SAN JOSE, CA-If voters here approve Measure A, it would bring Downtown much more than the BART train extension being voted on. A Valley Transportation Authority study estimates the project would ultimately spur construction of 400 new 17-story high-rise buildings, house 176,000 new workers and 180,000 new residents. The news has existing residents stirring. About a dozen locals met with Mayor Ron Gonzales and Downtown Councilwoman Cindy Chavez late last month to express concerns that the development could spill over into their tranquil, tree-lined streets.

Mayor’s office spokesman David Vossbrink says not to worry, neither commercial construction nor transit improvements will negatively affect current residents’ lives. “The mayor quite clearly has pledged his commitment to preserving the existing neighborhoods, says Vossbrink.” We will see changes, no doubt, in San Jose as there is more transit-oriented development … but those are issues we can deal with in terms of redevelopment.”

Vossbrink also says the balance of office and residential development will be handled with sensitivity to the existing neighbors. However, he said, office development will continue aggressively in the coming years. “We’ve heard some concerns,” he says. “Our redevelopment plans for downtown do call for office development …. Demand for office space is very high in Downtown right now.”

Indeed, it is. AboveNet Communications this summer debuted its 123,500-sf data center in the Downtown area’s former Pavilion retail center. And four new buildings have recently been approved, including a 22-story office tower to be built by developer Kimball Small near AboveNet’s facility at First and San Fernando streets.

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