Friday, February 26, 2010

The Sobrato Tower May FINALLY Get a Tenant!

In today's San Jose Business Journal, there is an article saying that PricewaterhouseCoopers is considering moving into the shiny blue Sobrato tower at 488 Almaden downtown. Nothing is set in stone, but they are looking to expand into a larger building when their lease expires in Dec. and this building is on the shortlist.

I've been in the Sobrato tower once, and the view from the top floor is stunning. The fact that this building has been vacant for more than half a decade now is just plain sad. This is the nicest office tower in all of downtown San Jose and PWC would be lucky to call it home!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Joint Venture Index of Silicon Valley 2010

The latest Joint Venture report evaluating the current status of our region has been unleashed. Thankfully it's not all doom and gloom. Here are a few of my favorite statistics:
  • 30% of ALL Venture Capital invested in the US, is invested in Silicon Valley (Pop: 2,900,000, less than 1% of the US population). 
  • The proportion of VC funds we're receiving in relation to the rest of the country actually increased in 2009 (so we're getting an even larger piece of the funding pie).
  • 12% of ALL US patents originated in Silicon Valley.
  • In 2008 more patents were filed in San Jose than any other city in the US (and by a wide margin).
  • 3% of vehicles registered in Silicon Valley are hybrids or electric (as opposed to 2% in the rest of California)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Old Little Italy Archway Concepts

It tuns out that I never posted the original archway concepts for San Jose's Little Italy. Sorry about that! Here they are:

To see the latest render click here!

Cinequest Kicks Off Today!

One of the 10 greatest film festivals in the world kicks off today in Downtown San Jose, and there is an excellent post on San Jose Metroblogs providing some great insight as to what Cinequest is, and is not. Have a look for yourself here!

San Jose 2010 State of the City Address

I would highly recommend that everyone reading this blog take a look at the transcript of the 2010 State of the City Address. It's long, but has a lot of important information on the current situation San Jose is facing as well as the future vision of our city. You can read Chuck Reed's speech in full here.

Some of the main topics are:
  • Balancing the Budget
  • Building a Strong Economy
  • Safe Neighborhoods with Good Schools
  • Protect and Preserve our Environment
  • Creating a Vibrant City
Here's the link one last time!

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Potential Little Italy Arch Render

Below is another rendering of what the Little Italy arches could look like (this one was put together by Acadia Architecture). Also the first restaurant in little Italy, Paisano's Trattoria Italiana, is opening up within a couple months!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 2010 Downtown Dimension Highlights

Here are my notes from the latest edition of Downtown Dimension:
  • Mayor Chuck Reed addresses the Redevelopment Agency
    • Financial situation is not good, may be able to borrow $30M this year.
    • The 2 highest RDA priorities right now are the downtown Baseball Stadium and the Convention Center expansion. These are the 2 with the biggest bang for our buck.
    • Regarding building heights and the airport, he indicated that the airlines have choices and we can't just tell them to do it our way shove off. They can cut flights and move to other airports in the Bay Area, we don't want to give them any more reasons to not fly out of San Jose.
  • The High-Speed Rail Authority is again reconsidering the potential of an underground HSR station in San Jose, although they made it clear it is not their preferred alternative.
  • Some additional news regarding the San Pedro Square Market:
    • They want to have a weekend farmer's market instead (or in addition to) the Friday one.
    • The targeted tenant distribution is 80% food and beverage and 20% hard goods.
    • A special area for kids is also in the works.
  • The 20th annual Cinequest Film Festival kicks off Feb 23 and runs all the way through Mar 7. This year it will feature over 200 films from 40 countries.
  • On March 5 from 5:00-7:30pm, there will be another high-rise condo open house. This will coincide with both Cinequest AND South First Fridays. Another great reason to spend March 5th downtown (you'll also get free pedicab rides between the high-rises and art venues).
  • The 141 W Santa Clara building should be revealed any day now (building under renovation housing Starbucks and La Victoria).
  • The Rental Market downtown has been booming. 90% of The Globe is leased, 80% of the Sainte Claire Apartments above Original Joe's are leased, and 94% of the Twohy Lofts are full.
To read the full newsletter, click here!

Friday, February 19, 2010

BuyBuyBaby Opening First West Coast Store in San Jose

BuyBuyBaby--a subsidiary of Bed, Bath, & Beyond--has decided to open their very first store on the west coast in San Jose. It's always nice to host a west coast premier! As you can probably tell by the name, this store specializes in baby products and this will be their 29th store. BuyBuyBaby will occupy a 38,000 sqft space formerly held by now-defunct Circuit City in Almaden Plaza (the center with Costco, Barnes & Noble, Trader Joe's, etc.).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Veggielution Farmstand Opening

Last weekend the Veggielution farmstand finally began selling to the public! Almost 56 pounds of fresh, organic, (very) locally grown produce was sold during the soft opening. Everything is sold on a sliding scale. Price 1 is $0.00 for those that are in true hardship, Price 2 is what you would pay at a typical grocery store for standard veggies, and Price 3 is what you would pay for organic produce at a specialized store (this is the support Veggielution pricing!).

The sheer fact that we now have an active farm in the middle of San Jose in 2010 is already mind-blowing... but the care and passion that goes into this production is what makes it truly special. I was fortunate enough to get a behind the scenes tour of "the acre" and everything is tended to by the hands of enthusiastic volunteers. Even the fertilizer is made on-site from scratch and is fed live to the crops (vs. pre-packaged dead fertilizer with fewer nutrients). Hopefully later this year their little acre will expand and they'll be able to offer an even wider variety of produce.

Please support the effort by visiting their farm stand at 647 S. King Road, Saturdays from 2:30pm-3pm! I picked up some broccoli and cilantro last weekend and can attest to the quality... amazing stuff. They're also looking for volunteers if you're interested in contributing to the healthy, local, organic foods movement!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Target Coming Soon to N. 1st St

According to the San Jose Business Journal a massive 138,000sqft Target could be making it's grand opening later this year on 1st St. by Highway 237. This would be the 10th Target in San Jose and would anchor a new shopping center called @First. The finished development will also include 70,000sqft of restaurants and smaller shops, two 5,000sqft pads (one of which will go to a bank), an upscale 225-room hotel, a 168-room Sierra Suites hotel, and 1.35 million square feet of office space (850,000 of which will go to Brocade).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!! If you still scrambling for a last minute plan, there are plenty of great San Jose restaurants that still have reservations available.  Here's the list of places that have openings somewhere between 5:30pm and 8pm today via Open Table:
  • 19 Market
  • Amber India
  • BlueFin Japanese
  • Emiles's
  • La Pastaia
  • Loft Bar and Bistro
  • Maceio Brazillian Steakhouse
  • Menara Moroccan Restaurant
  • Morocco's Restaurant
  • Morton's
  • Rangoli India Restaurant
  • Rosie McCann's
  • Spiedo
  • Teske's
Go to and get your last minute reservation before someone else snags it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

San Pedro Square Market has a Launch Date!

August 1st, mark it on your calendars! That's the date the San Pedro Square Market is officially launching! At less than 6 months away, this is a pretty aggressive target date. They also have a new Facebook page here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Earthquakes Stadium Renders

I don't know about you guys, but I'm drooling over these Quakes stadium renders. My only concern is noise with the proximity of the airport and the U-shaped design. Earthquakes fans will have no choice but to be louder than the planes ;).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Business Incentives Downtown

In order to encourage more businesses to set up shop downtown, Chuck Reed and 3 council members are proposing several new incentives for business owners. Here are the benefits entrepreneurs would experience if the proposal succeeds:
  • No license fees for new small businesses.
  • No parking fees for two years for businesses that sign or renew a downtown lease.
  • Potential tax reductions.
  • Defer impact fees over an extended period of time (what developers pay for infrastructure improvements).
It's no secret that opening a business downtown can require dealing with plenty of red tape and inefficient city policies that slow down the process substantially. Hopefully if the proposal goes through it will also allow new businesses to open their doors much faster as there is some mention of committing additional resources to development. They mayor implies that the city's development office would operate "at the speed of business" to help move things along.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Veggielution Is Opening Up Farmstand on Saturdays

The group of socially conscious urban farmers known as Veggielution are about to start sharing some of that fine locally-grown produce of theirs. On Saturday Feb 13th, they are going to have a soft opening of their Farmstand from 2:30pm to 5pm. The plan is to have the Farmstand open every Saturday afternoon, and of course they are also planning to open up shop at The Public Market on San Pedro Square this summer.

For their opening they will likely be selling scallions, lettuce, choi sum, arugula, cilantro, broccoli, kale, and chard. What is really interesting (and commendable) is that pricing is on a sliding scale so you pay what you can.

Check it out Feb 13 at 647 S King Road in San Jose.

First Friday Art Walk Today!

It's that time again. Rain or shine, the show will go on tomorrow in the SoFA district. I say it ever month... there is no better way to experience the San Jose art scene than to participate in these art walks. The galleries are open from 8pm to late (sometimes all night) and you have literally a hundred restaurants in walking distance... not to mention bars, night clubs, comedy clubs, movie theaters, the highest concentration of yogurt shops in the world, and guaranteed good times. Okay, I may be exaggerating on the yogurt shops but not the good times, so check it out!

Below is a map of all the places participating in the art walk. If you want the details on what each venue has to offer, you can always click this link. But do you really want to ruin the surprise?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Icebee Yogurt Now Open

If you're craving yogurt and you just happen to be in Downtown San Jose, you surely won't go hungry. There are now at least 5 yogurt shops downtown: Penguin Froyo, Cafe Yolicious, Swirls, Chillfactor, and now Icebee.

Located next to the Pita Pit on 2nd St., Icebee is a self-serve shop with 12 different flavors--including organic yogurt which you don't see very often--as well as the usual assortment of toppings. The atmosphere is modern and hip with a really slick booth in the middle of the store. Definitely a sweet addition to First St. which will one day provide contiguous retail between Santa Clara and SoFA Downtown.