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Residential tower planned for central San Jose a few train stops from downtown

SAN JOSE — Developers are planning a residential and retail tower a short distance from downtown San Jose — a few stops on light rail from offices proposed by tech giants in the city’s urban heart, an architect said Thursday.

Southwest Plaza at Bascom Station is expected to be the new name of the housing high rise, said Kurt Anderson, principal executive with Campbell-based Anderson Architects, which designed the 10-story tower.

“We’re right across the street from the Bascom light rail station,” Anderson said. “We truly are at a transit hub.”

The development is expected to feature 710 residential units and 12,500 square feet of retail. The site also will include a plaza totaling 11,500 square feet.

“This is part of the proposed Southwest Expressway Urban Village Plan in San Jose,” Anderson said. “We are just following the general plan, the city’s vision for development in that area.”

The developers believe the project would be convenient for people who need to access downtown San Jose or other nearby communities.

“By light rail, we are about five minutes from the Diridon transit station and about five minutes from downtown Campbell,” Anderson said. “We think it’s a great location.”

The project would be a huge net increase in the number of residential units in San Jose. The site, which would be bulldozed for the new development, currently contains the 126-unit Shelter Creek Apartments.

“This shows how some of these older assets have become popular for up-zoning and higher densities,” said Bob Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Synergy, a San Jose-based land-use and planning consultancy.

The units would all be rental apartments, including a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, Anderson said.

The proposed development’s location — outside of downtown, but near enough to swiftly reach it — represents a change in how people view the development and transit upgrades in San Jose’s central core, and hints at growing interest in Silicon Valley mass transit, Staedler said.

“People are starting to take transit more seriously outside of the urban core,” Staedler said.

Downtown, San Jose-based Adobe Systems is planning a new office tower across the street from its current headquarters complex, where 3,000 Adobe employees would work.

Mountain View-based Google is considering a big downtown San Jose complex that would consist of 6 million to 8 million square feet of offices where 15,000 to 20,000 Google employees could work.

“This is part of the Google effect, the Google bounce,” Staedler said.

Additional transit stops are expected to become a focus of development proposals.

“You will see projects along all the reaches of light rail and mass transit in the Bay Area,” Staedler said. “The demand for housing and office development is starting to overflow to all of those locations.”

San Jose may also be poised for a wave of new and unique developments, Anderson said, with many geared towards access to existing or planned rail lines in Silicon Valley.

“We are going to see some of the most interesting architecture and proposed projects, all kinds of great pedestrian- and transit-oriented spaces,” Anderson said.

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