WDA and Related will have a meeting with the San Jose Planning Commission on Tuesday regarding a zoning change that will permit retail on the property. It seems to be that this was settled previously, but oh well.
So the exact composition of the retail establishments is still up in the air. The developers said that there has been demand to add another restaurant to the mix. The last we heard was that possibly Nijiya would move to a larger facility, and a pharmacy would move in, but this has not been decided yet.
The hot-button topic for the neighborhood association seems to be PARKING. The development now is planned to have 520 units in six stories. The spokesman for Related said that they would build 1.4 parking spaces for each unit. Are we assuming that all of the new tenants will be young and that they will all ride bicycles? I don’t see how we can assume – or require this. This is California, and people drive cars here. Expect each bedroom to have one car going with it – parked somewhere….
Since this property is located six blocks from VTA light rail, the developer has the opportunity to reduce their parking allotment even lower than this. This is due to a new regulation from San Jose city. I’m working to find the specifics on this. Something called “Reduced Parking Density”. The real world effect will be visitor parking in Japantown overflowing into nearby neighborhoods and reducing quality of life for residents.
On the plus side, it turns out that the former ball field near the Akiyama Wellness center, which I believe is owned by the city, is being considered as a city parking lot. This is a good idea – I think – for a number of reasons:
- Instead of providing parking on the new Heinlenville site and continuing to draw business away from established businesses along Jackson Street, this will encourage visitors to Heinlenville to walk through the older district, both coming and going, and re-discover these shops and restaurants.
- Visitors to downtown San Jose will be enabled to park in Japantown and take VTA light rail into San Jose, easing downtown traffic and parking issues, as well as introducing more people to Japantown. Everyone wins.