San Jose State University eyes Alquist building for possible affordable housing units

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Alquist building in downtown San Jose is being underutilized, and at a cost to taxpayers. That's according to State Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose).

"There is a great opportunity here to for us to have better use of that land, than the current, outdated state building," says Kalra.

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On Tuesday, the building was put on a list of possible buildings for the state to relinquish or sell off.

Currently, the three-story building, which was built in the 1980s, houses several state agencies and the CHP. Assemblyman Kalra and State Senator Jim Beall have been working with San Jose State University in a possible plan to turn it into affordable housing.

"As we bring new faculty and staff in, they can't afford to live in the Bay Area," says Charlie Faas, Vice President of Finance and Admissions at San Jose State University.

Faas says the university is in great need of housing that is priced for students and staff. He says acquiring the Alquist building, which is just a block away from campus, it would be a great opportunity for both the school-- and the city, which is trying to revitalize the downtown.

"It would enlarge our footprint tremendously, it would continue to activate the university with the downtown even further."

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Faas says it could provide hundreds of new affordable units.

Student Lindsey Masser is with the Student Homeless Alliance, which advocates for homeless students and students struggling with housing needs. She says her organization fully supports the idea.

Masser's group has met with Senator Beall twice and were asked to advise on how to transform the Alquist building to best benefit the university.

"We need something below 20 percent of market rate, so our students can afford it," Masser says is what she told them.

This is just the early phase of this possible proposal. It could be years before any decision is made, and there is no guarantee San Jose State would acquire the property.

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The land is also valued at $26-million. If the state puts it up for sale, it could be sold to the highest bidder.

The building was dedicated in 1983 to Alfred E. Alquist, a long-serving state legislator, who passed away in 2006.

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