Sand Hill Property tweaks plan for 900-unit urban village in San Jose

Developer shifts Whole Foods to stand-alone format and adds senior complex

Sand Hill Property Tweaks Plan for San Jose Urban Village
Sand Hill Property Company's Peter and Susanna Pau with a rendering of plans for 1312 El Paseo De Saratoga and 1777 Saratoga Avenue (Solomon Cordwell Buenz and Lantz Boggio Architects, Sand Hill Property Company)

Sand Hill Property has upgraded plans to build an approved urban retail village with nearly 900 homes in southwest San Jose.

The Palo Alto-based developer founded by Peter and Susanna Pau has filed revised plans to replace the El Paseo Shopping Center with a 167,000-square-foot mixed-use project at 1312 El Paseo De Saratoga and 1777 Saratoga Avenue, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

A proposal approved in June 2022 called for redeveloping the nearly 30-acre shopping center to include a 43,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market. A residents’ group sued to challenge the market; the case is now before a state appellate court.

Sand Hill Property has revised its plans from a ground-floor grocery store topped by apartments to a conventional, stand-alone Whole Foods supermarket.

Sand Hill Property Tweaks Plan for San Jose Urban Village
Rendering of the Senior assisted-living center at 1777 Saratoga Avenue in San Jose, a component of the El Paseo Shopping Center mixed-use village development (Solomon Cordwell Buenz and Lantz Boggio Architects)

Its latest proposal calls for three separate apartment buildings with 867 units, including two towers with market-rate apartments and one shorter building geared toward seniors.

The project would now include a 12-story tower with 376 apartments and 13,500 square feet of shops and restaurants and a 10-story tower with 371 apartments and 15,500 square feet of retail at 312 El Paseo De Saratoga.

A seven-story building would be home to a 120-unit assisted living facility for seniors at 1777 Saratoga Avenue.

The project, designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz and Lantz Boggio Architects, includes floor-to-ceiling windows with large corner balconies, according to a rendering. Outdoor seating and umbrellas line the restaurants below.

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It’s not clear what befell an initial proposal to include 150 affordable apartments.

Sand Hill bought the shopping center in 2019 for $146 million. Three years later, its El Paseo de Saratoga project was given unanimous approval by the City Council, despite objections from neighborhood groups concerned about higher density and traffic.

In July 2022, Citizens for Inclusive Development filed a lawsuit to challenge San Jose’s approval process, according to the Mercury News. The group objected that the city, while noting the development would include a supermarket, didn’t reveal it would be a Whole Foods Market.

In August, a Santa Clara County judge ruled against the group, in favor of the City of San Jose. The following month, the group appealed the decision to the state Court of Appeal, which has not yet ruled on the case.

After a nearly decade-long battle with the City of Cupertino and local residents over what to do with its Vallco Shopping Center, Sand Hill Property pitched a plan last year to redevelop the now 51-acre lot into a city-within-a-city.

Last month, the developer scaled back plans for the 7 million-square-foot redevelopment of the former mall by ditching its apartment towers and the world’s largest “green roof.”

— Dana Bartholomew

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