SAN JOSE -- The first concrete steps to create a transit village next to a future BART station in the city's Berryessa district have come with the purchase by KB Home of a largely unused portion of a well-known flea market in San Jose.

KB Home on Feb. 11 bought 10 acres on the north side of the 120-acre San Jose Flea Market operation, which is on Berryessa Road near King Road.

The site is the beachhead for what will become a transit village with thousands of residences, many of them high-density, along with stores, a new school and park lands.

"We have definitely been pioneers in this area and -- provided the investment plays out as we expect -- we will be buyers for more" of the flea market property, said Chris Apostolopoulos, president of the Northern California division of KB Home. "This is a pretty good first bite."

Brian Bumb, owner and general manager of the San Jose Flea Market, applauded the transaction as "a way of monetizing an underutilized parcel of land."

The 10 acres KB bought will contain 242 residential units, some detached and some attached. The deal was arranged by commercial realty broker Ralph Borelli, principal executive of Borelli Investment.

Construction is already under way. The subdivision will be called Market Park, and the first units will likely be available for purchase this fall. More homes will be built as customers order and buy them. Eventually, the 120-acre site is expected to have 2,800 to 3,000 residences.

"The housing market right now is doing very well," Apostolopoulos said. "It has rebounded off its lows. There is traction and momentum, great vigor and a sense of urgency."


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Home prices have hopped higher in the South Bay and new homes are being sold quickly.

Negotiations between KB Home and the Bumb family have been ongoing since 2008. But the recession, the housing meltdown and a complex web of city, regional, state and federal approvals created a series of challenges that have finally been surmounted.

"The flea market is not shutting down, it is still an ongoing business," Borelli said. "There are many vendors and shoppers who use it."

Efforts are under way to find a new location for the flea market, which the Bumb family founded at that site in 1960.

About 60 acres of the flea market complex are on the north side of Berryessa Road and the other 60 acres are on the south side, where the BART station will operate.

San Jose officials support the development plans.

"We really want a transit village at that location, and that makes this site particularly important," said Nanci Klein, deputy director of the city's Economic Development Department. "It is assured that BART will come to this location."

The BART extension to the Berryessa district is under construction, and the new station should open by 2017. Eventually, BART is expected to extend to downtown San Jose.

"We have so many people who live here who work in the East Bay or San Francisco, so it is fantastic to see BART definitely coming here," Klein said.

Contact George Avalos at 408-373-3556 or 925-977-8477. Follow him at twitter.com/george_avalos.

Transit village
The KB Home purchase represents the start of a 120-acre transit village project in San Jose's Berryessa district near the BART station expected to open in 2017. Among the key elements:
  • KB on Feb. 11 bought a 10-acre parcel on the north side of the flea market.
  • Sales of the first units offered by KB are expected to begin before the end of this year.
  • Eventually, up to 3,000 for-sale homes and rental apartments, many of them high-density residential units, will be built on the flea market property.
  • Besides the homes, the master plan for the project anticipates a shopping center, a school, open spaces and parks.