Agnews West Community Master Plan

Santa Clara, California


Gast-Hillmer prepared the Master Plan for the 160-acre Agnews West mixed-use community in Santa Clara, acting as urban design and land use planning consultants to the State of California as a member of a multi-discipline team headed by Gruen Gruen + Associates, Real Estate Economists. The project, currently under construction, lies in the heart of Silicon Valley on the site of the former Agnews State Hospital. The development includes 2,000 dwelling units in a variety of housing types and income levels, a K-8 elementary school, community shopping district, public park and library. The site is adjacent to the new 80-acre research and development campus of Sun Microsystems, and within a short distance to other major high technology employers.

The completed project will provide critically-needed housing to the Santa Clara Valley, including a substantial proportion of affordable units. The Master Plan emphasizes compact, pedestrian-oriented development, creating opportunities for residents to walk or bike to nearby shopping, job centers, a light rail transit station and recreational amenities.

The Planning Process

The Master Plan was prepared during an 18-month period of extensive public involvement and a cooperative working relationship between the State, County and City of Santa Clara. Following completion of the preliminary Master Plan, the State of California Real Estate Services Division issued a developer RFP and subsequently selected the development team of Centex Homes, Shea Homes and Lennar Communities as master developers. The $ 193 million land sale was the highest in State history for the reuse of a surplus property. Gast-Hillmer was responsible for urban design and planning on the multi-discipline team, authoring the planning concept and details. The firm prepared a set of "guiding principles" for urban design, and illustrative plans for the mixed-use commercial areas, residential neighborhoods and public facilities.

The project was recognized with the "All American Cities Award" by the National League of Cities, and the Award of Merit for Planning Implementation, American Planning Association, Northern California.

Project Team

Dan Hillmer, Principal-in-charge, Gerald Gast, Participating Principal. Gruen Gruen + Associates, Real Estate Economic Consultants. Nolte and Associates, Engineers. David Powers and Associates, Environmental Consultants.