SJSU to turn state-owned downtown building into student housing

San Jose State University students, faculty and staff could soon
have access to hundreds of new apartments on land in downtown San
Jose currently owned by the state.

On Friday, State Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) said the state
would allow the university to redevelop the Alquist Building on the
Paseo de San Antonio into anywhere from 800 to 1,200 units,
depending on whether a property nearby can also be worked into the
deal.

While the exact details still need to be fleshed out and some
state workers moved to other offices, the announcement marks a
major turning point in addressing calls from homeless student
advocates and others to do more to help those studying at the
school find stable housing nearby.

“Everybody knows this is a dire need,” Beall said during a
phone interview on Friday afternoon.

A
recent report
from the California State University system found
that more than 4,000 SJSU students were homeless at some point
during the previous year — around 13 percent of those
enrolled.

The idea was floated last year, as reports of students and even
faculty sleeping in cars or on the streets prompted calls from
housing advocacy groups and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo for the
university to work to address the need for housing. And Gov. Gavin
Newsom recently ordered state officials to
identify state property
that can be used to provide shelter for
homeless people.

Now, Beall said, the transfer of the property from California to
SJSU will serve as an example of how state-owned property can be
used to help alleviate a ballooning housing crisis.

“I was one of the first housing leaders at SJSU when I was a
student here, so this project is very personal to me,” Beall said
in a statement. “My job was to report landlords for rental
discrimination and help find housing for homeless students.”

In addition to badly needed housing, Beall said, the property is
a valuable piece of real estate in a vibrant downtown area near
campus.

Beall and Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) pushed successfully
last year for $250,000 in state funding for SJSU to use to develop
a housing plan for the space.

“Redeveloping the Alquist building for a multi-use housing and
campus facility would help address SJSU’s growing need for campus
community housing and expand the campus facilities,” Kalra said
in a statement. “The Alquist building has great potential to
enhance the connection between San Jose State and the downtown
esplanade. I am excited to work with Senator Beall in helping SJSU
with the process of redeveloping an underused facility that will
bring great value to the university and the City of San
Jose.”

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Beall will provide more details with Kalra and other officials from
SJSU, San Jose and Santa Clara County at a press conference
scheduled for Monday morning. Officials from SJSU did not
immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Friday, Beall said by phone construction could take several
years.

Still, the senator said, “this is a big victory.”

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
SJSU to turn state-owned downtown building into student housing