Williams & Dame Associates (WDA) and Loci are currently partnered to develop the 5.4 acre Corporation Yard site in San Jose, CA. The project is located in the heart of the Japantown neighborhood, one of only three remaining “Japantowns” in the United States. Upon completion, the project will include up to 600 residential units, 25,000 SF of neighborhood retail, and a new Creative Center for the Arts that will be the home for world-renowned San Jose Taiko (Japanese drumming corps) and will house offices, studios, and exhibition space for various San Jose arts organizations.
WDA secured the development rights in 2007 through an open, competitive process, and subsequently worked very closely with the community to successfully navigate the CEQA process for the site, gaining EIS approval in 2008. The project was suspended in late 2008 due to the deteriorating economy, but, based on WDA’s and Loci’s past performance with the City of San Jose, the team was invited back in 2012 to restart the development project. Currently, WDA and Loci are negotiating a final Purchase and Sale Agreement for the property while working through an EIS addendum for the project. As part of this process, the project team and the City are establishing a Fair Market Value for the site in an open book manner, with WDA and Loci sharing detailed financial pro formas with the City in order to arrive at a final negotiated price and demonstrate what the market will bear as a land value. Assuming that the remainder of the entitlement process proceeds smoothly, the project is due for a groundbreaking in late 2014.
- Significant increase in allowed density (220 units to 600 units) in order to provide increased energy for the Japantown business district.
- Up to 600 market rate apartments/condominiums, with an emphasis on smaller units/comparatively more affordable price points.
- Ground floor retail uses along Jackson Street that reinforces the existing Japantown business district.
- Underground parking to open up ground floor for public uses and connections to center of the site
- Extend Japantown shopping district along Jackson Street.
- Emphasis on local retail complementary to existing mix of uses.
- Improve connections to and through site for surrounding neighborhoods.
- Establish a unique sense of place rooted in Japanese heritage of the neighborhood/site.
- Reuse of former industrial yard – environmental remediation of past underground storage tank leaks.
- Lower parking ratios, increased emphasis on walking, transit, biking, car share options.
- Incorporation of green street and stormwater infrastructure.
- Five minute walk to light rail, 1.5 miles north of downtown San Jose, ten minute bike ride to downtown/San Jose State University/North First Avenue employment.
- Increased density closer to downtown core/North First Avenue employment equates to reduced regional transportation demands.
- New community park in middle of the site serves a public gathering space and can be programmed with arts/performance events.
- Ground floor of development is opened up to allow for public access through the site, rather than only at the perimeter.
- New private street adjacent to park can be utilized for community events – farmers market, festivals, etc.
(NOTE: All of this must be regarded as preliminary at this point.)