Thursday, January 19, 2017

New San Jose high-tech 'megafactory'

Veoldyne LiDAR has chosen South San Jose as its location to manufacture cutting-edge sensors for advanced tech such as self-driving cars. LiDAR is similar to radar, but uses light from a laser instead of radio waves to create a three-dimensional image. Next time you see a prototype autonomous vehicle on the freeway, look for the spinning disk on the roof. That is a LiDAR sensor. It is also used for drone aircraft and industrial robots.

Manufacturing will take place in a 200,000 SQFT building at 5521 Hellyer Avenue, formerly home to Nanosolar until 2013. Hundreds of high-paying San Jose jobs will be created and production is expected to begin soon.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber changes its name

Yet another significant San Jose institution has decided to drop the word "San Jose" from its name. The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce is now the "The Silicon Valley Organization."

This follows an unsettling trend preceded by The Business Journal and The Mercury News, our two top news publications. Dare I say it--should the city of San Jose be renamed the city of Silicon Valley to better raise our global awareness in light of these continued changes? You might be surprised to hear that I'm not completely opposed to the idea.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Knight Cities Challenge Names Eight San Jose Finalists

Today the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced 144 finalists across 26 communities in their third annual Knight Cities Challenge. The contest is a national call for ideas that will make local communities more vibrant places to live and work. The three main themes of the contest are helping cities attract and keep the best talent, expanding economic opportunities, and encouraging civic engagement.

Eight San Jose proposals made the cut and are finalists. Winners will be announced in the Spring and will receive a share of $5 million. All of the San Jose projects sound fantastic to me. Have a look at the list below and let us know which sound most worthy of funding.

San Jose Knight Cities Challenge Finalists

Local Color by Exhibition District (submitted by Erin Salazar): Activating vacant commercial
sites with a creative bazaar featuring artist studios alongside modular, open spaces for multidisciplinary community learning and teaching.

A Mobile Street Amenity Builder by Better Block Foundation (submitted by Jason Roberts):
Developing a mobile unit that includes the resources and tools needed to improve city blocks
and construct public benches, wayfinding signage, bus stops, planters and other resources.

Reimagining the city: Chief Architect of San Jose by Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo, city of San Jose (submitted by Shireen Santosham): Working to ensure San Jose develops into a walkable, green and engaged metropolis by hiring a visionary chief architect.

San Jose Pedestrian Paradise Project by Concrete Gardens (submitted by Liz Ruiz): Artistically reinforcing the established Pedestrian Priority Zone by further developing a pedestrian-focused environment–including sidewalk murals, vacant storefront installations, wayfinding signs–in downtown San Jose’s core.

San Pedro Square Great Public Plaza by Department of Transportation, city of San Jose (submitted by Laura Wells): Piloting a space for community engagement, the Great Public Plaza on San Pedro Street, to inform the design of a potential permanent plaza.

SoFA Playground by Public Space Authority (submitted by Ryan Sebastian): Creating a meeting place for residents to meet and connect with a food truck playground in the heart of San Jose’s arts and culture district.

#TogetherWeVote > Together We Are San Jose! by PACT (People Acting in Community
Together) (submitted by Akemi Flynn): Deepening ongoing civic engagement by engaging new
and first-time voters in discussions to learn about their experiences with voting; the project will also use community events as a forum for sharing how voting makes a difference and how to become more civically involved.

Young Placemakers by City of San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (submitted by Zacharias Edward Gabriel Mendez): Facilitating youth-driven neighborhood improvement projects, by creating opportunities to learn, design and execute ways to enhance and activate public spaces.

For more information, head over to

Monday, January 16, 2017

New Topgolf Shopping Center Renderings

A handful of new renders for the proposed Topgolf in Alviso have been released. Topgolf is the Dave & Busters of driving ranges. They are popular entertainment destinations with 20 locations across the US (the only other Topgolf location in California is near Sacramento). The San Jose Topgolf would be part of a 100,000 SQFT retail project that includes a new 200-room hotel. The center would be very close to @First and Levi's Stadium and might even encourage a few residents a visitors to explore Alviso, a mostly forgotten yet very interesting and unique part of San Jose.

Source: gillynova from the San Jose Development Forum

Friday, January 13, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel SJC Shout-Out

This isn't big news, but is pretty cool nonetheless. A celebrity tweeted out a great compliment about SJC. I have to agree, we have one of the best airports in the US when it comes to convenience and customer service.

Source: SJEconomy Newsletter

Thursday, January 12, 2017

San Jose Launches Restaurant Week: January 16-26

San Jose is participating in a statewide Restaurant Week that also includes various other cities in the Bay Area (SF, Berkeley, Oakland, etc.). The event features fixed-price dinners and other specials at participating eateries. The event launches next Monday and runs for a week and a half.

Below is a list of 25 San Jose restaurants that will be part of the event this year, an all-time high. All of the restaurants happen to be Downtown, which is very convenient if you want to go all out and do a food crawl.

  • 55 South
  • The Blue Chip - $10 cheesteak, chips, and soda combo
  • Cafe Stritch
  • Cafe Too!
  • Curry Pundits
  • Deluxe - 20% of all food items from Sunday to Thursday
  • Fountain - $40 three-course prix fixe lunch
  • The Farmers Union - $30 three-course prix fixe dinner
  • The Grill on the Alley - $45 prix fixe lunch, $70 prix fixe steak dinner
  • Habana Cuba - $35 tasting menu 
  • Hawaiian Poke Bowl - $30 dinner for two
  • Il Fornaio - $40 three-course prix fixe dinner
  • La Lune Sucree
  • La Pastaia
  • Loft Bar and Bistro - $30 three-course prix fixe dinner
  • Mezcal Restaurant - 15% off entire bill
  • Mosaic
  • Nomikai - 20% off pizzas (mention DTSJ Restaurant Week)
  • Olla Cocina - $30 three-course dinner, Tequila or Mezcal pairing for $20
  • Our House - $45 three-course prix fixe dinner
  • Pizza Bocca Lupo - 20% off when you mention Restaurant Week
  • Rookie's Sports Lodge
  • Scott's Seafood - $40 three-course prix fixe dinner
  • Takai - $23 two-course prix fixe menu
  • Treatbot - one free topping or waffle cone with purchase

For more info, head over here. Press release below.

Program Part of Statewide California Restaurant Month Promoting California’s Culinary Experiences

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Jan. 10, 2017) – More than 25 San Jose restaurants will celebrate San Jose Restaurant Week from Jan. 16 – 26, announced Karolyn Kirchgesler, Team San Jose CEO.

“San Jose’s Restaurant Week is a great opportunity for visitors to sample the 250 dining and night life options in San Jose,” Kirchgesler noted. “This years participating restaurants are an excellent representation of San Jose’s diverse culture and innovative approach to food.”

San Jose’s Restaurant Week is a mixture of Silicon Valley meets Valley of the Heart’s delight. Visitors will experience special deals and foods including: discounts, pre-fixed menus, chef’s tables, wine pairings and more. For more information and the complete list of participating restaurants, visit and follow Visit San Jose on social media.

San Jose Restaurant Week is part of California Restaurant Month, designated by Visit California. During its past 6 iterations, more than 50 destination partners have participated and contributed to its success. From the southernmost coastal beach towns to the High Sierras up north, dozens of destinations are hosting restaurant weeks and special events, shining a light on the many talented people and places in each region.

“This year, we’re broadening the program to promote all things culinary across the Golden State, from farmers’ markets and chef tastings to progressive dinners and winemaker specials. Our restaurants are the gateway to California’s abundance of culinary experiences -- now it’s time to peel back the layers to let our visitors experience the talent behind the scenes, from farmers and producers to chefs and winemakers,” said Caroline Beteta, Visit California President & CEO.

In 2015, travelers in California spent $32.3 billion on food and beverages, consisting of 29 percent of all visitor spending (Source: Dean Runyan Associates), Beteta said. Nearly 38 million domestic visitors participated in fine dining throughout the state. For more information about California Restaurant Month, visit

About Team San Jose
Team San Jose (TSJ) is an innovative partnership unifying the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotels, arts, labor and venues to deliver an exceptional visitor experience. TSJ manages the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, California Theatre, Center for the Performing Arts, City National Civic, Montgomery Theater, Parkside Hall and South Hall. For more information, visit

About Visit California
Visit California is a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, travel and tourism expenditures totaled $117.5 billion in 2014 in California, supporting jobs for 1,013,000 Californians and generating $9.3 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California and for a free California Official State Visitor's Guide, go to
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

San Jose 2017 Resolutions

Better late than never! I have been meaning to post a link to Searchlight San Jose's list of New Year Resolutions. I agree wholeheartedly with all five items on the list, especially #3 (Get another Michelin Star Restaurant). To see the list for yourself and add your own items, just head over to Searchlight San Jose.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"I Wish Downtown San Jose Had" Project

Last September, Gensler (a slick design firm with a major office in Downtown San Jose) commissioned a project at the San Pedro Farmer's Market entitled "I Wish Downtown San Jose Had." The goal was to inspire the community to participate in defining the vision for Downtown. Anyone could write a wish on a card and then hang it on a wall. The wishes have all been compiled and you can see the results over here.

I also recommend checking out the great photos of the wish wall here. We need more creative grass-roots ideas like this to move things forward. Hats off to all those at Gensler involved in this.