HC Investment looks to builder’s remedy for San Jose apartment project

Three-building complex with nearly 400 homes would replace a former DMV office

HC Investment Associates' Vicky Kwoh Ching; 2222 Senter Road (Google Maps, Lively Foundation, Getty)
HC Investment Associates' Vicky Kwoh Ching; 2222 Senter Road (Google Maps, Lively Foundation, Getty)

HC Investment Associates aims to employ the state’s builder’s remedy to replace a former Department of Motor Vehicles building in east San Jose with almost 400 homes.

The Palo Alto-based developer led by longtime restaurateur Vicky Kwoh Ching and her husband, Wu-Chung Hsiang, has filed preliminary plans to build the 372-unit complex at 2222 Senter Road, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported. 

It would replace a 33,000-square-foot DMV building built in 2014 to process drivers licenses, which closed in September.

Plans by HC Investment include three buildings on 2.6 acres to house 372 apartments or condominiums. The amount of affordable housing — of which 20 percent is required under the builder’s remedy — was undisclosed.

Builder’s remedy, an untested provision in state housing law, applies to cities and counties that have missed their state-mandated housing plan deadline. It allows developers to bypass local zoning rules for residential projects that meet affordable housing thresholds. 

San Jose, whose “Housing Element” plan to add 62,200 homes in the next eight years hasn’t passed muster with state housing regulators, is the last big city in the Bay Area without a certified plan. 

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The deadline for certification was Jan. 31, leaving it open to builder’s remedy applications such as the one filed by HC Investment.

Elsewhere, the developer plans to replace a two-story 21,500-square-foot commercial building at 70-80 North 27th Street in San Jose with a 198-unit apartment complex.

HC Investment Associates was launched in 2006 by Vicky Ching, a Taiwan native who for decades owned Ming’s restaurant in Palo Alto before it closed in 2014, and Wu-Chung Hsiang, a former Princeton math professor, according to state business records and the Mercury News. 

The couple had planned to redevelop the historic Chinese restaurant into a 177-room Staybridge Suites hotel, but it appears not to have broken ground, according to Google Maps.

— Dana Bartholomew

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