The San Jose City Council voted Tuesday to rezone the area around the Berryessa Flea Market and replace it with retail and housing.
It’s the beginning of the end for a San Jose institution and an emotional decision for many, not just those directly involved. Land is valuable in Silicon Valley, and many believe the San Jose Flea Market fell victim to that fact.
For months vendors fought to prevent this from happening, describing the decades-old market as a key part of the fabric of San Jose.
Despite protests, marches, even a brief hunger strike - the city council voted to rezone the land the flea market has called home for 60 years, and turn it into high density housing and retail.
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“The market in its current form will close,” councilman David Cohen.
In a deal with the land owner, he and other city leaders, the development owner will open a $5 million dollar vendor business transition fund, to help vendors relocate.
The city may add another $2.5 million. The flea market can’t close for at least three years and the new project will include a 5-acre urban village, where some of those same vendors will be able to move their shops once the new project is complete.
“Our interest was keeping the market there, or at least some version of it, that would allow us to pay homage to that cultural and economic center in our region,” said Cohen.
The committee of vendors, the city, and the landowner, will form the Flea Market Advisory Group, to ensure a smooth transition for vendors and try to address hiccups along the way.
Meanwhile the city, along with VTA, says they will continue to look for other land that might one day house a similar flea market.