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VTA plans affordable homes near San Jose BART stops and in Google Village

SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is considering many affordable homes along the BART line planned for downtown San Jose.

The regional transit agency is considering the development of several hundred homes atop the proposed site of an underground BART stop next to Diridon station, including dozens of affordable homes.

“We plan to build housing above this BART facility next to Diridon station,” said Ron Golem, VTA’s director of real estate and transit-focused development.

Housing, including affordable housing, is also expected to develop adjacent to San Jose’s proposed BART stops at First Street and Santa Clara Street, and near East Santa Clara Street and North 28th Street, in over Diridon station.

Eterna Tower from 17-31 E. Santa Clara St. in downtown San Jose, located between North First Street and North Second Street, concept.  The view is facing south-east.
Eterna Tower from 17-31 E. Santa Clara St. in downtown San Jose, located between North First Street and North Second Street, concept. The view looks to the southeast. The Bank of Italy tower is visible on the right. (Anderson Architects)

But VTA officials say a housing tower that would create about 200 homes on a site with addresses ranging from 17 to 31 E. Santa Clara St. will not be feasible.

A 26-story skyscraper called Eterna Tower would create 200 homes, including dozens of affordable residences, on this site, according to plans filed with San Jose city officials. Roygbiv Real Estate Development, led by property manager Loida Kirkley, proposed the project.

DCI Engineers recently assessed the feasibility of building high-rise buildings next to the proposed downtown San Jose BART entrance on East Santa Clara Street and said it could be done. And Kirkley thinks developing more housing next to the BART could be a crucial part of the rail line’s success.

But the VTA pushed back.

“The challenge is that between the combination of a very small site and the very substantial additional expense to build on that site, the amount of additional cost would make any type of housing unfeasible,” Golem said.

Building on top of an underground station can be more expensive than towers that are not built on railway tracks.

“Affordable, market-priced housing wouldn’t work there,” Golem said. “It is not possible to build on this site.”

The VTA is seeking to seize two parcels at the 17 at 31 E. Santa Clara site through eminent domain proceedings so that the site can be used for the Downtown San Jose BART station.

The transit agency said up to 500 units are expected to be developed on the site atop the proposed BART stop at Diridon station.

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Post expires at 8:39pm on Wednesday June 22nd, 2022