Milpitas pushes forward with an ambitious, five-district growth plan near BART

Milpitas pushes forward with an ambitious, five-district growth plan near BART
Rendering Credit: City of Milpitas
By Wesley Severson - Published on February 28, 2023.

Big moves are being made to make the southern portion of Milpitas, near the BART Station and the Great Mall, more lively. The Milpitas City Council voted to completely update the Transit Area Specific Plan (TASP), which focuses on the development of roughly 510 acres. The city has been eying the area for retail and housing projects since 2008 when the TASP was first introduced. It has now morphed into what officials are calling the Milpitas Metro Specific Plan. “This builds on the Transit Area Specific Plan, which started transforming the area from an office park to a neighborhood. The overarching vision for the Milpitas Metro Plan is to complete that transformation and to create a complete and unique urban neighborhood,” says Jane Lin with Urban Field, which is partnering with the city, speaking to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Map Credit: City Of Milpitas

The new plan breaks the area up into five districts, with the Milpitas BART Station at the center. The 74-acre Innovation District at South Milpitas Boulevard and Montague Expressway will create new places for people to work by replacing the older industrial-style buildings with modern spaces that can be used for anything from AI to robotics to advanced automotive industries.

“We envision the Innovation District as an employment destination with modern office, research-and-development buildings, and flexible space for people to interact through ‘creative collisions’ and an innovative ecosystem,” says Milpitas economic development director Alex Andrade, to the Business Journal.

Innovation District. | Rendering Credit: City of Milpitas

The five districts as a whole are expected to contain at least 3.8 million square feet of office, retail, and other workspaces, which could lead to as many as 14,000 new jobs. There are also plans for much more housing and open space, with at least four new parks planned for the five districts. All of this would happen over the next 20 to 30 years.

Great Mall District. | Rendering Credit: City of Milpitas

One district, called the Great Mall District, encompasses the 1.4-million-square-foot retail center. As part of the plan, some parts of the shopping and parking areas could be replaced with housing and parks. There is also expected to be more affordable housing added along the southern edge of the mall at the site of an old VTA bus station. Simon Property Group, which owns the mall, will play a big role in the transformation of the area. “It won’t happen overnight, but the city will work with Simon Property Group to develop their land over the next 30 years,” Milpitas director of planning Ned Thomas told The Silicon Valley Business Journal in a separate report. “The original (TASP) included the Great Mall site but didn’t provide any type of direction for change. Fast forward to 2023, and post-pandemic, we see a lot of the shopping centers and malls are evolving into other types of land uses,” Thomas says.