PRESS RELEASE: Senator Beall’s Push to Redevelop an Obsolete State Building to Build More Student Housing Moves Forward

January 24, 2020

Sacramento – Last year, Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) engaged with local leaders on the need for San Jose State University to redevelop the nearby aging Alquist Building, currently owned by the State.

“San Jose State continues to grow and thrive, but we’re hearing from faculty, staff, and students that they are in desperate need of affordable housing near campus,” said Beall. “This state office building is functionally outdated and underused so I am very pleased the State of California can offer this site to the University.”

Beall will deliver this urgent message at a press conference on Monday, at the SJSU campus. This property transfer is an example of a statewide effort to identify state-owned surplus land for the development of affordable housing. Legislation authored by Beall last year, SB 6, will help make that easier. The bill signed into law, creates a database that will identify underutilized and aging state-owned properties.

Joining the Senator will be Assemblymember Ash Kalra, San Jose State University President Mary Papazian, County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

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

As a state legislator, Beall has been relentless in his pursuit of the property transfer from the State to the University. Beall believes the property can be a valuable component in the University expansion and integration plans. With the acquisition and redevelopment of the Alquist Building, SJSU will also gain a valuable piece of real estate in a vital pedestrian corridor in downtown San Jose. 

In last year’s budget, Beall and Kalra secured $250,000 in state funding for SJSU to use towards developing its housing plan for the site. Earlier this month, the state Department of General Services sent a letter to the university promising the official transfer of the property. The current plan calls for 800-1200 units of housing for faculty, staff, and students.

“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,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “The Alquist building has great potential to enhance the connection between San José 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.”

Solving the affordable housing crisis in California will require shared responsibility and accountability from all levels of government. Recent state data calculates that about 150,000 residents are unhoused in California – a significant increase from 2018 when the State’s homeless population was estimated to be about 114,000.

San Jose, like most California cities, is struggling with an affordability gap. According to the 2019 Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey, there are over 9,700 residents in the region’s unhoused population.

Beall has taken on California’s housing crisis since he arrived in the Legislature. In 2017 Beall authored SB 3, subsequently approved by voters, making available $4 billion to proven programs for homeless veterans, families, seniors and people with disabilities. Beall also co-authored legislation that creates a permanent funding source for affordable housing, and supported legislation to reduce burdensome regulations to speed up new housing construction.

“Having a confirmed property transfer is great news, but the work doesn’t stop here,” added Beall. “We have to ensure affordability is locked into the housing proposal by utilizing state grant dollars.”

A schedule of these housing grants and their application cycles can be found on the HCD website.

Monday’s press conference will be held at 9:00 am at Diaz Compean Student Union located at One Washington St, San Jose, CA 95192.

For more information contact Sunshine Borelli at (408) 391-8834.