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Fresh details emerge for big affordable homes complex in San Jose

SAN JOSE — Fresh plans have emerged for a big complex of hundreds of affordable homes that would replace a retail center in San Jose, according to city planning documents.

The housing would be built at 2628 and 2638 Union Avenue near South Bascom Avenue, the public records show.

The current version of the six-story mixed-use project proposes 260 apartments and 2,400 square feet of ground-floor retail, according to the proposal. The development site totals 2.3 acres.

This iteration is scaled back from the original proposal. The initial version called for 280 apartments and 11,900 square feet of ground-floor retail.

An affordable homes complex with 260 residential units and ground-floor retail at 2628 and 2638 Union Ave. in San Jose, concept. 

The residences would be “100% affordable,” according to the new planning documents submitted by San Francisco-based Maracor Development and Pacific West Communities, a unit of Idaho-based The Pacific Cos., the development alliance that is heading up the project.

The project would bulldoze Maplewood Plaza, a retail center on the site with numerous shops and restaurants.

The site at present is owned by a San Jose-based family trust led by Joseph Kovalik, according to a property database. It wasn’t immediately known if the developers have reached a deal to eventually buy the property from the owners if the city approved the proposal.

This sort of residential development that could replace retail centers may become more common, said Bob Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Valley Synergy, a land-use consultancy.

“It’s great to see development proposed with this density in this part of San Jose,” Staedler said.

Maplewood Plaza, a shopping center with addresses of 2628 and 2638 Union Ave. in San Jose, shown within the outline. Boundaries are approximate. (Google Maps)
Maplewood Plaza, a shopping center with addresses of 2628 and 2638 Union Ave. in San Jose, shown within the outline. Boundaries are approximate. 

The retail that is slated to be demolished totals 23,800 square feet.

Gyro’s, Burgers & More, Harbor Fish & Chips, Anwar Bazaar & Bakery, Union Chinese Restaurant, Maya’s Cafe, Diamond Shoe Repair, Song’s Kung Fu, Lush Spaw and Vogue Salon & Lounge are among the merchants whose locations might be bulldozed for the proposed development.

The residential project would include a variety of unit sizes, the planning documents show.

Of the 260 units, 112 would be studios, 68 would be two-bedroom units and 80 would be three-bedroom units.

The proposed affordable homes development is located within approximately 1.5 to two miles of multiple light rail stops that are on the Old Ironsides-Winchester line and the Baypointe-Santa Teresa line.

Staedler suggested that the proposed apartments don’t appear to have a striking appearance, based on his review of building images that are included in the latest proposal.

“The architecture of this submittal is lacking,” Staedler said. “It doesn’t have the urban vibrancy needed for housing projects.”




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