San Jose Flea Market vendors fearing displacement offered $2M

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — After months of negotiations with vendors, the owners of the San Jose Flea Market presented vendors a new deal to help them transition if the city approves its development plans. 

Last Thursday, San Jose Councilmember David Cohen, whose district includes the market, let vendor representatives know that a deal was in the works. 

As part of the proposed deal, the owners of the market, the Bumb family, agreed to preserve 5 acres for an urban market, pay $2 million towards a “vendor business transition” fund to help vendors who will be displaced if city council approves the development plans, and match up to $500,000 in community contributions made to the fund. 

“When we met with the vendors the top two priorities for them were to have a physical space to have a market place and to have financial support for the vendors at a time a transition happens from the current market to a new market,” said Erik Schoennauer, San Jose Flea Market consultant. 

“The goal is to have enough space for all interested vendors.”

Vendor representatives tell KRON4 News they fear the market will close after the owners announced its development plans that will include up to 3,450 new homes and up to 3.4 million square feet of commercial space. 

The city is set to vote on the development plans on June 22, which would align with the city’s vision for an urban village near the new Berryessa BART station, as the area is projected to see 25,000 riders a day by 2030. 

“This is a large project and it will take quite some time before any construction begins, probably years, so there is no immediate plan to change the flea market,” said Schoennauer.

“The flea market is open for business, it’s very busy in the summertime, so come out and support the vendors.”

If the city approves the plans, under the new deal proposed by the owners, a Flea Market Advisory Group will be formed with representatives from the city, the vendors, and the Bumb family to decide how the funds will be given out. 

But vendor representatives are now calling on the city to delay the vote on the development plans to have more time to talk among all the vendors on the terms of the new deal. 

“There’s still a lot of questions left to be answered on that, so that’s why we are pushing for a 90-day deferral on the vote,” said Roberto Gonzalez, co-founder of the Berryessa Flea Market Vendor Association. 

“Now that we are being brought to the negotiation table, now that we are considered, we can’t possibly do the work that hadn’t been done in almost 15 years in two weeks.” 

Vendors fear the market will close permanently if development plans move forward, as hundreds who rely on the market worry about displacement. 

Gonzalez tells KRON4 News the money offered to the vendors through the new proposed deal would still not be sufficient to help vendors who will ultimately be impacted if the plans get approved. 

“If we do divide that $2 million up between all the vendors here which is roughly 400 to 500 vendors, that’s only $4,000 approximately per vendor,” said Gonzalez. 

“At least speaking for myself that would maybe afford us a month and a half of rent here that we pay.”

Owners of the market say it will be years until construction were to begin and would give vendors first shot for spots at the new market. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Latest News

More News