Nonprofit wants to convert Milpitas office complex into housing
The Sobrato Centers for Nonprofits in Milpitas may be converted into a 244-home community with 140 affordable apartments at 600 Valley Way. The land is owned by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Photo by B. Sakura Cannestra.

Milpitas needs to increase its affordable housing, and one nonprofit may be able to assist with its plans by redeveloping some of its commercial space.

The Milpitas City Council on Nov. 14 heard early plans to convert the Sobrato Centers for Nonprofits location in the city into a 244-home community with 140 affordable apartments. The 7.22-acre site at 600 Valley Way is owned by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The Sobrato Organization is helping the foundation process the land use permits.

Sobrato Senior Vice President of Real Estate Development Tim Steele represented the foundation and presented preliminary plans to the city council to gauge support and hear feedback before the completed application is submitted.

Steele told San José Spotlight the permitting process could take upward of two years.

“We didn’t want to get too far without some support from the council to move this concept forward,” Steele said.

Milpitas is looking to add more than 6,700 homes to its housing inventory by 2031 to meet state requirements, half of which must be below market rate.

The plans propose splitting the existing property into two lots, 5.62-acres to develop about 104 market-rate townhomes and 1.6-acres for an affordable housing complex of about 140 apartments. Steele said the foundation and Sobrato would work with outside developers to design and construct the homes.

The 1.6-acres parcel will be dedicated to the city, enabling Milpitas officials to determine how to develop this portion of the project— including when to turn it into affordable housing and what kind of housing to develop such as senior housing or multi-family apartments.

Mayor Carmen Montano said senior housing would be optimal as the population continues to increase.

“We really lack senior housing (and) affordable senior housing,” Montano said. “So many seniors have asked for affordable housing, so I would love to see that over there for our seniors.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 12% of the city’s population is 65 years or older, which is about 9,328 of the city’s 77,738 residents as of 2020.

City officials are in no rush to demolish the existing office building that houses a number 0f nonprofits on the 1.6-acre plot. Even if the buildings were demolished and nonprofits needed to relocate, city officials said they are interested in finding ways to keep some of the organizations in Milpitas.

The proposed redevelopment also comes after the Sobrato organization reassessed its goals for supporting Silicon Valley residents. Sobrato Vice President of Silicon Valley Programs Camille Llanes-Fontanilla said the organization surveyed its partner nonprofits about the valley’s needs and heard that the most pressing issues are economic mobility and housing insecurity—the latter of which this redevelopment targets.

This project’s next steps will be to further develop the project application and bring it back to the council for more feedback once the application is more “mature,” Steele told San José Spotlight.

“We have a certain admiration for Milpitas and we look forward to continuing to work within the city to provide some kind of service and commitment,” Steele said.

Contact B. Sakura Cannestra at [email protected] or @SakuCannestra on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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