATH projects to identify and address areas of improvement for introducing their project and residents into the community.
Vibrancy Score: 4/5
Our members appreciate the number of community spaces and programs that PATH Ventures has proposed. These spaces include a community room, a computer room, a teaching kitchen, and a community garden for all residents to utilize. These spaces and the residential programs PATH has proposed with them create a unique, diverse affordable housing project that truly promotes the health and well-being of its residents. Additionally, our members appreciate the use of ground-floor retail to activate the sidewalk for a more vibrant project. To improve this category, our members recommend further activating the street with additional seating spaces and public art. Our members also discussed utilizing the surrounding antique stores to furnish and decorate the project given that there are several in the area.
Transportation Score: 4/5
Our members are pleased to see that PATH Ventures has a policy where it provides transit passes to all of its residents, and even has programs to assist residents in navigating these transit routes. This will help maximize the residents’ use of the surrounding transit services including the VTA 23/523 bus routes. We were also happy to see a low parking ratio of 0.18 spaces per unit proposed for this project. More importantly, we appreciate that PATH Ventures has been thoughtful in providing additional transportation services, including an onsite transportation service and a partnership with Lyft that allows for rideshares to be called at no cost to the resident. One improvement our members would like to see is additional bike parking spaces since the project has already proposed a bike-share program and there will likely be families occupying some of the units. Additionally, our members would recommend PATH create designated pick-up and drop-off spots for residents who will utilize rideshare or the onsite vanpool services.
Sustainability Score: 4/5
Villas @ Buena Vista has proposed several sustainability measures including solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and drought-tolerant landscaping. Our members also appreciated that the solar energy generated will be used to offset the increased energy demands of the common areas. Though PATH Ventures will achieve the city’s required LEED Silver standard, our members always encourage developers to reach a higher LEED or equivalent certification. Given the number of sustainability measures this proposal has already planned, it can serve as a model for future affordable housing projects if a higher LEED certification is achieved.
Intensity/Zoning Score: 5/5
One of the elements that our members were most impressed with in regard to this project was the efforts made to maximize the density of this project. At 171 dwelling units per acre, this project seeks to transform a site that currently sits idle. Our members appreciate the extra effort made by PATH Ventures to not only annex the site from the County but to also submit a General Plan amendment in order to increase the density of the project. In our experience, this is all too rare for market-rate and affordable developers alike, so PATH should be commended for its patience & foresight in pursuing this.
Affordability Score: 5/5
Our members are pleased to see a 100% affordable housing project that will provide 34 units to those experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity as well as 60 units that will be rented to those making between 30-80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Not only does this project offer units at affordable rates, but it also offers units ranging from studios to 3-bedroom units which could be occupied by families. We appreciate the inclusion of 3-bedroom units as it will allow families to access affordable homes and the project’s amenities.
Legacy Score: N/A
Our members did not feel that legacy was applicable to this project.