El Paseo Mixed Use Signature Project: Planning Commission Hearing, May 25

It’s Go Time: Send a Letter! Comment at the Hearing!

The El Paseo Mixed Used Signature Project is scheduled to go before the SJ Planning Commission on May 25 and the SJ City Council on June 14.  The developer is asking for rezoning and planned development approval. The project covers 10.8 acres and is Phase 1 of plans to redevelop the entire 30-acre El Paseo de Saratoga Shopping Center site. It is the first proposed project for the Paseo de Saratoga Urban Village area, which includes El Paseo, Westgate West (proposed Costco site), and Westgate Center.

The El Paseo proposal includes:

  • 4 buildings with 6 towers rising to 9, 10, 10, 11, 11, and 12 stories.
    Tallest is 132 ft.  (Taller than Pruneyard Tower II)
  • 994 apartments = 92 dwelling units/acre 
    (San Jose Signature Project minimum = 55 dwelling units/acre)
  • Minimum number of affordable units (15%)
  • 1,243 residential parking spaces for estimated 1,600-1,800 residents
  • 165,949 sf of commercial space (anchored by Whole Foods), replacing 126,345 sf of existing commercial space

Key project info:

Project details on SJ Planning Division website here.  (There have been several proposals. Start with PD Plan Set / 3rd Submittal / Architectural Sheets. Signs posted at the site are outdated.) 

Major Community Concerns

  • Density and building heights are inappropriate for the area, which lacks major transit infrastructure, planning and investment. Despite community opposition to project heights, the three shortest buildings have increased from 7, 7 and 9 stories to 9, 10.5 and 11 stories and the number of residences increased from 741 to 994. For reference, some large structures nearby are: the 4-story Apple Headquarters in Cupertino; the 7-story Kaiser Hospital on Lawrence in Santa Clara; the 8-story residences at San Jose’s Santana Row; and the newly approved 7 and 8-story buildings at Stevens Creek Promenade in San Jose. The Moreland West NA has supported site development but expressed concern about 10-12 story buildings.

  • The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) transportation analysis does not consider the cumulative impact on traffic from the El Paseo project, the proposed Costco Warehouse and other foreseeable development within 1 mile of El Paseo. 

  • The El Paseo Mixed Use Signature Project does not meet the City’s requirements for job generation. We have identified job generation concerns in the developer’s DEIR as well as in the City’s response to inputs on the DEIR.  The jobs are calculated based on commercial square feet. The developer is building 165,000 sf for commercial use, claiming 660 jobs (165,000/250 = 660). However, the 660 are not new jobs because the project area already has commercial and office uses totaling 126,345 sf that are being demolished so the net NEW jobs (now confirmed by the First Amendment to the Draft EIR) is 190. 1,600-1,800 new residents. Only 190 new jobs. 

  • The El Paseo Mixed Use Signature Project proposes too much housing. The latest General Plan update (12/14/21) calls for 919 dwelling units and 1,500 jobs over the entire Paseo de Saratoga Urban Village area. At 994 apartments, this one project would exceed the housing capacity for the entire Urban Village but only provide about 13% of the job capacity.

  • The El Paseo Mixed Use Signature Project doesn’t help fix the City of San Jose’s jobs/housing imbalance and will contribute to a rising city operating services budget. The residential density vs. commercial/office space does not compare well to the 50-acre Vallco site in Cupertino, nor to the 10-acre Stevens Creek Promenade (4300 Stevens Creek) project approved by San Jose. We do not believe the El Paseo Phase 1 proposal is the best for our City’s long-term future, in terms of addressing revenue concerns. The El Paseo plan perpetuates San Jose’s predicament as a “housing-rich/jobs-poor” bedroom community supporting businesses in neighboring cities. 

El Paseo residential density is ~2x higher than Vallco and ~1.5x higher than SC Promenade
— Vallco residential density is 48 units/acre
— Stevens Creek Promenade is 63 unit/acre
— El Paseo Phase 1 residential density is 92 units/acre

El Paseo commercial density is ~ 3x lower than Vallco and ~2x lower than SC Promenade
— Vallco plan calls for 1,970,000 sq ft of office/lab space and 429,000 sq ft of retail/entertainment on ~50 acres (47,980 sq ft/acre)
— Stevens Creek Promenade calls for 315,000 sq ft on 10 acres (31,500 sq ft/acre)
— El Paseo calls for 165,000 sq ft of commercial space on ~10.7 acres. (15,420 sq ft/acre) 

  • This is piecemeal development. Before re-zoning and permit approval, we should know the developer’s plans for the full, 30-acre El Paseo parcel.  

With a few changes, the El Paseo Mixed Use Signature Project could be improved for surrounding communities and the City of San Jose: 1) smaller buildings and heights; 2) fewer residential units, while maintaining (if not increasing) the number of affordable units; 3) more commercial/office space and jobs.





  • Email Vice Mayor Chappie Jones at district1@sanjoseca.gov and copy Planning Commissioners, Council Members and the Mayor


Comment at the Planning Commission and CIty Council hearings, held both in-person and online. Even just attending the meetings, especially the in-person one, is another way to demonstrate community concern about the project.

2 Replies to “El Paseo Mixed Use Signature Project: Planning Commission Hearing, May 25”

  1. Absolutely oppose El Paso development and agree on every point of our community concern mentioned above ! It is inappropriate development and will cause a huge strain on community! Major No!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: