Have you heard about the ongoing debate surrounding Cambrian Park Plaza?
According to The Mercury News, the site may be slated for a major transformation, but some are more excited about this possibility than others.
In 2015, Cambrian Park Plaza was purchased by Houston-based Weingarten Realty, who has since submitted plans that have created a bit of controversy among local residents. Those plans include transforming the plaza into an urban village that would consist of two six-story hotels, a four-story convalescent home, a seven-story apartment building, and 73 townhouses. Additionally, the plans include retail, entertainment, and event spaces, which are to be accommodated by relocating the plaza’s iconic carousel to a park.
Not long after this project was proposed last year, a group called the Friends of Cambrian Park Plaza formed and organized a meeting to discuss these plans among neighbors.
Group member Peter Clarke, was quoted in the article, saying, “What we took away from that meeting is most people recognize there’s a need for redevelopment… But most people also said they don’t like the heights, and they’re concerned about the hotels and apartment homes.”
Evidently, the Friends conducted an online survey earlier this year, which revealed that many Cambrian residents would instead prefer restaurants, shops, green space and entertainment opportunities.
Of the 1,100 residents surveyed, less than 100 were “very much in favor” of Weingarten’s proposed plans, and more than 800 respondents were concerned about the plans resulting in additional traffic.
Friends’ member Bob Burres was quoted as well, saying, “The intersection of Camden and Union is one of the ten worst in the city… It has a grade of ‘F’ for failing.”
Determined to prevent this unwanted traffic, the Friends have since begun knocking on doors trying to recruit new members. Currently, the group consists of approximately 900 Friends who hope to arrange a meeting with city officials and Weingarten to express their concerns.
The article also quotes Clarke saying, “This is our first foray into community action and we’ve been learning a lot… The city has a very defined planning process and Weingarten’s proposal meets the (Envision San Jose 2040) General Plan. So, if nobody does anything it will be approved. Except the neighbors won’t be happy and it will ruin our neighborhood.”
Responding to the Friends’ survey results, Weingarten spokeswoman Meagan Froehlich wrote in an email that they, “appreciate the continued interest in the redevelopment of Cambrian Park Plaza. We are currently in the planning process; evaluating comments from the local community and governing body with the intent to develop a space the community will enjoy.”
As of right now, it’s too soon to tell if or how the plans will be adjusted, but the Friends are doing everything in their power to make sure their voice is heard.