SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The San Jose Flea Market, home to generations of vendors who depend on it, may soon have to find a new home.
For more than 60 years, the San Jose Flea Market, also known as “La Pulga” in Spanish is home to thousands of local vendors selling a range of household items.
Today’s flea market spans more than 120 acres, making it one of the largest flea markets in the country.
But the landowners want to make room for new urban housing and a transit village, as the area is projected to see 25,000 riders a day by 2030 with the construction of the new Berryessa BART station, which sits next to the flea market .
Last week, the San Jose Planning Commission recommended the city council to move forward with the project.
The plans would ultimately shrink the flea market down in size significantly.
“This is another example of the erasure of not just our economy but our culture and our history,” says Peter Ortiz, trustee for the Santa Clara County Board of Education.
“The flea market is more than just a place where we do business, it’s our home, people come statewide as far past Sacramento all the way down to L.A. just to come and visit the Berryessa Flea Market.”
After much outcry from the community and vendors, the city and land owners proposed a 3.5 acre “public market” within the new project, about 11% of the actual market’s footprint.
Vendors and supporters came together Tuesday to ask city leadership to find a solution that would include all vendors.
“This is going to affect thousands of lives of people that live here in San Jose, so hopefully they do keep that in mind when they vote and that this process goes according all to code,” says Roberto Gonzalez, co-founder of the Berryessa Flea Market Vendors Association.
“There’s no policies in place, no conditions of approval that will in fact protect the vendors and ensure that the current vendors that that market will be for the current vendors and that it will be affordable for all of us.”
The Berryessa Flea Market Vendors Association was formed in response to rumors back in March of the flea markets closure.
Members of the vendors association say they were temporarily suspended from stepping foot on the flea market earlier this month for passing out information to fellow vendors about the impact of the proposed development.
They have since been informed they will be allowed to return to the flea market this weekend.
Gonzalez tells KRON4 News the vendors association will continue to voice their concerns ahead of the city council vote on June 15th.
“We’re still going to continue this fight, we’re still going to raise our concerns,” says Gonzalez.
“We have that vote with the city council so we’re definitely trying to get them to vote with that in mind.”