Affordable housing construction starting at San Jose train stop
This rendering shows what more than 560 apartments near the Tamien light rail station in San Jose could look like when complete, including 134 affordable apartments. Image courtesy of The Core Companies.

    Construction is set to begin this month on an affordable housing project in the shadow of the Tamien VTA and Caltrain station.

    After years of planning, San Jose-based developer The Core Companies has officially secured nearly $140 million in city, county and state funding for the Tamien Station housing and retail project, being developed on VTA land in San Jose.

    The project, which will include 134 affordable apartments and a subsidized child care facility, will break ground this month. Tamien Station will become the first housing development to begin construction on VTA property in more than 20 years as part of its long-term transit-oriented development plan, officials said.

    “When you drive by in a week or two you’re going to start seeing all the fences going up and excavation starting shortly after that,” Jessie O’Malley Solis, VTA’s transit-oriented development program manager, told San José Spotlight.

    VTA has been planning its revamped transit-oriented development program for more than five years, with an aim at steadily increasing ridership and revenue, while using its land to help create much needed market-rate and affordable housing in Santa Clara County.

    Currently, the transit agency has about 1,600 apartments or homes in the pipeline across several projects, with Tamien leading the way and more in long-range planning phases.

    “It’s exciting momentum and we can’t wait to keep on schedule with more groundbreakings to come,” O’Malley Solis said.

    For the Tamien Station project, Core Companies is partnering with VTA and another developer, Republic Urban Properties, to build both the affordable apartments, and a future phase with two market-rate housing buildings—adding another 434 apartments.

    The buildings will be put up on about seven acres of a 12.5-acre VTA site at 1197 Lick Ave.

    The 134 affordable apartments will be priced for people earning annual incomes ranging from 30% to 60% of the area median income. For a family of four in Santa Clara County, 30% of the area median income is roughly $53,000 annually, and 60% is roughly $107,000.

    About half of those apartments will be reserved for people in the Santa Clara County Rapid Rehousing program, which prioritizes housing people who are homeless.

    The affordable housing project received $17 million from San Jose, $25 million in Measure A funds from Santa Clara County, $31 million in grants from the California Department of Housing and Community Development and a $66 million bond allocation from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, according to a VTA statement.

    The transit agency is being paid upfront for the affordable housing project land lease, garnering about $3 million for VTA.

    For the market rate project, once construction begins, the agency will receive $660,000 annually with periodic increases, totaling about $100 million over the potential 85-year lease length.

    Over the coming decades, O’Malley Solis said the transit agency envisions more than 11 million square feet of residential and commercial space being built on VTA land, generating up to 15,000 new daily riders.

    “Over the course of our full buildout, which we anticipate taking through around 2040 or 2045, we anticipate building out over 7,000 units total, and about 3,000 of those are going to be affordable housing,” she said.

    Contact Joseph Geha at [email protected] or @josephgeha16 on Twitter.

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