Mountain View took a major step Tuesday toward transforming its most famous business park, as officials began discussions of where housing should go and what it should look like in the city’s red-hot North Bayshore.
Santa Clara County
By Matt O'Brie
MOUNTAIN VIEW -- If Google gets to build a new office complex north of Highway 101, no one will feel the "Googly" aura of the canopied tech wonderland quite like the people living along Space Park Way.
The Santiago Villa mobile home park, built in Silicon Valley's infancy, has weathered the booms and busts of its high-tech neighbors. Companies surrounding the park rose to greatness, plummeted to collapse and were replaced by upstarts, all without altering the palm-lined landscape of these factory-built homes.
Called La Pulga or “the flea” by the region’s Spanish-speaking communities, the San Jose Flea Market has been a South Bay community institution for more than 50 years. The 120-acre open air market is the largest in the nation and attracts over four million visitors annually. For Mexican, Central and South American, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, and South Asian immigrants, it has provided a one-of-a-kind opportunity to incubate small businesses offering an unparalleled variety of affordable, culturally-specific goods and services.
In 2007, the Valley Transportation Authority in Santa Clara County released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report on the planned 16-mile extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train line from Fremont to San Jose. Its northern most stop would be located on Berryessa Road right by the flea market. Shortly after the report’s release, the owners of the property where the flea market is located hired a consulting firm to draw up plans for an upscale mixed-use residential and commercial development. Then, without informing the vendors, the owners appealed to the San Jose City Council to change the site’s zoning designation to allow for development, and received it—given the potential for new housing stock along the BART extension corridor—thus paving the way for the flea market’s closure.
“We have requested that they have come back to the bargaining table and they have agreed… that’s good news. We hope that we’ll be successful in collective bargaining and coming to an agreement.”
Don't let those "price reduced" signs get you thinking that homeownership in Silicon Valley is a bargain: The San Jose metro area is still the nation's most expensive housing market, according to a national survey released Thursday.
Marty Loo, a white 54-year-old legal secretary who works in San Jose, doesn't mind being a racial minority in Silicon Valley. The population currents shaping the Bay Area this decade mean that everybody, increasingly, has become a minority.
"You kind of work together," Loo said of the mix, "or you don't work here."