News! Not much, but it will do…

It looks like the sale of the “Heinlenville” property has finally closed (as of the end of March). In other words, the property does not belong to the city anymore… for once in many decades!

Williams and Dame next need to submit building permits, and these will surface on the internet soon enough.

Williams and Dame expects to be breaking ground later this year or perhaps early next year.

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About “Redevelopment”

It was pointed out to me recently that some people are confused by the title of this blog.

Since 1956 San José had a redevelopment agency (RDA), which served as an important component of the affordable housing development landscape in California.

In 2012, San José’s RDA and others throughout the state became casualties of budget-cutting. Now, they are no more. Besides serving in the drive for urban renewal, funding affordable housing, I believe San José’s RDA also was tasked with reviving downtown business areas such as San José’s Japantown.

The redevelopment agency is dead. Nothing we can do about it.

This doesn’t need to stop redevelopment. Low-income people still need affordable housing. Unique areas of the city still need encouragement achieving their potential. But now we can’t simply tap a government fund to make this happen. That makes it more complex, sometimes frustratingly so, but it doesn’t make it less important or more worthwhile.

Big Delay for Japantown Square??

I’m looking now at the following notice on the City of San Jose Online Permits page:

https://www.sjpermits.org/permits/general/emailpermitquery.asp?permitnum=DA16-001

Amendment to the Development Agreement previously approved. Associated with rezoning files no. PDC15-18 and PD15-055 Consideration of an ordinance to approve an amended Development Agreement between Jackson Taylor Partners, LLC, and the City of San Jose to amend and vest a previously approved Planned Development Zoning (File No. PDC15-018) and Planned Development Permit (File No. PD15-055) within the scope of the Development Agreement. The Development Agreement Amendment will vest entitlements for SEVEN YEARS to develop 520 residential units and 19,191 square feet of commercial space consistent with the provisions of the Japantown Corporation Yard Redevelopment Project Final Environmental Impact Report and subsequent Addenda, the Jackson-Taylor Residential Strategy, and the Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan on a 5.25 gross acre site bounded by N. Sixth Street, E. Taylor Street, N. Seventh Street, and Jackson Street.

There doesn’t seem to be any need for such an amendment, unless it involves adding a delay – in this, as much as SEVEN YEARS!

Construction was scheduled to begin late this year, or early next ear. Locals and residents should have received some sort of final notice by now.

Now, it appears that this project is delayed, once again. Unless someone can come up with other information…

Empire Seven Studios

As many of you in the San Jose Japantown area know, Juan Carlos Araujo and Jennifer Ahn have built a unique local art gallery on the fringes of Japantown called Empire Seven Studios – so called because they are at the intersection of Empire Street and Seventh Street.

Their murals have enlivened the walls of Japantown for many years. We wouldn’t be the same without them: Santo Market’s mural inspired by Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa? The “Shanghai” building’s looming irezumi dragon?

The building they have occupied and used for a gallery for ten years, is a former meat processing plant; it’s flanked by a motorcycle shop and a tire shop. Very funky and hard-scrabble corner of the city.

Yet it looks like their landlords have sold the property to a developer, to be built up into another apartment or condominium complex. For more information on this, check http://www.sjpermits.org for PDC16-028.

The good news is that they have an opportunity to acquire one of the old buildings on the 500 block of Sixth Street, an area that is in sore need of revitalizing.

They are looking for a little help. For those who truly love Japantown and want know how they can help, here is the way. Please watch Juan and Jennifer’s video on this page:

https://www.gofundme.com/save-empire-seven

Curtains for Empire Seven?

Looking at the City of San Jose Online Permits page, we see that a development is being planned for the area where Empire Seven studios and E.T. Tires are located.

City of San Jose Online Permits
PDC16-028
535 N 7th Street

Planned Development Zoning from Heavy Industrial (HI) to R-M(PD) zoning district to allow for the construction of up to 92 multi-family attached units on 1.25 gross acre site.

What could this portend for the future?