City Poised to Buy Agnews Site

The city is making headway on a development that will flip the site of a defunct mental institution into a mix of public schools, trails and sports facilities.

San Jose and the Santa Clara Unified School District are going in on an $80 million deal to buy the 81-acre site of the shuttered Agnews Developmental Center from the state. The City Council votes on Tuesday to authorize the purchase and the school district on Thursday—in time for the sale to be settled by the end of this month and escrow to close by the end of June.

Agnews lies in North San Jose, a part of the city that’s technically within the borders of Santa Clara Unified, which needs to add schools to accommodate a burgeoning student population.

San Jose plans to spend $12 million for a quarter of the land along Zanker Road and North First Street then drop $7 million to raze old buildings and ready the site near Cisco and eBay for regional park use. After demolition, cleanup is estimated to cost $27 million.

Fully built, the site will include soccer fields, trails and a cricket pitch.

The school district tried for years to buy the Agnews site from the state’s Department of General Services. The mental health facility closed in 2009 after 120 years as an inpatient mental health clinic. But a state law prevents the state from offering below-market-rate prices to schools, so the district had to team up with the city to write up a joint offer.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for April 22, 2014:

  • An application to rezone a 13-acre site by Lake Cunningham and Eastridge Mall goes before the council for approval. Zoning from industrial to commercial would pave the way for development that would bring more jobs, the memo says.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. FYI the image is from the other part of the Agnews campus. I believe the campus referred to here is the one on Zanker between River Oaks and Tasman.

  2. Where is all of this money coming from? This is suppose to be a BROKE city. I agree that it should be used for the homeless, since the city has plans to house the homeless, anyway. City blows to much money unnecessarily.

  3. Mayor Chuck Reed and Council member Sam Liccardo (who we are told repeatedly are “fiscal conservatives”) will never allow San Jose to spend money to purchase Agnews! Certainly not before they fully staff SJPD – and we all know they can’t accomplish that because they say the City doesn’t have the money!

  4. We should appreciate a school is being built on the agnews site. This is a sign of visionary leadership !!!!!!

  5. We should turn Agnew into a place to house the homeless and give them resources, health care, and job training.

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