Republic Metropolitan is set to develop the Santa Clara Station Caltrain Park & Ride lot for a mixed-use project under a partnership with the VTA and the City of Santa Clara. The station, located at 1001 Railroad Ave., has a portion of property owned by the VTA and another owned by the City.
The VTA’s 0.7-acre portion is geared for mixed-use with 70 units of affordable housing and 4,800 square feet of retail. The building is envisioned at seven stories with parking available for Caltrain, retail and residents. The residential component will be 100 percent affordable housing.
The 1.7-acre City-owned portion is set to become a market-rate “co-living” housing project with 70 units for a total of 545 beds. According to Lenka Wright, Director of Communication for the City of Santa Clara, fair housing laws prohibit a project that’s explicitly only for students, so the co-living concept allows for individuals to lease a private room and share common areas, as would be typical in a student dormitory, except this project is open to everyone. On the City-owned parcel there’s also 14,700 square feet of retail that’s being planned for the eight-story building, also equipped with parking for all uses.
“In response to the overall project economics and the affordable housing requirements of both the City and VTA, the developer has elected not to spread the affordable housing units across all buildings on the project site,” explained Wright. “As is typical with the development of affordable housing, the Santa Clara Station affordable building is not feasible without the shared economics of the market rate building.”
“The development team had sat down with the City about the pressures from the outflow of students seeking housing in the neighborhood,” said Jessie O’Malley Solis, Manager of Transit-Oriented Development for the VTA. “It was originally going to only be student housing on the site. We executed a tri-party agreement with the City and developer to work to get additional uses. Student housing doesn’t drive transit, so we wanted ground-floor retail to make it a destination. We pushed for additional square footage of ground floor retail.”
Plans are still in the earliest stages, so details are subject to change. The total parking to be provided by the development is 91 Caltrain spaces, 58 retail spaces and 167 residential. Republic Metropolitan is currently working with Caltrain to identify offsite parking for transit that will be needed during construction.
A major amenity to be offered is a 1,400 square foot community room located on the City’s parcel that’s publicly accessible. There will also be art, an inviting ground floor to help make the retail a destination and greenery in the parking areas. Details regarding outdoor common areas are still being determined.
The developer submitted an application for the project in January but the application was deemed incomplete. The latest version of the project was presented at an Oct. 24 community meeting but hasn’t yet been formally submitted to the City. If an application is submitted this month, City Council and Planning Commission meetings on the project should conclude by August 2020. If approved, construction would begin in 2021 and be completed by 2023.
“We’re working closely with the City of Santa Clara and the developer to achieve joint goals for the site,” said O’Malley Solis. “We’re working toward increasing ridership and meeting our affordable housing policy and working toward a final product that the community, the City and our Board will be proud of.”