SAN JOSÉ, Calif. (KRON) — Months of negotiations as to the future of the San José Flea Market ends with the city voting to move forward with development plans.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the board unanimously voted to approve the Berryessa BART Urban Village project.
The development will make way for a 3.4 million square foot plan to create up to 3,450 homes near the new Berryessa BART station.
The Berryessa Flea Market Vendor Association says the latest agreement falls short of vendor demands but are hopeful for what the future may bring.
“It was nerve-racking to be honest with you, watching that council meeting yesterday but we’re hopeful, I think that’s the mutual feeling that we all have,” said Roberto Gonzalez, co-founder of the Berryessa Flea Market Vendor Association.
“We were able to get a whole lot more than when we started this fight six months ago, which was going to be absolutely nothing.”
Vendors went on a 50-hour hunger strike last week as the city was set to vote on the development plans before it was postponed for another week — vendors demanding for more time to negotiate with the owners of the flea market.
As a result, the development plans will include a $5 million contribution from the Bumb family to help vendors with relocation fees, more than the initial offer proposed.
“We’ve come a long way, of course it’s not everything that we wanted and not all the protections were granted to us that we were looking for but with some of those proposals put up by the city,” said Gonzalez.
“We hope that this is a step forward, this is just the beginning, this isn’t the end of the pulga or anything like that,” Gonzalez added.
“We’re going to keep working, we’re going to keep advocating and hopefully work together with the land owners, developers, and the city as well to find something beneficial for all of us down the road.”
The $5 million will go towards a “vendor business transition” fund which will be distributed by a flea market advisory group with vendors, the city and the owners of the flea market.
The first $500,000 towards the fund will be given by October and an additional $2 million when the Bumb family issues a one-year eviction notice for vendors to leave the current flea market before July 1, 2023.
Gonzalez tells KRON4.com the association will now meet with vendors to discuss how the city’s vote will impact them and looks forward to using the time between now and the closure of the current flea market to find a permanent market.
“We have those three years so that’s definitely a security that we can have that in the back of our minds but also work for a better tomorrow,”
“Having more securities and having an actual market where we can transition to and not like interim use but a full time new La Pulga, like a Pulga 2.0.”