Berryessa Transit Center
1620 Berryessa Road, San Jose, CA 95133
Project Type: Affordable Housing
Owner/Developer: Affirmed Housing
Presented to our members: December 2022
Catalyze SV evaluates project sustainability, equity, and vibrancy. Learn about our project review process.
For more information, please refer to our scorecard below:
* 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)
Berryessa / North San Jose Transit Center
The Berryessa TOD is to be located on a 1.03 acre lot owned by VTA and is within walking distance to the Berryessa Transit Center with a BART Station. As we understand it, it is Phase 1 of the larger 3.3 acre transit-oriented development to be integrated into the larger Berryessa BART Urban Village Plan. The Berryessa TOD proposes a 100% affordable, 10-story building composed of ground-level parking over 9 stories of residential units. The project features a total of 193 units consisting of 44 studios, 45 one-bedroom, 51 two-bedroom, and 53 three-bedroom homes. Residents will receive on-site supportive services and will enjoy amenities like an outdoor play structure for children, BBQ and seating area, and free VTA transit passes. The project will incorporate 48 vehicle parking spaces for a 0.25 parking ratio, as well as 195 bicycle parking spaces.
Berryessa Transit Center scored 4.5 out of 5 overall from our Project Advocacy Committee members.
Community Score: 4/5
Catalyze SV PAC members appreciate the ongoing willingness of Affirmed to engage our organization and respond to our constructive feedback. As we understand it, there was one VTA-led community meeting on this proposal held back in September of 2022. Our members are happy some community engagement has occurred, yet we want to see more engagement as this is VTA-owned land. Specifically, our members want to see engagement with mobility and transit advocates, as well as underrepresented communities such as the Berryessa Flea Market Association and other equity-focused groups. Given the proximity to BART, it is imperative to receive feedback from people and organizations with deep knowledge of transit needs and opportunities.
Vibrancy Score: 4/5
Our members appreciate the variety of services proposed to directly serve the needs of many individuals and families. Among the best-received features were the inclusion of a children’s play area, computer room, and public art, the latter of which will also enhance the surrounding neighborhood. Our members were also happy to see Affirmed creating a small space for a food pantry, a key resource to access food in challenging times. Two suggestions from our members include: exploring integrating a childcare center within the building – a key community resource lacking in East San Jose, and a clearly defined bike pathway connecting to the Berryessa BART Station. We would also encourage Affirmed to continue considering how to activate its ground-floor along a crucial new road that leads into the Transit Center.
Transportation Score: 5/5
Our members were very happy at the number of vehicle parking spaces provided as a way to dedicate more room for homes and not cars. It is especially important given the proximity to BART & VTA’s bus options. Along those lines, we really appreciate Affirmed, on yet another project, providing VTA transit passes to all households. As we understand it, the project proposes 48 parking spaces, including electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, for a 0.25 parking ratio. In addition, it proposes 195 short and long-term spots for bicycle parking. Overall, our members were very happy with the transportation plan and wish to see no changes that would increase the number of car parking spaces. As this site is one of the rare in the South Bay with excellent BART access, Affirmed may also give thought to a broader transit stipend in addition to, or instead of, a VTA transit pass.
Sustainability Score: 5/5
The project is pursuing GreenPoint Rated (GPR) Gold certification, which goes above the City’s minimum sustainability standards. Our members appreciated the variety of sustainability elements like energy-efficient appliances, drought-tolerant landscaping, and the solar panels on the rooftop to offset residents’ utility bills. This combination of strategies will ensure this proposal reaches its goal of net-zero energy. Overall, our members were impressed with the sustainability plan, yet we want to ask Affirmed to commit to including a variety of native plants and grass.
Intensity/Zoning Score: 4/5
It’s great to see 193 affordable homes within 10-stories proposed adjacent to robust transit options and in a neighborhood that needs more proposals like this. Our members were happy to see this project at 202 dwelling units per acre as a means to provide affordable and connected housing options for working families. We appreciate and applaud Affirmed for going with 10 stories. Of the 4 projects we’ve scored so far from Affirmed, this will be the tallest. Yet some members wonder if alternative and/or emerging construction technologies such as mass timber would offer more homes in the form of a taller building. Affirmed might also explore putting the parking underground. This site is ideally suited for even taller buildings than 10 stories because it is located next to a tall parking garage, industrial sites on Mabury Road, and the future multi-story redeveloped Berryessa Flea Market site. Overall, our members appreciated the height/density and wish to see no changes which would reduce it.
Affordability Score: 5/5
Our members were very happy to see this project as 100% affordable housing. We really liked the variety of income levels which will support mostly working families with jobs like grocery clerks, restaurant cooks, etc. Some of our members were very impressed with the affordability in the form of two and three-bedroom homes and wish other developers followed Affirmed Housing’s lead in this aspect. As we understand it, this site will provide 166 very low-income homes, as well as 77 homes for those earning up to 60% of the AMI. Overall, our members liked the variety of affordability and believe it will meet key affordable housing needs for many individuals and families in the area.
Legacy Score: N/A
Our members did not feel that legacy was applicable to this project.