Two small white homes in Campbell
A housing development will replace two Campbell homes and several businesses on Gilman and Dillon avenues. Photo by Annalise Freimarck.

A cranny of Campbell is slated for demolition to make way for a larger housing project, leaving some residents and businesses unsure if they will be able to stay in the West Valley city.

The Campbell City Council earlier this month unanimously approved a unique housing development that includes 25 townhomes, 10 apartments and 12 tiny homes, also known as junior accessory dwelling units (ADUs) attached to the townhomes. The three-and four-story development will sit on roughly 1.45 acres at 57-101 Gilman and 60 Dillon avenues across from Campbell Park and within walking distance of the historic downtown and VTA light rail station. San Jose-based Robson Homes is the developer and has two years to begin working on the project.

Robson Homes has already developed townhomes down the street from Gilman Avenue on Lottie Lane. Its latest project will add 16 affordable homes, including the junior ADUs, two apartments and a townhome for low-income residents and one moderately priced townhome. But it will also displace residents and business owners who said finding a new place will be difficult, even though some tenants knew of the potential situation when they signed a lease.

Justin Florence, 36, moved into one of the two soon-to-be-demolished houses on Gilman Avenue in March and knew it wouldn’t be long term when the property owner warned him about pending development plans.

He and his roommate pay roughly $4,000 monthly for the two-bedroom, one-bathroom home, a dream house for Florence because of its proximity to Campbell Park, where he often met friends and watched his dad play basketball growing up. He said he’s heartbroken he’ll have to move because it’s unlikely he’ll find a similar house in Campbell he can afford.

“We’re hoping and praying that something goes wrong in the development where they can’t do it and it’s just extended for another five years,” he told San José Spotlight. “It’s a shame that all these historic places need to be torn down to make room for these kind of box high rises that are going to be way too expensive for anyone in the community to afford.”

Robson Homes did not respond to requests for comment.

A small warehouse in an industrial area of Campbell
A housing development will replace several industrial businesses on Gilman Avenue in Campbell. Photo by Annalise Freimarck.

The project will also displace businesses in the industrial part of the area, including companies offering services and goods such as hardwood floor installation, home theater automation, plumbing, furniture, painting and construction and seasonal event lighting.

Mike Matsis, partner of the seasonal event lighting business, said he felt the process was fair. His roughly 20-year-old company got a good deal on the Dillon Avenue building when it moved in around 2020 because he knew he wouldn’t be able to stay long.

He said he’d like to stay in Campbell, but doesn’t know if that will be feasible in a city with limited commercial space.

“We will adapt. We’ve had to move many times because we’ve constantly been growing our business,” Matsis told San José Spotlight.

The project will add to Campbell’s housing stock, which city officials said is needed.

Campbell has to add at least 2,977 homes by 2031 to meet state housing requirements, but plans to accommodate 3,870 homes, 1,542 of which will be deemed affordable to low-income residents. This development will create three homes for residents making between 30% to 50% of Santa Clara County’s area median income — $181,300 for a family of four in 2023, according to state data. Junior ADUs or secondary cottages are also categorized as affordable housing under state provisions.

The city has identified 122 sites for housing, which will be mostly along major thoroughfares such as South Bascom Avenue and South Winchester Boulevard, recognizing that most of the city’s roughly 42,000 residents reside in single-family homes, according to its state-approved housing plan.

Vice Mayor Sergio Lopez said he hopes the businesses and residents can stay in Campbell, which City Manager Brian Loventhal said is a goal for anyone displaced.

Lopez said housing and business do not have to be at odds with each other as the city grows.

“I think for a long time, the paradigm was seeing these things as opposed and that is something that I think has really shifted in the past few years, where addressing our housing crisis is one of the best ways forward economic development,” he told San José Spotlight.

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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