New GreenTRIP Platinum development in San Jose blends art, creativity, and technology

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As the Bay Area’s largest city and a booming tech hub, San Jose is no stranger to the pressures of rising rents, gridlock traffic, and pollution. That’s why it’s so exciting that the city will soon be home to its first GreenTRIP Platinum Certified project: 598 South First Street.

Developers from Core Companies worked with our GreenTRIP Program to bring a truly innovative new housing complex to S. First Street. These homes, collectively called the SparQ development, will be close to transit stops, be within walking distance from Downtown, offer the right amount of parking, and come equipped with free Bay Area BikeShare memberships to help residents save money and get around car-free.

We caught up with Monique L. Davis, Project Manager & Construction Owner Representative at Core Companies, to learn more about what makes Core Companies unique, the potential of GreenTRIP Platinum in San Jose, and what she does when she’s not driving local history.

SparQ, located in the South First Area (SoFA), is San Jose's first GreenTRIP Platinum Certified development

What is your role at Core Companies?

I am the owner representative who manages the design and construction teams to create the drawings, obtain the building permit, and construct the building within the budget, schedule, and quality set forth by the Development Manager of the project. 

What is Core Companies’ vision? 

For SparQ, the vision is to provide a home where ideas can grow and thrive for the residents. The project is located in San Jose SoFA (South First Area) Art District and will be a place where art, creativity and technology blend together. 

What are you most proud of in your work as a housing developer? 

Because we build both market rate and affordable projects, I like that we are able to build community no matter who the prospective tenants are. We have a passion for creating homes, not just an apartment. 

What are some of the challenges that housing developers face that transportation and urban planning advocates might not know about?

The financing instruments are still somewhat behind when it comes to strategies to reduce traffic. They are still, in some respects, checking a standard checklist for parking counts. In addition, most of our buildings are being built before improvements to the public transportation system, so we need help in leveraging today’s environment until the transit vision is upon us. 

How did you hear about GreenTRIP?

Darci Palmer (Project Manager, Core Affordable) from our office is a strong advocate of sustainable urban planning. She became aware of GreenTRIP after attending a housing conference where she met GreenTRIP Program Director, Ann Cheng.

Your project, SparQ, was awarded the first-ever GreenTRIP Platinum Certification in San Jose. What motivated Core Companies to apply for Platinum Certification?

For SparQ, the site is located close to a VTA train running on West San Carlos. We knew we could design the building to attract employees from downtown and Northern San Jose who were looking for an easy commute.

What have you learned from working with GreenTRIP?

GreenTRIP has helped shape the project.  They have provided us with invaluable information that aided us in our traffic analysis. They also helped us make decisions regarding number of parking spaces, bike spaces, etc.

What benefits have you seen in other projects that you expect will carry over from SparQ and its neighborhood?

The SoFA neighborhood needs more foot traffic, like we see in Willow Glen. We are hoping that our project will enhance the overall foot traffic of SoFA. 

What do you like to do when you’re not at work? 

I am a runner and race at least once per month.  I also love watching Sci-Fi movies or TV. 

What project are you looking forward to working on next?

I am looking forward to working on our next affordable project that benefits underserved communities like veterans, seniors, and certain workforces. 


Learn more about GreenTRIP Platinum.


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