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Berryessa Flea Market Site

In Review

1590 Berryessa Road, San Jose, CA 95113

Project Overview
  • Project Type: Housing + Office + Retail + Public Space

  • Owner/Developer: Borelli Investment Company


For more information, please refer to

* Projects go through several phases. Developers submit applications to the City, get their design reviewed, do redesigns based on City & community feedback, resubmit proposals for review, and get approval (though can even redesign after approval)

Since July 2020, Catalyze SV has actively engaged in evaluating and prioritizing the redevelopment plans for the Berryessa Flea Market site. In November 2023, we asked our members about the latest proposal from the Bumb family to reduce the density of the 2021-approved site plan from 3,450 homes to the new proposal of only 940 units – a 73% reduction.


Our organizations believe that the remaining land slated to be redeveloped at the Berryessa Flea Market - the “South Village” of Market Park - is one of the most important development sites in all of Silicon Valley. Not only is it a massive parcel of land owned by a single entity, but it is also closest to the most important new transit center in Silicon Valley in decades. In addition, the site includes the Berryessa Flea Market, an important part of our region’s culture, commerce, and history for 60 years. It has provided recreational opportunities for millions of annual visitors, as well as economic benefits and affordable goods for thousands of merchants, employees and shoppers, particularly those on the lower end of the income spectrum whose basic needs are typically unmet.

We can’t afford to fall back on the old ways and make these same mistakes again in the next stages of development. This is our last chance to build the kind of vibrant, walkable, and equitable community at the Berryessa Flea Market of which our community can be proud. Looking forward, we’d like to focus on what the City of San Jose, VTA, and the property owner/developer can get right this time. 

Our members weighed in with strong opinions. Unfortunately, based on the proposed changes, Catalyze SV now opposes the current proposal at the Berryessa Flea Market.

We oppose this proposal for five reasons:


1. Low Density is a Waste of Prime Land: The Berryessa Flea Market site, particularly the "South Village" of Market Park, holds immense significance as a potential hub for sustainable and forward-thinking urban development, especially with the recent opening of the Berryessa Transit Center and BART Station. There are very few sites in Silicon Valley with as much potential as this one. The site's proximity to robust transit services makes it an ideal location for high-density mixed-use housing, promoting walkability, ensuring affordability, and enabling equitable community development. A development at this site without much density – like the one now proposed – is a colossal waste of prime land in the heart of Silicon Valley.


2. Low Density Hurts Public Transit: BART and VTA aren’t just public transit agencies, they are public investments. The more people who ride transit, the better it is for these agencies. More importantly, transit agencies that receive more revenue from riders can be less reliant on taxpayer subsidies. More revenue can also lead to better transit
service, thus initiating a virtuous cycle. Very few Silicon Valley sites have access to such far-reaching transit service as this one. Reducing densities to the extreme extent of this latest proposal means fewer transit riders and less successful transit service.


3. Townhomes Are Wrong for this Site: The heavy reliance on townhomes at this location in this latest proposal is equally troubling, as it risks locking in a low-density land use for decades, hindering efforts to combat sprawl and tackle climate concerns. Once this site is developed, its land use will be set for at least a half-century. We can’t afford to get it wrong this time.


4. High-density Housing Enables More Vibrant Places: Maintaining a commitment to high-density housing at the Berryessa Flea Market site is crucial for creating vibrant mixed-use spaces, larger parks, more job opportunities, increased access to housing, and an overall amenity-rich urban environment that aligns with the vision our community deserves. Townhomes are more in keeping with suburban development, which segregates land uses and thus minimizes vibrancy.


5. Townhomes Don’t Solve Our Massive Housing Shortage: While we acknowledge the challenges posed by current economic conditions, we firmly believe that compromising on density and resorting to lower-density housing is not the solution. We need thousands more homes, particularly affordable ones. We can’t afford as a City to fall behind further our housing goals.


We want to thank Mayor Mahan and Councilmember Cohen for furthering some of these arguments and taking a position that mirrors ours.


We urge the developer to reconsider pursuing the construction of sprawling rows of townhomes via the "builder's remedy" and instead wait for more favorable market conditions to build the project San Jose needs.


The current design represents a bygone era of San Jose development that has become a burden weighing down our civic body. Catalyze SV will work hard to mobilize our members and expend other organizational resources to prevent this backward, bereft proposal from proceeding.


The Berryessa BART Flea Market Site is a unique opportunity for the City of San Jose and the property owner/developer to showcase their commitment to a progressive and sustainable urban vision for Silicon Valley.


We urge the decision makers to consider alternatives that prioritize density, affordability, and sustainable development for the Berryessa Flea Market site. We urge the City to stand firm on a forward-thinking vision. Our community's future depends on you making the right choices now.


If you have any questions about our priorities, please let us know. We are happy to talk further with you. Thank you very much for considering our perspectives.

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