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Thriving Neighborhoods
Vibrant, Lively Downtown
Spring 2005

Richmond Menker Housing Rehab
Sets Example for Strong Neighborhood Projects

Creating cleaner, safer neighborhoods is a priority for San José. Through the Strong Neighborhoods program, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency (SJRA) and the City of San José have been able to rejuvenate neighborhoods that have previously suffered from public and private disinvestment.

An example of such success is the Richmond Menker Apartment complex located in the Burbank/Del Monte Strong Neighborhood Initiative (SNI) area. As part of a designated gang abatement area on Richmond and Menker Avenues between Interstate 280 and Kingman Avenue, revitalizing this area was one of the top ten priorities for the community.

The deterioration of the apartment complex began when, after being developed in the 1960s under a single property owner, it was subdivided in the 1970s between 11 different owners. The division of ownership made it difficult to manage and maintain the complex. With approximately 600 people living in the 31 buildings making up the Richmond Menker Apartments, the overcrowded complex suffered from a wide variety of issues associated with vandalism, illegal dumping, graffiti, and litter.

Since 2001, the Richmond Menker property owners collaborated with community members, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency and City of San José staff to revitalize the apartments with new lighting, landscaping, building, and common area improvements as part of the Strong Neighborhoods effort to clean up the neighborhood. As a result, the apartment complex underwent an extreme makeover and a significant transformation took place. The apartment complex and surrounding community is now safer, cleaner, and brighter. Richmond-Menker Apartments is now a place that residents feel proud to call home.

Through this collaboration, this neighborhood has forged new relationships and renewed ties to its community. Given the success of the Richmond Menker Apartment Rehabilitation project and similar projects in the Blackford and Winchester communities, Strong Neighborhood partners are exploring other opportunities to replicate this innovative, comprehensive approach in other San José neighborhoods.

The $636,000 project consisted of $385,000 in funding from San Jose Redevelopment Agency and City of San José, including a $93,000 rehabilitation loan from the City of San José Housing Department and $26,000 in additional grant funding, plus $225,000 from the Richmond Menker Property Owners.

To learn more about Strong Neighborhoods or to get involved, contact Kip Harkness at 408.794.1142, or visit: www.strongneighborhoods.org

Downtown Housing Production Soars

Over the last five years, housing production in Downtown San José has sharply increased creating greatly needed homes in an area that has long suffered from a lack of quality housing.

Prior to the year fiscal year (FY) 1999-2000, approximately 3000 new housing units were built in the Greater Downtown over a 20 year period, averaging a 150 units a year. Since FY 1999-2000, 2,750 new homes have been completed with an additional 794 homes under construction and expected to be delivered within the next two years. This is an average of 550 units per year completed in the past five years, an increase of nearly five times the previous yearly housing production.

Additionally, of the housing units that are currently under construction or in the planning process, 93 percent are for-sale housing units, of which 17 percent are affordable. Prior to FY 1999-2000, 27 percent of the housing built in the Greater Downtown were for-sale. This dramatic change is a reflection of the area’s general economic factors such as historic low interest rates and to a lesser extent a shift in the City’s Inclusionary Housing Policy in 2001, which encourages development of for-sale homes.

Currently, 3,838 units are in various stages of planning for the Greater Downtown area. Out of this total, 56 percent of the units are planned for nine high-rise developments. These nine high-rise projects include: Park View Towers (across from St. James Park), Central Place (San Fernando, between 2nd and 3rd), City Front Square (Market & San Carlos), Mesa (just south of the California Theatre), City Heights (St. James Street), Almaden Tower Ventures (Notre Dame Ave), 200 Park Avenue (Park & Almaden), First United Methodist Church (5th and Santa Clara), and a portion of the North San Pedro project, totaling appoximately 2,150 units, all of which are located in the downtown core.

For-sale high-rise housing has yet to be tested in San José, but with the recent success of low-rise (five stories and under) for-sale housing in the Greater Downtown, San José is prepared to take the next step in urban development.

With the explosion in housing development, Downtown can expect to welcome thousands of new residents who will enjoy a vibrant urban lifestyle and the benefits of being just steps away from a variety of great museums, restaurants, theaters, nightclubs, and a kaleidoscope of cultural events. Businesses can thrive with a vibrant city center that is mutually beneficial to both residents and businesses.

Downtown Businesses to Get Boost from Grand Prix Event

This summer, San José will hold the inaugural San Jose Grand Prix Champ Car race through the streets of Downtown. The Champ Car world-class open wheel event, featuring over 90 race cars competing in five races, will have the heart of Downtown San José pumping with cars racing down Almaden Boulevard, around the Convention Center, and wrapping around the Technology Museum of Innovation to complete a 1.6 mile run on July 29-31, 2005.

The event is expected to attract approximately 120,000 race fans over three days and bolster downtown's economy with more than $20 million in revenue. The race will be televised to more than 40 million people worldwide. Race fans will be able to cheer for local drivers Jimmy Vasser of Morgan Hill and A. J. Allmendinger of Los Gatos.

The event will provide three days of fun, live music, concerts, and interactive demonstrations, including a “Tuner Series” contest where cars ‘drift' or skid out of control-a sporting event which started in the U.S. in early 1990s. The real race is for a bigger cause, however. Money raised for the event will benefit Canary Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to early detection of cancer and awareness to this important issue.

San José was able to attract this high-profile sporting event, adding San José to the 14-city international tour due to the City's tech focus, which will be able to highlight the advance design of the cars. These lightweight, aerodynamic open cockpit, open wheel cars will race at speeds up to 200 mph.

This exciting car race complements other sporting events the city has been able to host in the past like the Dew Action Sports Tour called Toyota Challenge –NBC's version of the X Games- and the State Farm pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament. Additionally, the NCAA announced its 2007 NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball Tournament would play one of four regional games in San José.

For more information about the San Jose Grand Prix, please call 408.277.9470 or visit their website at www.sanjosegrandprix.com.

Investment Continues to Spark
New Development in Neighborhood Business Districts

As part of the San Jose Redevelopment Agency's (SJRA) efforts to strengthen neighborhoods, the SJRA continues to invest in building stronger retail districts throughout San José. Guided by individual neighborhood revitalization plans and coordinated with the community, the Agency's investments have contributed significantly to the Business Districts' ‘sense of place', livability, and vitality.

Since the 1980s, the SJRA's has invested in seven existing Neighborhood Business Districts (NBDs) to attract prime residential development, as well as neighborhood serving businesses. Each NBD offers a distinctive character and history and features an exciting mix of restaurants, shops, and neighborhood events. These ‘main street' style districts serve surrounding neighborhoods and are emerging as highly desirable places to shop and dine.

To date, the SJRA has invested more than $217 million in the NBDs for storefront improvements, streetscape and pedestrian improvements, development incentives, building public facilities and parks, business association support, and more; this investment has leveraged more than $1.2 billion in private investment. It is not surprising that recently more than 4,400 high-quality homes have been built in and around the neighborhood business districts, including a diverse array of for-sale and rental townhomes, single family homes, condos, lofts, and apartments.

Developers continue to be attracted to the NBDs with more quality homes on the way. New retail and mixed-use ventures, both large and small are also planned. New projects range from family-owned restaurants and shops to regional shopping destinations such as Target and Long's Drugs.

For more information about the Alum Rock Avenue, East Santa Clara Street, Japantown, Monterey Corridor, Story Road, The Alameda, and West San Carlos Street NBDs, please contact 408.794.1078 or visit www.sjredevelopment.org/nbd.htm.


For more information or comments, call the SJRA information hotline at
408.794.1078 or email sjraworks@sanjoseca.gov

San Jose Redevelopment Agency
50 W. San Fernando Street • Suite 1100 • San José, California 95113
Phone: 408.794.1000 • Fax: 408.277.3153 • www.sjredevelopment.org

More About SNI:

60 SNI projects have been completed and another 85 are now underway

By the end of fiscal year 05-06, the SJRA will invest more than $67 million in Strong Neighborhoods Projects

New Downtown Homes :

Since fiscal year 99-00, Downtown housing construction has increased nearly 5 fold

2,150 high-rise homes are planned for the Downtown core

3,838 units are in various stages of planning

San Jose Grand Prix:

Approximately 120,000 race fans will visit Downtown

Cars will reach speeds of up to 200 mph Downtown

July 29-31, 2005

Neighborhood Investment:

The SJRA has invested more than $217 million in NBDs,
which has leveraged more than $1.2 billion in private investment

4,400 high-quality homes have been built in and around the neighborhood business districts

SJRA Meetings &
Events Calendar