Congratulations to Downtown West, El Paseo de Saratoga, 80 Saratoga & Freedom Circle for Best Projects of 2021/2022!
We are eager to continue to recognize the best built projects in the Silicon Valley as reviewed by our members. Catalyze SV's Project Advocacy Committee reviewed 21 projects since the beginning of 2021 with Google/Lendlease's Downtown West as Best Overall Project! Our members also scored Sand Hill Property Company's El Paseo de Saratoga as Best Mixed Income & Maracor's 80 Saratoga as Best Affordable Housing project! Lastly, we are proud of Greystar's Freedom Circle for earning Most Receptive to Member's Feedback award based on the score provided by our members. For a complete list of Winners, click here.
Best Overall Project of 2021/22: Downtown West by Google/Lendlease
Downtown West by Google / Lendlease is a development proposal slated to transform 84 acres around Downtown San Jose and the surrounding Guadalupe River Park. It was presented to our Project Advocacy Committee (PAC) members in January and October of 2020 and later re-scored in May of 2021 for a score of 4.43. The best-received elements from our members include extensive community engagement during the Covid-19 pandemic, the vibrant use of activated & connected ground floor uses, and maximizing height/density to provide as many homes as possible. Along those lines, we appreciated that Google/Lendlease have decided to preserve Stephen’s Meat's “Dancing Pig” sign for the community to enjoy. Downtown West proposes 4,000 (up to 5,900) homes, about 7.3 million square feet of office space & up to 500,000 square feet of active uses including retail, cultural and arts spaces, etc. It also includes up to 300 hotel rooms, an event center, a community center near the railroad station, and roughly 15 acres of park space. As we understand it, the project will also integrate up to 7,160 parking spaces that include EV (Electric Vehicle) charging stations. Overall, our members were impressed with many elements of the proposal and look forward to it being built.
Best Mixed-Income Project of 2021/22: Sand Hill Property's El Paseo de Saratoga
El Paseo de Saratoga by Sand Hill Property Company is a proposal located in West San Jose that seeks to replace a portion of an existing big-box retail site. El Paseo de Saratoga was first presented to our members in October of 2020, and later re-scored a 4.0 in February of 2021. Some of the improvements welcomed by our Project Advocacy Committee (PAC) members include expanding the community engagement process, as well as re-locating the park to Quito Road to enhance and improve the overall connectivity & walkability of the site. The project will create four buildings and will include 994 housing units (including 150 affordable homes), 165,000 square feet of commercial space, a 1.1-acre public park, and 3.5 acres of open space. This will all be anchored by 43,000 square feet of space for a Whole Foods grocery store. As we understand it, the proposal will incorporate a total of 1,944 parking spaces, most of which will be underground. The height of the buildings ranges from nine to twelve stories to transition into lower-density adjacent homes which will be separated by a 0.7-acre buffer zone. Our members believe El Paseo de Saratoga will create a connected and thriving neighborhood with many amenities for future residents and the surrounding community.
Best Affordable Housing Project of 2021/22: Maracor's 80 Saratoga
Maracor’s 80 Saratoga project in Santa Clara was one of our highest-scoring projects ever with a score 4.8 out of 5. Presented to our members in April of 2022, this six-story building will be offering 200 new affordable homes and a robust set of amenities for residents and the surrounding community. The proposal consists of podium parking on the first floor and five floors of apartment homes above. Unit sizes will range from studios to three-bedroom homes – one of the best-received features by our Project Advocacy Committee (PAC) members. On-site amenities include a community room and recreational spaces such as an outdoor workout station, a child’s play area, a picnic area, a half-size basketball court, a dog park, and residents will receive transit passes. Indeed, our members were very impressed at the number of homes and variety of amenities to directly serve the needs of larger families in the area. Additionally, the proposal includes 65 residential parking spaces, and 29 spaces for commercial use. Overall, our members were very impressed with Maracor’s proposal which provides a large number of affordable homes with key amenities for many individuals and families.
Most Receptive to Member's Feedback for 2021/22: Greystar's Freedom Circle
Freedom Circle by Greystar is a mixed-use project on a 13.3-acre site within the Freedom Circle Focus Area Plan in Santa Clara. It proposes a total of 1,075 residential units, including 166 affordable homes, ranging from Studios to two-bedrooms. Freedom Circle was first presented to our Project Advocacy Committee (PAC) members in March of 2021 scoring a 3.5 out of 5. After substantive improvements, the project was re-scored in May of 2022 by our members and scored a 4.3 out of 5 – making it the most improved project for 2021/22. One of the most substantive changes pertains to the expanded community engagement to include Santa Clara’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). In addition, Freedom Circle will integrate a designated area for food trucks as well as public restrooms accessible to the public. Lastly, our members applaud Greystar’s commitment to lower the Affordability from 100% Area Median Income (AMI) for an average range of 80% of the AMI. Overall, our members are ecstatic that some of our suggested improvements were incorporated and believe it has made the Freedom Circle project even better!