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70 North 27th Street

In Design

70-80 N 27th Street, San Jose, CA 95116

Project Overview

• Project Type: Market Rate + Affordable

• Owner/Developer: HC Investment Associates

• Presented to our members: January 2023

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Catalyze SV evaluates project sustainability, equity, and vibrancy. Learn about our project review process.

70 North 27th Street Project Scorecard
Project Overview:

This 1.16 acre lot is partially occupied by a two-story office building and within the Five Wounds / Little Portugal neighborhoods. The site is located within walking distance to VTA’s upcoming BART Phase II expansion including the 28th Street/Little Portugal transit station. The project proposes a total of 198 units through 25 studios and 173 one-bedroom homes, with 30 of those homes categorized as affordable housing. Project density is 174 dwelling units per acre (DUs/AC) and the building height is about 70 feet (87 feet including spires.) It includes one-story with three levels of mechanized puzzle parking to accommodate a total of 210 vehicle parking stations for a 1.1 parking ratio. It will also incorporate 70 bicycle parking spaces. Future residents will enjoy onsite amenities such as a podium, rooftop decks, a fitness room, meeting room, and a community gathering space.

70 North 27th Street scored an overall 4 out of 5 from our Project Advocacy Committee members.

Community Score: 3/5

Our members are thankful to be included in your community engagement efforts. We also appreciate that the team conducted a meeting back in December of 2022 to gather additional feedback and community input. Along those lines, the fact that the surrounding community was consulted to finalize the buildings’ architectural design was very well received. Yet some members were left with the impression that engagement so far hasn’t exceeded the minimum. One recommendation is to expand your engagement and reach out to Save Our Trails, trails staff at the City of San Jose, and Friends of Five Wounds Trail to gather additional feedback. Their input could improve the uses of the paseo and the connectivity to the future Five Wounds trail.

Vibrancy Score: 4/5

Our members really appreciate that you propose a building design which meets the neighborhood’s character. The Mediterranean architectural elements in combination with design features from Mexican and Portuguese heritage will enhance the neighborhood. We really appreciate your desire for a rooftop garden, as well as the pedestrian paseo which will connect to the future Five Wounds Trail. Other well-received features include the community room, fitness room, and a community gathering space. Lastly, we all liked that the building design hides the parking garage and instead pedestrians will see a continuation of uses along 27th and 28th street. We’re surprised the developer hasn’t further activated the ground floor of this project, as we’ve seen on most other market-rate and mixed-income projects. Two suggestions from our members are to include a small room for a community food pantry and/or space for childcare.

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Transportation Score: 4/5

Our members are happy to see homes proposed so close to VTA’s upcoming new transit center and BART station. As we understand it, the project proposes 210 parking slots through an innovative parking system composed of three levels of mechanized parking. This will result in a parking ratio of 1.1. The project will also add 70 bicycle parking spaces through long and short-term parking structures. Our members would like to see a smaller car parking ratio, yet are happy to see the team provide alternative measures such as bike locker rooms in each floor, and potentially a scooter/bike sharing program. Two recommendations from our members are to explore integrating parking for larger cargo bikes and a commitment to adding a bike/scooter rental program. This site is particularly suited to biking because of its location next to BART and a trail, so we suggest additional efforts to beef up the bike infrastructure of the site and reduce the reliance on automobiles.

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Intensity/Zoning Score: 5/5

It’s great to see 198 homes proposed in a neighborhood within walking distance to VTA’s planned BART Phase II 28th Street / Little Portugal transit station. At 174 density units per acre, our members believe this is a very positive addition to the Five Wound / Little Portugal neighborhoods and praise developers who use density bonus policies to build more homes. Our members really like the combination of studios and one-bedrooms suited to folks like single people and seniors, yet really wish there was a possibility to integrate larger units to accommodate families. One concern discussed with our members is the possibility of the project scaling back the height and number of homes because of engineering concerns VTA may have related to the BART tunnel. A revised project lower in height or the number of homes would probably result in a lower score from our members in this category.

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Sustainability Score: 4/5

As we understand it, the buildings’ design enables for natural cooling and ventilation into the corridors and internal parking garage. The design also allows natural light into corridors of every floor. The developer may wish to use an additional measure to cool the building, perhaps like a trellis with vines. Additional sustainable features include energy-efficient appliances, as well as EV charging stations. Yet the best received feature among our members is the proposed rooftop garden composed of drought-tolerant plants. We wish to see a confirmed commitment to keep the rooftop garden in the designs because we see far too few of those in Silicon Valley even though they’re so well-suited. Overall, our members liked the combination of sustainability features and recommend a balance between the rooftop garden and solar panels to offset residents’ energy costs.

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Affordability Score: 4/5

This project proposes 10 units at 50% of the area median income (AMI), 10 units at 60% AMI, and an additional 10 units at 100% AMI. Our members were very happy to hear that a total of 30 affordable homes will be provided in the projects’ current form. Our members really liked the variety of income levels, yet wish there were 2-bedroom homes to accommodate working families. We’d also like to see deeper levels of affordability and corresponding services on-site for those folks. One recommendation from our members is to explore homes at 30% AMI to help provide housing options to those on fixed income and/or limited means such as restaurant workers, grocery clerks, etc.

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Legacy Score: N/A /5

Our members did not feel that legacy was applicable to this project.

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