Republic @ Blossom Hill
605 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose , CA 95123
Project Type: Market Rate & Affordable Housing + Retail
Owner/Developer: Green Republic
Presented to our members: August 2020
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* 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)
Republic @ Blossom Hill Project Scorecard
Republic @ Blossom Hill by Green Republic at the Blossom Hill Light Rail Station includes 328 homes including a 6-story market-rate, mixed-use building with 239 units & a 5-story affordable housing development with 89 apartments. It also includes 15,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving commercial space, a public plaza, improvements to Canoas Creek Trail, and transit improvements in the 212 space light rail parking lot. The two residential buildings would have 323 vehicle parking spaces, 309 for bicycles, and 55 for motorcycles. The development is located on the Blossom Hill Station parking lot and next to VTA Line 27 bus stops that will be improved and relocated to Blossom Hill Road.
Republic @ Blossom Hill scored 4 out of 5 overall from our Project Advocacy Committee members.
Community Score: 4/5
Green Republic has done a good job of reaching out to the community & working to include community groups. The project has been responsive to community feedback on trail corridor improvements & station lighting that was integrated. We hope to see more feedback integrated through the new project website where residents can submit comments, find information about meetings, & sign up for the newsletter. We believe that Green Republic should continue to engage residents & make sure their engagement also includes train riders that use/used (pre-COVID-19) Blossom Hill Station.
Vibrancy Score: 4/5
Republic @ Blossom Hill does a great job of providing a vibrant paseo, perimeter park, & public plaza with space for seating. We also appreciate the amount of ground-floor retail & activity space included in the project. Space for a café or small market at the northern corner of the market rate building would be a great amenity for transit riders & the public plaza. Our members were glad to see the community room, which we hope to see open to a diverse array of community groups. Finally, our members hope to see additional activation of the public space through community organized activities, a weekly farmers market, or a daily farm stand to serve commuters.
Transportation Score: 4/5
With a location next to Blossom Hill Station, Canoas Creek trail, & the Blossom Hill Road bike lane (with planned improvements), this project is well-positioned to encourage sustainable transportation choices. Republic @ Blossom Hill takes advantage of the locations by providing ample bike parking, upgrading the creek trail, & creating a loop trail to facilitate bike access. We also are glad to see that a bike share station & scooter parking is being planned at the station, which will bring benefits to commuters & residents. The project also takes steps to encourage transit, by relocating & updating the VTA bus stop, renting parking spaces separately from market-rate apartments, & exploring car share spaces. Our member’s main recommendation is that Green Republic provide VTA transit passes to all residents to encourage transit use, reduce vehicle trips, & provide a valuable amenity.
Sustainability Score: 3/5
While we are happy to see that this project will build to LEED Silver & provide 10% of parking as EV spaces (+ 20% EV ready), we also understand that this matches what is required under San Jose’s existing regulation. To create a more sustainable development, Green Republic should strive for LEED Gold or Platinum, and/or implement additional water or energy efficiency measures. We also believe that this development misses an opportunity to generate onsite energy by putting solar panel shade in the VTA parking lot & on the roofs of the residential buildings. Additional ways of improving sustainability could be to add native plants or impervious surfaces to the parking lot.
Intensity/Zoning Score: 4/5
While we believe that the height & the density of this project is acceptable for this part of San Jose, developing on the Blossom Hill Station is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Green Republic should consider adding a floor & additional units to both the market-rate & affordable building. While we understand that there are concerns with the amount of parking, we believe that ample bike parking, transit passes for all residents, & car share could allow for Transportation Demand Management parking reductions. Stacked parking is another solution that could increase parking efficiency. For concerns about height, perhaps the state density bonus for affordable housing or Signature Project exemptions would enable additional height if the design can't fit 7 floors within 85 feet. Our members want to see more density on this site to both increase the number of homes & provide VTA with maximum ridership.
Affordability Score: 5/5
We were really impressed with the commitment to affordable housing that Republic @ Blossom Hill is making with 89 homes. This represents 28% of the project's units, which is well above San Jose’s standard of 15% & the 20% threshold that VTA requires in its transit-oriented development projects. Not only does the development provide ample units, but with 65% of the units for extremely-low income households, the project focuses on those most in need. We also appreciate that 43% of units will be 2 & 3 bedrooms & are impressed with the building amenities & outdoor space that includes tenant garden plots. We would encourage EAH to explore public & mental health services on-site for both residents & un-housed members of the community.
Legacy Score: N/A
Members of Catalyze SV didn’t think this category was applicable to this site.
Overall Score: 4 out of 5
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