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Strong Neighborhoods, More Affordable
Housing, a Thriving Economy, and
Vibrant Downtown Retail and Events

Spring/Summer 2006

Redevelopment Agency Hears Residents,
Pledges Strict Limits on Use of Eminent Domain

The San Jose Redevelopment Agency (SJRA) is taking extra steps to reassure San José residents that eminent domain will not be used for any single-family, owner-occupied properties in its Strong Neighborhoods Initiative (SNI) Project Area.

"The Agency has responded to the community's concerns by providing a clear policy statement on the uses of eminent domain in the Progress Report on the SNI Implementation Plan," said Harry Mavrogenes, Executive Director, San Jose Redevelopment Agency. "We want residents in our SNI neighborhoods to know that we are committed to protecting their homes."

The Progress Report is an update of the SNI program, an ambitious neighborhood revitalization effort led by the Redevelopment Agency Board, the City of San José and 19 San José neighborhoods to invest in grassroots-driven improvements.

The San José eminent domain recommendation was discussed at the SNI Project Advisory Committee (PAC) on April 26. The San Jose City Council, sitting as the Redevelopment Agency Board, heard the issue on May 2, and continued the hearing to June 20 in order to provide more time for San José residents and property owners to provide additional input.

Since last year's United States Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. New London, there has been a nationwide debate on the use of eminent domain by communities and legislatures. In the Kelo case, the court ruled that economic development was a public purpose under the federal constitution, and that individual state's had the right to determine how to define public purpose.

Eminent domain allows public agencies to acquire property, at fair market value, for a public purpose whether or not the property is for sale. In California, state redevelopment law provides a very elaborate and public procedure for determining the circumstances that would allow the government, in the form of a redevelopment agency, to acquire property by eminent domain and to work with the private sector to eliminate blight through redevelopment of the property. In the cases that San José has used eminent domain proceedings, it has only been used as a last resort after all other attempts to acquire the property through negotiations have failed.

California requires redevelopment agencies to undertake extensive studies to determine whether an area meets a strict definition of “blight” before they can consider the use of eminent domain. Agencies also must establish a “project area committee” of residents and property owners, and they must formally and regularly consult with this committee throughout the redevelopment process.

The California Legislature is currently considering measures that could severely curtail the ability of redevelopment agencies to invest in local economic development projects that help build stronger communities.

Since the San Jose City Council adopted the first SNI Implementation Plan in June 2002, nearly $45 million from the Redevelopment Agency has been invested for 95 capital projects in 19 San José neighborhoods to fund priorities determined by the residents in each neighborhood. During this period, the Redevelopment Agency did not use eminent domain for the acquisition of any property in the SNI Project Area.

Redevelopment plays a vital role in improving our neighborhoods, building affordable housing, and creating jobs through economic revitalization. It is essential that the Redevelopment Agency can continue to have the ability to use eminent domain to address serious blight issues and achieve goals important to the people of San José. It is a tool that should be considered only after all other options have been exhausted.

To learn more about redevelopment, visit he California Redevelopment Association's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or request a copy of The Community Guide to Redevelopment, a guide that discusses common questions about redevelopment, please contact the San Jose Redevelopment Agency at 408.535.8549.

San Jose Redevelopment Agency is One of the
Major Affordable Housing Providers in the State of California

For the last few years, the City of San José has led the region and the state in affordable housing production. Although San José has approximately 50 percent of Santa Clara County 's population, San José has been producing 80 percent of the county's affordable housing. Last month, with Redevelopment funding and other funding sources, the City of San José reached a milestone for creating 10,000 affordable homes within seven years.

The San Jose Redevelopment Agency plays an important role in funding these affordable homes by investing in affordable housing projects beyond the state's mandated 20 percent housing set-asides. The Agency has the ability to leverage four dollars for every one dollar to initiate investment in building affordable housing.

Over this year and next, the Agency will commit $67 million to affordable housing. This represents 25 percent of the Agency's capital budget. Within the next five years, the City of San José Housing Department, using Agency funds, will create an additional 6,000 affordable housing units, including 1,500 extremely low-income units.

Downtown Housing
In the Downtown area, the Agency is increasing residential density along with a retail strategy to create an active, 7-day a week environment. Projects such as “The Globe” (2nd & Santa Clara Streets), “Central Place” (San Fernando Street, between 2nd & 3rd Streets), and "360 Residences" (South First Street) are examples of traditional and high-rise projects that combine housing and retail, which is an emerging development trend in urban areas.

As of Spring 2006, more than 3,000 new housing units in 18 projects are in the planning process for Downtown San José and 13 projects are under construction to build a total of 1,535 for-sale homes in the Greater Downtown area. Since Fiscal Year 1998/99, there have been more than 3,000 completed housing units. City Heights, Central Place, and San Jose Condos, three much-anticipated high-rise housing projects are being constructed in the Downtown Core. View a map of other high-rise developments.

Neighborhoods Housing
In San Jose's neighborhoods, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency collaborates with the City of San José Housing Department and other partners to aggressively produce more affordable and market-rate housing units. Las Mariposa, a $23 million housing project that includes 66 for-sale affordable townhomes was completed in 2005. Current affordable homes under construction include Art Ark, 146 affordable units in the Spartan Keyes Strong Neighborhoods Initiative area and Delmas Park Teachers Housing, 123 affordable units for teachers. The Agency is also contributing $2.5 million to EHC LifeBuilders to build the Sobrato House Youth Shelter. The shelter will provide transitional housing and social services for homeless youth in downtown San José.

View a listing of other housing projects that the Redevelopment Agency funds at http://www.sjredevelopment.org/monthlyReports/housing.pdf or visit the City of San José Housing Department at www.sjhousing.org/

The City of San José Continues to be the
World's #1 Community for Innovators

As a leading center of innovation, San José remains the location with the highest concentration of tech companies and offers an environment which boosts the entrepreneurial spirit. Retaining and attracting the world's most talented workers and the technology companies is a priority for the San Jose Redevelopment Agency.

Each year staff meets with hundreds of corporate executives to thank them for their commitment to San José and for generating jobs and revenues. Agency staff also meets with local brokerage and development firms to update real estate agents and owners about programs and projects in our downtown, industrial and neighborhood redevelopment areas and incentivize them to locate their corporate facilities in San José.

In addition to having one-on-one consultations with the corporate, development & brokerage communities, the Agency invests approximately $200,000 each year to market San Jose's two largest technology parks, the Innovation Triangle in North San José and Edenvale in South San José, as premier innovation centers that offer unparalleled benefits. Advertorials in local business journals and trade association publications, and radio broadcasts featuring advocates for business development are two of the many types of marketing efforts the Agency has pursued.

Current programs the San Jose Redevelopment Agency is positioning via advertorials and broadcasts include the City's incubator program, the San Jose BioCenter, development opportunities in North San José and Edenvale, the City's Special Tenant Improvement Program (STI), and the highlights of Vision 2030 North San Jose Area Development Policy Update.

To learn more about why San José is the leading center of innovation, view our advertorials at http://www.sjredevelopment.org/industrial.htm

New Business Outreach and Retention Program Provides One-on-One Support to Existing and New Small Businesses

The San Jose Redevelopment Agency recognizes that small businesses create more than seven out of ten new jobs in San José. The Agency values small businesses contribution to the economy and entrepreneurial character of the city and the downtown.

To support these businesses, the Agency launched the Business Outreach and Retention Program to help guide small businesses in the area of permitting, incentives or grants, project evaluation, leasing questions, assist in locating office space and many more services. The Agency’s goal is to nurture and support small business as it seeks to locate or expand in the San José area.

The program is being led by Angela Coronado Kelly, a long-time pro-business advocate coming from a background in chamber of commerce work, and most recently, Vice President of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.

To contact Angela about your project or business issue, call her at 408.795.1861 or email angela.kelly@sanjoseca.gov.

The Business Outreach and Retention Program is one of many programs that are available at the Agency to assist small businesses. For more information on the Redevelopment Agency’s small business support programs, visit http://www.sjredevelopment.org/programs.htm

Redevelopment Retail Recruitment Program Serves Residents and Brings Investment Dollars to San José

Downtown Retail
In Downtown San José, new cafes, casual and formal dining restaurants, banks and clothing stores are making Downtown their home. Since Spring 2005, more than 25 new businesses have opened. This year, more than 12 retailers will locate their business Downtown. Existing retailers have also seen an increase in their sales from the nearly 2000 employees and thousands of visitors generated daily by the new San Jose City Hall.

Within the greater Downtown area, the new San Jose MarketCenter, which was completed in March 2006, is serving the burgeoning central San José residential population and bringing more regional consumers to the Downtown area. The estimated $100 million MarketCenter development is a 362,000 square foot shopping center located along Coleman Avenue, between Taylor and Autumn Streets. The Center is projected to generate $1.7 million in sales tax annually while adding hundreds of jobs to the City of San José. Anchor tenants include Target, Cost Plus World Market, PetsMart, Office Depot, Michael’s, Marshalls, as well as Starbucks

Neighborhood Retail
San Jose Neighborhood areas are also gaining popularity among retailers as a result of the Redevelopment Agency’s investment in its Neighborhood Business Districts (NBDs). This program was established in 1984 to revitalize San Jose’s older commercial neighborhoods and encourage private investment.

National and regional tenants are making their way to several of the NBDs. In the Alameda Business District, which is located west of Downtown San José, Whole Foods, the largest natural foods supermarket chain in United States, plans to open its first San José location in 2007. Along with Whole Foods, Nijiya Market, a Japanese grocery chain from Southern California specializing in imported organic and Japanese foods, is adding a new store in the Japantown Business District at the former Dobashi Market location. 

Other retail developments are taking place in the Neighborhoods, including a new 9,000 square feet shopping center at the Alum Rock Village, a retail area in the vicinity of the Alum Rock Business District, and a 7,600 square feet shopping center in the Winchester Boulevard commercial district.

The San Jose Redevelopment Agency Retail Recruitment Program offers assistance to new tenants assistance from site introduction through store openings. The Agency is continuously seeking new retail, restaurant, and entertainment venues to support an existing strong tenant mix throughout San José.

To explore retail opportunities in Downtown San José, visit the Redevelopment Agency’s new and improved San Jose retail website at www.sanjoseretail.com

For more information on the Redevelopment Agency’s Neighborhood Business Districts, please contact 408.535.8549.

Summer Downtown: Like Nowhere Else

This year, Downtown San José features the Bay Area's hottest line up of summer events and festivals. Highlighted events include, the inaugural ZeroOne Festival, which showcases the largest exhibition of art and technology works ever held in North America, the Grand Prix of San José Presented by Taylor Woodrow, a world class open-wheel car racing event, appearing in its second year in Downtown San José, and the 17th Annual Jazz Festival, a 4-day event featuring nine stages dedicated to different genre of jazz.

Visit Downtown San José and enjoy the arts, the roar of the Grand Prix race cars, the sparks of fireworks, music that grooves, movies on a wall, and fresh flowers and vegetables at the farmers' market. Experience all that Downtown San José has to offer – arts, retail, restaurants and summer fun!

Click here to view the Summer events brochure.

For more information on downtown San José events, visit www.sjdowntown.com or www.artsopolis.com/downtownsj/

New Deputy Executive Director Brings 21 years of experience serving San Jose residents to the Redevelopment Agency

Norberto Dueñas was appointed as the new Deputy Executive Director for the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. He brings a broad range of municipal government experience, a serious commitment to improving San Jose neighborhoods, and the enthusiasm for building effective partnerships to improve the quality of life of San José residents.

Prior to joining the Redevelopment Agency, Mr. Dueñas served as the Division Manager for the Affordable Housing Production and Housing Rehabilitation Programs in the City’s Housing Department. He is very proud of his role in the successful implementation of the Teacher Homebuyer Program, responsible for assisting more than 500 public school teachers become homeowners in San Jose’s challenging housing market, and the Strong Neighborhoods Exterior Grant Program, a program assisting low-income owner-occupied households in the City’s SNI communities. During a period of reduced funding, Mr. Dueñas and his staff worked hard to secure $3 million in state Proposition 46 grant funds for housing rehabilitation in SNI neighborhoods, and achieved a new annual production record of 522 rehabilitated housing units.

Mr. Dueñas started his career with the City of San José as a Council Assistant to former District 9 Councilmember Jim Beall. As Chief of Staff, his assignments included Land Use, Transportation, Budget, Redevelopment and neighborhood improvement projects. He joined Mayor Susan Hammer’s Budget Office in 1990 and as a Senior Budget Policy Analyst co-authored the Mayor’s Budget Messages, and was staff to the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force. Prior to joining the Housing Department, Mr. Dueñas worked for four years as an Assistant to the City Manager/Council Liaison.

Mr. Dueñas is a graduate of San Jose State University (SJSU) with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science (BA) and a Masters in Public Administration (MPA).

He oversees the Redevelopment Agency's Project Management, Downtown Management, Finance and Administration and Parking Divisions.

To subscribe/unsubscribe to this enewsletter, call the San Jose Redevelopment Agency public information office at 408.535.8549 or email sjraworks@sanjoseca.gov

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San Jose Redevelopment Agency
200 E. Santa Clara Street • 14th Floor • San José, California 95113
Phone: 408.535.8500 • Fax: 408.292.6755 • www.sjredevelopment.org

Facts About Eminent Domain:

Eminent domain will not be used for any single-family, owner-occupied properties in Strong Neighborhoods Initiative (SNI) Project Area

In the cases that San José has used eminent domain proceedings, it has only been used as a last resort after all other attempts to acquire the property through negotiations have failed

The Redevelopment Agency must pay fair market value to acquire property via Eminent Domain

About Neighborhoods:

Since 1999, the Agency has invested more than $272 million for neighborhood improvements.

About Affordable Housing:

San José has built more than 10,000 affordable homes within seven years

Over this year and next, the Agency will commit $67 million to affordable housing

Innovation in San José:

San José is the world's #1 community for innovators

The City has the highest concentration of tech companies in the world

San Jose Retail:

Since Spring 2005, more than 25 new businesses have opened in Downtown

This year, more than 12 retailers will locate their business Downtown

More Downtown Events:

For more information about Downtown events, visit www.sjdowntown.com or

SJRA Meetings &
Events Calendar