400-plus homes are eyed at choice site near San Jose BART station


SAN JOSE — Several hundred homes are being eyed on a prime site near a BART station in San Jose — but the number of residences currently envisioned is far fewer than a previous proposal for that location.

Slightly more than 400 homes could be developed on a wedge-shaped property a short distance from the Berryessa/North San Jose BART station, according to a preliminary proposal on file with San Jose city planners.

The development site is a roughly 13-acre site at 1655 Berryessa Road about a block or two from the Berryessa BART station, which is San Jose’s only BART stop at present.

The latest proposal for the property is the development of as many as 407 residences on the site, which is owned by an affiliate headed up by the Facchino family, whose first local business was a Depression-era trucking operation in downtown San Jose.

The new version of the project calls for the development of townhomes on the site. However, along with townhomes, the project might accommodate condominiums, apartments and single-family homes as well.

What is clear, however, is that the latest version of a proposal for the site hints at a development with considerably fewer residences than plans previously floated for the location by Rob Facchino, principal executive with Terracommercial Real Estate and a member of the family that owns the property.

In June 2023, the San Jose City Council approved a Facchino-proposed plan to develop the site with up to 850 apartments and condos, as well as an office building totaling as much as 455,000 square feet of commercial space. The commercial space most likely would have been a medical office building.

The latest proposal also hints at a project with considerably less density than prior versions.

The new preliminary proposal indicates the property owners seek an expedited city planning review of the proposal via the SB 330 state law. Developers can employ provisions in SB 330 to limit roadblocks that local government agencies can place in a project’s path.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the 1655 Berryessa Road proposal would also utilize a “builder’s remedy” gambit that can be a more adversarial approach to project approval.

“This isn’t the lowest density you can have for this type of residential product,” said Bob Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Valley Synergy, a land-use consultancy.

As a general approach, San Jose city leaders are attempting to ensure that the parcels that are near the city’s only BART station are developed as very high-density transit-oriented projects.

However, at the Berryessa Flea Market site that is right next to the BART station, the Bumb Family, owners of that site, recently floated plans for a dramatically less dense — and different — project than originally envisioned for the site.

Rather than 1.5 million to 2.3 million square feet of office space along with 3,450 residences, the property owners now are floating a plan for no office space and considerably less housing.

The property owners not only have ditched the office space plans — with the backdrop of a Bay Area office market that has become feeble — but they also have drastically downsized the housing plans to just 940 units. The commercial space, most likely some form of retail or dining sites, would total only 45,000 square feet.

“You want to have projects near BART stations that are very high density,” Staedler said.

If San Jose officials agree to proposals for housing that is relatively low for transit sites, the Bay Area’s largest city might find it tough to comply with Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) mandates imposed by the state government.

“The city will never hit its RHNA numbers if this trend continues,” Staedler said.

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