UPDATE: West San Jose housing and hotel plan advances
Miramar Capital wants to build 580 units of affordable and market-rate housing, a 250-room hotel with ground floor retail and an open space park area. Photo by Jana Kadah.

A major West San Jose development is moving forward with hundreds of apartments and a hotel instead of office space.

The San Jose Planning Commission unanimously approved plans Wednesday for the Stevens Creek Promenade, located at Stevens Creek Boulevard and Lopina Way. The project is changing its office space to a six-story hotel at the developer’s request. It will also see nearly double the amount of affordable housing. Commissioner Jorge Antonio Garcia was absent.

The project by Miramar Capital received initial approval in 2019. The latest change calls for three residential buildings with 580 apartments with 173 deemed affordable, a 250-room hotel with ground floor retail and an open space park area. The on-site parking—about 704 spaces for the new homes and hotel—would be provided in podium levels under each of the structures.

“I love this,” Commissioner Chuck Cantrell said. “The only thing that could make this project better is to use (local contractors).”

Humberto Nava from the Nor Cal Carpenters Union said he reached out to the developer to discuss labor standards, but has not heard back—a notable concern for other local contractors who spoke at the meeting.

“I believe this is a great project that could bring vibrancy and jobs to San Jose with much needed housing to alleviate the housing crisis,” Nava said. “However, it is important to create opportunities for local residents with jobs that (have) livable wages.”

Deena Morsilli, one of the project planners, said the switch from offices to a hotel is based on market conditions.

San Jose has historically relied on business tourists to boost the local economy, which decreased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Team San Jose, a nonprofit that manages the city’s arts and cultural centers and tourism, reported zero dollars in revenue last year. This year it anticipates bringing in nearly $590 million—which is still a 51.8% drop compared to 2019.

Commissioner Pierluigi Oliverio said business travel may return to normal rates in time. And with Apple offices close by in Cupertino, the hotel may be advantageous. Still, he worries about nixing the office plans because property tax revenue from offices can be spent more flexibly by the city than transient occupancy taxes generated from hotels.

“I still support the project,” Oilverio said. “But the project has drastically changed and eliminating a commercial building for jobs is something the council should look at.”

The City Council is expected to review the project in August.

Rendering of one of the residential towers at Stevens Creek Promenade from Albany Drive. Photo courtesy of San Jose.

Scaling up

The redevelopment is one of many projects in West San Jose that fulfills the city's Urban Village plan. Urban Villages are mixed-use areas in the city with housing, commercial and office space to reduce traffic and balance the city's jobs-to-house ratio. They are also designed to be walkable and developed along transit corridors.

There are 60 Urban Villages planned in San Jose, including in areas such as North Capitol Avenue and near Oakridge Mall in South San Jose.

Other large projects in West San Jose include the Winchester Hotel, which is part of the Winchester Urban Village Plan, and the Costco planned for the Westgate Shopping Center on Prospect Road—a block away from El Paseo de Saratoga. Those projects have drawn sharp criticism from neighbors who say the scale doesn't match the surrounding single-story home neighborhoods and would increase traffic.

Randy Shingai, a West San Jose resident since 1980, said the plans for the Stevens Creek Promenade fit the neighborhood and he's excited to see more housing come online. Shingai said his biggest concern with bringing so many new homes to the area is scarce parking.

“There’s a bunch of parking spaces on Lopina Way that are always full by the people who work at the car dealerships nearby and live in the apartments behind,” Shingai told Lucescamaray Blog. “I believe most of those parking spaces are lost. It's not really clear exactly what the city intends to do.”

Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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