San Jose: The City That Keeps Giving…To Developers

In the January 3rd blog, The Left Hook presented two seemingly unrelated projects, and like a tricky LSAT question, asked readers to find the invisible thread connecting them.

The first project is the proposed Google mega campus in the Diridon Station area.  Still in the negotiations stage, residents and activists are voicing concerns over how the project will exacerbate the already massive housing and traffic crisis in San Jose.

The second project is Federal Realty’s Santana West project. Both projects could add serious economic, social and cultural star power to San Jose.  But to get those projects, is the City making sweetheart deals with developers and shiny corporations?

Federal proposes to add about 1 million square feet of office and retail space, in part repurposing the Century Theaters along Winchester Boulevard.  The project will overall result in 9,457 new vehicle trips, 1,390 new trips during AM peak hours and 1,314 new trips during PM peak hours.

That’s a lot of traffic, but the developer is going to pay to manage the traffic impacts, right?  WRONG.

Because this area is already congested, the city requires a Traffic Impact Fee (TIF) for new developments, $25,641 per PM peak hour trip.  Although Santana West is in the TIF boundaries, the City of San Jose is not requiring Federal Realty to pay their TIF obligation.

Instead of Santana West paying the amount stipulated under TIF, roughly $33,692,274, they are only paying $1 million dollars for undefined city transportation improvements that can be used in other parts of the city, as well as completing some smaller improvements in and around the project site.

Why in the world would the City give Federal Realty a $32 million pass at fulfilling their financial obligations for much needed traffic improvements?

We’ll report more details on the Santana West project and how the city has bent over backwards for this development. It’s an interesting case study as we watch how the city treats other big developments, like Google.

No Comments

Leave a Comment