SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Soon, a new affordable housing site could be coming to East San Jose.

On Wednesday, the San Jose Planning Commission approved a new affordable housing project that is estimated to add 164 low-income apartment units to one of the city’s hardest hit communities. 

Over the course of the pandemic, East San Jose has been ravaged by COVID-19, public health guidelines and a high infection rates. 

The project, if approved by the city council, will be built on 1.3 acres of land in the Alum Rock neighborhood. 

The planning commission voted 9-1 to bring the project in front of the city council for a vote. 

Planning Commission Chair Rolando Bonilla, who represents East San Jose, was the only no vote. 

“To be clear, I have been unhoused, so I understand that plight better than anyone often talking on this topic at City Hall,” Bonilla said. 

“Having said that my vote was not a vote against affordable housing as I have always been a long supporter of affordable housing.”

Bonilla tells KRON4 News East San Jose has grown to be the epicenter for affordable housing sites and instead wants to see more support and investment from the city. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, Bonilla has advocated for the city to invest into the eastside through his East San Jose COVID Relief Fund and requesting that the city purchase vacant buildings along the Alum Rock Corridor. 

“East San Jose continues to be the epicenter where the city puts in all of it’s housing needs at the cost of not only current residents, but even the resdeins that they’re trying to bring in,” said Bonilla. 

“Affordable housing needs to happen in every part of San Jose equally distributed,” Bonilla added.  

“This has been an issue that has plagued San Jose for generations.”

But most of the planning commission who voted to move forward with the affordable housing project believes it will revitalize the struggling corridor. 

Currently, the corridor continues to see businesses close its doors, adding to the lot of vacant buildings. 

Despite the city’s efforts to ramp up housing production, KRON4 News reported earlier this year that the city is short of it’s goal to build 25,000 units by 2023. 

Project details 

Taking into consideration recommendations made by the community, the proposed affordable housing project plans to have a rooftop garden, on-site health and life skills classes by nonprofit LifeSteps. 

The building will span two six-story buildings, including a mixed-used building with 7,000 square feet of commercial space, 119 units set aside for affordable multifamily units and one building with 45 units of affordable units. 

The proposed affordable housing project will be located at 2880 Alum Rock Avenue. 

Pacific West Communities will be the project’s lead developer. 

If approved by city council, the project’s completion date would be sometime in 2024 to 2025.