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These towers will reshape block near San Jose City Hall

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Two major high-rise towers will ascend a stepped corner from San Jose City Hall, reshaping the lower-rise block with hundreds of apartments and more than half a million square feet of office space.

San Jose real estate firm Urban Catalyst’s Icon and Echo Towers received unanimous approval from the San Jose city council this week, with some policymakers applauding the developers.

These structures will be one of the tallest in the city when completed, with more and more skyscrapers to be added. Scheduled construction All part of the city’s efforts to transform downtown San Jose by offering favorable incentives to builders over the next few years.

The 27-story Echo Tower has 415 apartments, 267 feet high, and the 282-foot Icon is a 24-story commercial tower with approximately 525,000 square feet of office space and up to 8,500 square feet of ground floor has a retail store. Space, according to city reports and developers.

This rendering shows what the base of an Urban Catalyst 415-unit multifamily home looks like when completed in downtown San Jose and viewed from East St. John Street. Image credit: City of San Jose.

The two buildings will be constructed on a block of North 4th Street between East Santa Clara and East St. John Streets. A gas station, a church, and three commercial and industrial buildings are leveled to make way for the project.

“I’m thrilled. Thank you for bringing this to our city, it’s great,” Mayor Sam Ricardo told the developer on Tuesday.

To tackle the city’s affordability crisis, San Jose asked housing developers to reserve 15% of their units for below-market housing or to build affordable housing elsewhere. It demands a large fee to be paid to the city fund. Urban Catalyst does neither.

This rendering shows what the base of Urban Catalyst’s 525,000-square-foot office tower will look like when it’s finished in downtown San Jose and viewed from East Santa Clara Street. Image credit: City of San Jose.

That’s because developers plan to take advantage of recently extended city council policies to waive affordable housing fees for high-rise homes 150 feet or taller downtown. This incentive also allows the developer to reduce the construction tax by 50% of his.

While the council and some business groups hailed the dense, traffic-oriented project as manna from heaven, some residents ranked it for the lack of below-market housing and lower fees for developers. was attached.

“I’m just sick of everyone thinking this is great,” said Katherine Hedges, who lives downtown.

Elisabeth Agramont Justiniano, another resident of the Sacred Heart Housing Action Committee, is fed up with the lack of very affordable housing in this and similar projects. said.

“Can someone who lives in St. James Park live there?” she said. “This continues to fuel the homeless crisis because people cannot afford to live in great neighborhoods with access to public transportation and jobs.”

But Josh Burroughs, COO of Urban Catalyst, said more dense, market-priced housing is needed to prevent highly paid tech workers in cities and regions from buying older, cheaper homes. increase.

“Building market-priced housing is the anti-relocation solution,” Burroughs told the San Jose Spotlight.

Burroughs said he expects a backlash because his project does not build affordable housing and is subsidized by the city. Incentives are important, he added.

“Part of our responsibility is to scrutinize the system and get verbal hits with conversations about affordable housing.” We feel we are part of the solution.”

Burroughs said his company is investing $10 million to improve the adjacent affordable senior housing complex, Town Park Towers, upgrade utilities, secure parking for the building, and build a new building. You mentioned that you are building an outdoor courtyard.

This rendering shows what Urban Catalyst’s two residential and office developments will look like when completed in downtown San Jose and viewed from the north. Image credit: City of San Jose.

The Echo and Icon developments will bring other one-offs to San Jose to offset millions in property taxes over the next decade and the need for affordable housing created by the massive office space. will pay the fee for When the project is resold, the city tax coffers are paid again.

Downtown City Councilman Raul Perales said he understands some residents’ concerns about affordable housing, but defended developer incentives.

“If these projects don’t come in, there will be zero housing. If we impose the rates we’re waiving through our high-rise incentive programs, these projects likely won’t get started,” Perales told the San Jose Spotlight. Told. “They can’t raise money and[and]don’t incur costs as long as they make it financially viable.”

Perales has championed a number of low-income and homeless housing projects in his district, including recently announced state funding to convert motels into temporary housing for homeless people in the Sofa District. I’ve been

“We need to be able to accommodate all the different income levels in our city,” he said.

Alex Shoor, executive director of Catalyze SV, a housing advocacy group, said San Jose has exceeded its goal of building market-priced homes. The city, like most cities in the region, affordable housing target.

Shoor said developers neglecting to build affordable housing is a loss for the city.

“All homes are good, but some homes are better than others,” he told San Jose Spotlight. It’s housing.”

Contact Joseph Geha [email protected] Also @Joseph Geha16 on Twitter.

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