Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

San Jose approves new building heights

Emily Deruy, The Mercury News, March 13, 2019

“San Jose’s squat skyline is set to rise in coming years. The ability to build upward will allow companies access to real estate in the sky that was previously off limits.

“The City Council voted unanimously to allow higher buildings downtown and near Diridon Station despite opposition from members of the airport commission and critics who worry the city is kowtowing to Google. ‘I think that history is going to show that this was a very devastating move for our airport,’ said Dan Connolly, chair of the airport commission.

“Under the new height limits, buildings downtown could rise between 5 and 35 feet. But near the SAP Center (110 feet), heights could more than double to 70–150 feet. That could add about 9.5 million square feet of development. It will be years before residents see taller structures, but the vote signals a major change in the density of the city’s core.

“Scott Knies, head of the San Jose Downtown Association, said the council has fixed stifling policy. Downtown, where construction costs and the price of land are sky high, Knies continued, a couple of stories could mean the difference between a developer deciding to move forward with a project and calling it off. And allowing Google and other developers to put office space and housing in the air clears the way for parks and public art [pedestrians] can enjoy.”

Read the full article here.