Milpitas: Planners approve 582-unit apartment complex near future BART station

A new 582-unit multi-family development located a stone’s throw away from the pending Milpitas Bay Area Rapid Transit advanced last week.


Milpitas Planning Commission voted 7-0 May 11 to recommend approving a site development permit for Foster City-based Anton Development Co. LLC’s apartment complex, at 730 and 750 East Capitol Ave., that will include two multi-story, mixed use apartment buildings. The still under-construction Milpitas BART Station will be located across the street from the project, at 555 E. Capitol Ave., when it opens in fall 2017.


Besides its nearly 600 units, the Anton development also plans to see 5,000 square feet of ground floor commercial and retail space and related site improvements on 9.38 acres.


“The applicant is also requesting to include a swimming pool on each of the proposed buildings, which under the city’s water urgency ordinance requires City Council review,” Mike Moore, the city’s contract planner, told the commission prior to its vote.


Moore noted the property is currently an industrial and warehouse site that has been abandoned. He added the building at 730 E. Capitol Ave. will be five-stories tall and contain 266 units, while the building at 750 E. Capitol Ave. will also be five-stories high and contain 316 units.


“Both projects include an integrated parking structure that is surrounded by the development so you will not see it,” Moore said, noting the garage will have 859 parking stalls. “Access to the structure is off the Milpitas Boulevard extension.”


Under planning commission’s questions of this project, Vice Chair Rajeev Madnawat asked why one building (65 feet in height) was shorter than the other (75 feet in height) though both were five-stories tall.


“Why is there a 10 foot difference?” Madnawat asked.


In response, Moore said it may have to do with elevation of each site. “It is in the flood plains so there is a need to elevate the site,” Moore added.


Chair Sudhir Mandal asked if there would be units offered as low-income housing within this project.


“There is not,” Moore replied.


“Why not?” Mandal asked.


Later, Bill Ekern, the city’s Interim Planning Director, noted a City Council vote last summer adopted a resolution for an affordable housing requirement of 5 percent. He added that policy stated any housing project in the pipeline before that council vote — meaning developers who had been in discussions with city staff doing what it calls “preliminary reviews” — would not be required to include affordable units.


“This project falls within that time frame,” Ekern said. “They were in discussions (with the city) prior to the council’s actions.”


At the meeting, Andrew Baker, an Anton Development representative, also told the commission that a 2-acre park for public use will also be created.


“It will be a public park,” Baker said, noting the park space would be maintained by the developer.


In addition, Baker noted the retail portion of the project would likely include small businesses such as a dry cleaner, hair salon and the like.


According to Baker, the Anton project’s two planned swimming pools will not be filled until the governor lifts his statewide drought declaration, first enacted in 2014.


“We will build the pools but not fill (them) with water until the emergency water ordinance is lifted in California,” Baker said.


He added the project — located across the street from BART — would be convenient for future tenants.


“This is the hub, we could see a couple living here taking the BART north to San Franciso and other taking VTA south to Mountain View,” Baker said. —…This location is fantastic and it’s only getting better.”


He added the Anton development intends to break ground later this year.


“These projects typically take two years to build,” Baker said.


Ultimately, the commission found the project itself would add to the burgeoning transit area.


“I liked the architectural balance, it looked very neat, I hope to see it soon,” Commissioner Zeya Mohsin said.


Next steps will see the City Council review the project for approval at a future date. Commissioner Demetress Morris was absent from the May 21 meeting.


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