The San Jose City Council on Tuesday will consider approving the Cambrian Village mixed-use project that would bring 428 much-needed new homes to San Jose.
Cambrian has a longtime history of being a social hub for the area, but it did not age like a fine wine. Today it stands a largely vacant strip mall with acres of unused surface parking. This 70+ year-old site needs to be redeveloped in order to continue to serve the community.
Over the past six years, city officials and the Cambrian project team held extensive conversations and meetings with neighbors in order to create a project that would best meet our community’s needs. Taking resident feedback into careful consideration, the project team substantially redesigned the project to better serve the community.
I am a homeowner and retired teacher who has lived in District 9 of San Jose for 40 years. As a retiree, a vibrant mixed-use development like Cambrian is exactly what I want to see at that site. Cambrian will provide four acres of much needed park space and a third place for people like me and my family to gather and meet others. It also offers retail dining amenities so we do not have to leave our area to have a nice night or afternoon out. This will allow for popular programming such as the farmer’s market to thrive, and provide more opportunities for other onsite attractions.
Mixed-use projects like Cambrian Village also deliver solutions to issues we face as a community. Right now, high rents due to the housing shortage are displacing people like essential workers from San Jose. Cambrian Village will produce 428 homes to meet a variety of needs: apartments, affordable housing, senior housing, town homes, single-family homes and ADUs—granny units—plus an additional $9 million in fees that will be used to subsidize offsite affordable housing projects. I cannot think of a project in recent history that delivers this kind of housing.
If you’re reading this, you know families, friends and children of friends who have been forced to leave the area, or cannot move back due to the high cost of housing. I want to help create a San Jose where our kids and grandkids can return and sustainably live close to where they grew up, and not be forced to live in the central valley, or even another state altogether.
Cambrian Village will help us create this type of San Jose. I’ve seen too many educators and other essential workers and their families affected by our city’s skyrocketing housing prices, which is why we need Cambrian Village and many more projects like it.
Brian Wheatley is a San Jose District 9 resident, retired Evergreen School District teacher and current San Jose Unified School District trustee.