Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Eclectic Restaurant Near Santana Row

Looks like a new restaurant called Kãama is coming to the former site of Fuel at 385 S. Winchester, right across the street from Santana Row. Below is a brief from Kãama's website. I'm definitely looking forward to trying it out, especially given the Chef's track record (Bleaux Magnolia in Napa).

Thanks to Tweservation for the tip!

*******

The Kãama Lounge
San Jose is about to discover a tasty treat, Kãama Lounge and Supper Club. This intimate setting is dedicated to the Goddess of Pleasure, Pleasure in Food, Pleasure in Drink and most importantly the Pleasure of good times and great company.

Kãama’s award winning Chef from Napa Valley “Matt Mermod” has transplanted to Kãama and his set sights on the Reinvention of “The Menu” it is not often you can truly say you are creating something “New” but that is exactly what Matt has accomplished.

Kãama’s menu is a recreation of comfort foods from around the world. Every plate has a tasting of the original and Chef Matt’s masterful reincarnation.

Kãama offers an intimate and playful setting of eastern elegance and design, with layers of comfortable seating that encourages a relaxed atmosphere.

Kãama is a versatile venue across from Santana Row, able to accommodate large private events to romantic parties of two. Let Kãama cater to your personal special event for any occasion.

Cheers
Kãama Lounge


Monday, March 29, 2010

Great Earth Day Idea from San Mateo

Those that work in San Mateo and pledge to take public transportation during "Earth Day week" (April 19th-23rd) will be eligible to get a free $10 TransLink card. This card is essentially a unified transit ticket that works on Caltrain, BART, Muni, AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit / Ferry, and eventually buses. Hopefully VTA will take note and join the club--especially with Grand Central Station San Jose coming soon to Diridon Station (VTA Lightrail, VTA Buses, BART, Caltrain, ACE, Amtrack, and Hight Speed Rail all in a single location). 

As population and commute times continue to rise, we really need to encourage better usage of public transit. This initiative from San Mateo is exactly what we should do here to continue to get better utilization and grow our transit system. Many people don't realize that our Light Rail system is actually pretty nice. It's far from perfect, but definitely usable... especially if someone is giving you free money to ride it. For more information on what our neighbor up north is doing, click here. Also if you happen to work in San Mateo, you might as well go for your free TransLink card as well!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Nightclub Coming to Downtown San Jose

An anonymous poster tipped us off on a new nightclub/bar opening soon in Downtown San Jose. They are looking for feedback on what Downtown patrons would like to see as part of this new club. So, if you'd like to influence the future of Downtown nightlife, just complete this short survey!  There are only 12 questions, so it shouldn't take more than 2 minutes to fill out.

Rendering of Potential San Jose HSR Station

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Proposed 49er Stadium Project Overview

While not technically San Jose, I think it's worth mentioning this highly controversial project... probably even more so than SJC =)

Here's an overview of just the stadium itself without too much propaganda:

Future Site of Little Italy San Jose!

I finally got to walk the Little Italy site for the first time and there is some real potential here. While not a large area, the site opens up to the Guadalupe River Park and has a spectacular courtyard in the middle. If successful, it will also push downtown past the 87 underpass and be a short walk away from Axis, San Pedro Square, and several proposed towers. I also have to say that I'm really looking forward to Paesano Ristorante Italiano, the first Italian Restaurant to open its doors in Little Italy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Irish Innovation Center Grand Opening Photos

Star Trek Leaving Town Soon

The Star Trek exhibition at The Tech is just in town for a few more weeks. If you want to check this out, here is your last chance. You can pick up tickets at http://www.thetech.org/StarTrek/, and be sure to use the checkout code "spock" for a 20% discount on the tickets!

The Usuals: New Works by Frances Marin Tomorrow




The Usuals
1020 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126
San Jose, CA


"This Never Happened"
New works by Frances Marin

Friday, March 25th
7:00p - 10:00p
On view thru April 18th

Performances by:
The Oddly Even
and
Fare Station

Storefront DJs:
James Vidal
and
Hells Bells

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

SJC Adds First New Airline In 5 Years

Today San Jose International announced that they are adding daily flights from Volaris Airlines, a budget-minded Mexican airline. The first route will be to the second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara. As mentioned in the headline, this is the first new Airline to come to SJC in almost 5 years. Hopefully a sign of things to come! For more info click here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Update on Downtown Condo Sales

This week's edition of the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal has an article with an update on downtown condo sales entitled "Developers see turnaround in downtown San Jose high-rise condo market."

Here are the latest numbers:
  • 360 Residences
    • 213 Units
    • 90 Sold (Opening Soon for Occupancy)
  • Axis
    • 329 Units
    • 86 Sold
  • The 88
    • 197 Units
    • 57 Sold
  • City Heights
    • 124 Units
    • 92 Sold
To read the full article click here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo Grand Opening Weekend

Yesterday I took my goddaughter to the grand re-opening of Happy Hollow! The renovations and expansions are pretty impressive, this is definitely not the Happy Hollow Park & Zoo I remember from my childhood.

The park is now divided into 3 main sections: 1.) massive children's play area with rides and a titanic-sized play set  2.) the main zoo 3.) petting zoo (part of section 2 in the old park) and lemur play area. While everything was substantially renovated, what impressed me the most was the third section--which had one of the most innovative designs I have ever seen in an amusement park. A huge chunk of this area was themed around lemurs; however, instead of just having an expansive zoo exhibit of lemurs there is also a lemur-themed play area adjacent to it. So kids can essentially watch the lemurs while immediately imitating there actions in the play area. Excellent idea!

The entrance, store, restaurant, restrooms, and education facilities are all brand new. There are several new rides as well as new animal exhibits. Also, there are quite a few improvements still to come. Several areas are under construction and there are still 3 animal exhibits that haven't opened yet: bats, bees, and foxes.

One observation I had while walking back to the car was just how much underutilized space there is in Kelly park. We're talking dozens of acres here. How nice would it be to eventually build out a full zoo equivalent to San Francisco or Oakland? I think this current renovation and expansion will put Happy Hollow on the map as an exceptional children's park, but a full-blown zoo would increase it's appeal to a much larger audience. It could also be a profitable venture for San Jose, just a thought!












Thursday, March 18, 2010

San Pedro Square Market Video

Short video with a nice walk-through of what will become the San Pedro Square Market. I would love to be out on that second floor balcony on a nice day like today, can't wait to see what will go in that space:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Day Post: Irish Innovation Center Opens Downtown!

Last Sunday I was able to get into the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Irish Innovation Center located in Downtown San Jose. These offices will be a launching pad for Irish startup companies that want a presence in Silicon Valley. The event was a huge success with encouraging speeches from Brian Cowen (Prime Minister of Ireland), Chuck Reed, Sam Liccardo, Dr. Craig Barrett (former CEO of Intel), Tom McEnery, and Gordon Ciochon (Former Head of Global Operations at Symantec). We need to continue to keep the San Jose entrepreneurial community active and this is a giant step in the right direction. If we can center that entrepreneurial community in the middle of Downtown San Jose, then that's just icing on the cake.

I'll have some photos from the event for you soon, but for now I can offer you the shortest Sam Liccardo interview of all time courtesy of David Manzo:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

San Jose Opens/Closes the Nasdaq Today

To celebrate 20 years of the Nasdaq having a presence in Silicon Valley, the opening and closing ceremonies were done from the City Hall rotunda today. With 203 out of the 513 companies listed on the Nasdaq calling Silicon Valley home, maybe the Nasdaq should consider a more permanent move, don't you think?

JoAnn Freda from San Jose Day-by-Day happened to make it to the opening ceremony and has a great blog post about it--her 100th blog post in fact! She even took some photos at the event like the one below. Read her post here!


Monday, March 15, 2010

San Pedro Square Market Letters of Intent!

Are you guys ready for an update regarding my favorite upcoming project in Downtown San Jose? While I can't provide any names besides Barefoot Coffee and Veggielution, I can tell you what types of vendors have signed Letters of Intent for the San Pedro Square Market!

  • Barber Shop
  • Bike Rentals
    • I can give you a little more info about this one. These are supposed to be electronic bikes that you can rent and ride all around downtown (the electronic assist will work for ~20 miles). When you're done, they plug them in and recharge the battery for the next rider.
  • Cards
  • Chocolate (unconfirmed)
  • Concierge
  • Falafels
  • Flowers (unconfirmed)
  • Frozen Custard (supposed to be amazing)
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Gorditas
  • Guatemalan Imports
  • Gyros (unconfirmed)
  • Italian Food
  • Latino Kitchen Products
  • Pho
  • Produce
  • Raviolis
  • Sausages (unconfirmed)
  • Shirts and Caps
  • Spring Rolls
  • Tamales and Enchiladas
  • Toffee
  • Wine Bar

Many more Letters of Intent are pending and hopefully we can get actual names soon! I have more information about ideas that are being thrown that will create some synergy between the vendors, but I'll save that for another post later this week. If you have any thoughts on what other types of vendors you would like to see at the Market, please post in the comments!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

San Jose 2030

I have to tell you guys about an amazing new endeavor that videographer David Manzo has embarked on. His plan is to fully document Downtown's transformation over the next 20 years in a project called San Jose 2030! Over the next several months, he will be videotaping and photographing key areas throughout downtown including the San Pedro Square Market Site, Saint James Park, and other places of historic significance. As major changes occur, he will go back and re-record those areas in stunning high definition. Not only will this capture significant eras in San Jose's history, but it will provide a time lapse of how Downtown will grow and achieve new heights over the next 2 decades!

To start tracking Dave's progress, access the San Jose 2030 Facebook page here! A website is also coming soon.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

130 New Homes Coming to Santana Row

Finally a major housing project is moving forward in San Jose! Barry Swenson has been contracted to build 130 new apartments (flats and townhomes) in the 1.5 acre parking lot behind Santana Row's Borders Bookstore. The project will be at least 5 floors, 4 stories of residential on top of a parking garage which will hopefully accommodate more than just the residents. The new units will likely by rented out first and then sold as condos. Federal Realty is expected to foot a bill of around $30 million, or just under a quarter million per unit. If it sounds cheap per unit, don't forget to factor in the value of the land these units are sitting on top of.

Friday, March 12, 2010

SJC Hypothetical Question

I'm going to play devil's advocate a little bit and throw out a hypothetical question posed by one of our readers, Anthony Dominguez. What would happen if we were to shut down SJC and relocate operations to SFO and OAK? Before you light your torches, hear me out (and bear in mind I'm a big fan of SJC). With high speed rail, the trip from Diridon Station to SFO is going to be a ridiculously low 13 minutes. That's less time than it takes to park in SJC on a busy day. So what would we gain in exchange for losing one of the city's prime assets?
  • No building height restrictions in Downtown San Jose or other urban areas around the airport.
  • Faster approval process for high-rise development.
  • 1,000 acres of prime, develop-able land in the center of Silicon Valley with immediate access to 3 freeways.
  • Substantially less noise for over 100,000 people that live in close proximity to the airport.
  • None of the liabilities that come along with managing an airport, especially one with declining passenger volume.
I'm not saying that this is something I support, again just playing devil's advocate ;). Below are some mock-ups that Anthony put together of what a consolidated airport at SFO could look like. If you have an opinion on this topic, as always please post in the comments!




SAN JOSE / 21 is Back!

One of my favorite San Jose blogs is finally back! DLO has a great post on a Downtown Campbell article that showed up in the Merc last month.

Give it a read over here.

Conan is Coming to San Jose!

That's right, Conan O'Brien is coming to the San Jose State Event Center on May 5th! I'm not sure if booking a Cinco de Mayo show in Downtown San Jose was intentional or not, but my recommendation to you if you were able to snag tickets... arrive early and avoid diving down Santa Clara Street at all costs.

If you don't mind going solo, you may still be able to buy tickets here. Otherwise, there's always Ebay :/. 



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The 88 Promo Video

In honor of The 88 snagging Downtown Condo Owner #1500, I thought I'd share a promo I found that highlights the benefits of living downtown using stories from actual residents there:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

1500th Person to Call the Heart of Downtown San Jose Home!

Last Thursday Downtown San Jose achieved a major milestone in its history. Sarah Ligda became the 1500th person to clutch the keys of a brand new Downtown San Jose condo! If you've been to downtown lately, you've probably noticed that there are a few more lights on when you look up at the sky and a few more feet on the streets. Despite a rocky economy the heart of our city continues to grow in every way possible: density, eclecticism, and culture. It's becoming a place were people want to live, work, play, and just be. Every key that gets passed on to new condo owners chisels away at the stereotypes and misconceptions Downtown has dealt with for decades and paves the way for a much brighter future.

Now, it is with tremendous pleasure that The San Jose Blog gets to bring you the following press release before anyone else. Enjoy!

***

SAN JOSE (March 4, 2010) Sarah Ligda, a recent San Jose State University masters-degree graduate now working in high-technology in Silicon Valley, was heralded today as the 1500th new downtown resident of San Jose’s two-year surge of condominiums. A resident of The 88 highrise at 88 E. San Fernando, Sarah joins the growing population of singles, couples and families who are finding greater appeal in urban life than the previous generation, a lifestyle also seen as a path toward greater sustainability for the planet, according to officials who gathered downtown to mark the occasion.

Nearly two-dozen new downtown retailers were also feted, including 12 that have opened in 2009 and 11 more planned to open in 2010.

San Jose City Council Member Sam Liccardo, San Jose Downtown Association Executive Director Scott Knies and The 88’s Seth Bland of developer Wilson Meany Sullivan were among the officials presenting a basket of downtown retailer gifts to Sarah.

The 1500th resident marks the move-in of over 850 new buyers, plus a multiplier for household size, in nearly 20 downtown properties since late 2007 when the first highrise, City Heights, welcomed new residents, according to research by Pacific Marketing Associates.

“Sarah’s move to downtown is emblematic of our emerging Downtown populace,” said Liccardo. “She’s a young, well-educated, tech worker seeking an urban environment where she needs to walk no more than a block to encounter a yoga studio, Brazilian restaurant, grocery store, a live theater, and a comedy club. It’s all here.”

“Day by day, we’re seeing small but significant forward-steps downtown, and the addition of 1500 new residents plus our new retailers is part of that story,” said Knies. “The new downtown condominium buildings are bringing more vibrance and activity compared to a year or two ago, and you can see the incremental change every afternoon and evening on the sidewalks and in the restaurants.”

The new downtown retailers of 2009-10 include:

-- Newly-opened in the past year::
The Market by Safeway, E. San Fernando at 2nd
Maceio’s Brazilian Restaurant - 72 S. First St.
Soula Power Yoga Studio - 200 S. First Street
Icebee Yogurt - 151 S. Second St
Silk Road Mediterranean Café - 185 Park Ave
San Jose Glass Artist Alliance – 465 S. First St.
The Heel Bar – shoe repair, service for residents – 134 E Santa Clara St
Love’s Cupcakes - 85 E. San Fernando St.
WOW Noodle Bar - 76 S. First St.
The Old Wagon Saloon & Grill - 73 N. San Pedro St.
Downtown Yoga Shala 450 S. First St.
The Cheesesteak Shop - 76 E. Santa Clara St.

-- Retailer planned in First Quarter 2010
The MMoon Empanada Restaurant - 177 W. Santa Clara St [cq: MMoon with 2 M's)
The Pasta Market - Market Center on Coleman
Pho 69 - 321 S. First St
U-Food Grill - 143 W Santa Clara St
Tangerine Hookah Lounge - Fountain Alley
Morton’s The Steakhouse – expansion (177 Park Ave.)
La Victoria – expansion - 131 W. Santa Clara St.

-- Planned later 2010:
Market at San Pedro Square – open August 2010
Flames Eatery - 88 S 4th St - expansion to add bakery and extra seating - December 2010
Higher Fire Ceramics Gallery & Studio – 495 S Market – Summer 2010
Ross Dress for Less – 27 S First St –June 2010













From the left: Seth Bland of The 88; Scott Knies from the SJDA; Nancy Avila from Maceio’s Brazilian Steakhouse; Sarah Ligda, the ceremonial 1500th new downtown condo resident; Sam Liccardo, City Council Member; Kimberly Beach, store manager of The Market by Safeway; and (Mr.) Meredith Davis, a teacher at Soula Power Yoga.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Discount Code for "Legally Blonde The Musical"

I received this a few minutes ago from the Downtown Association. If this is half as good as Avenue Q--which also came here courtesy of Broadway San Jose--then it'll be well worth watching. Read below for details and of course the discount code:

***

Downtowner Online: Special EditionA service of San Jose Downtown Association

“LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL” - GET $15 OFF SELECT SEATS AND PERFORMANCES.
PROMO CODE: LEGAL

TO PURCHASE TICKETS GO TO: http://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Jose-CA/Broadway-San-Jose/92946576482?v=app_7146470109&ref=ts

Good through March 15th on tickets to the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday performances in all sections EXCEPT section D. Subject to availability, not available on previously purchased tickets.

It's here, and it's "AN ELLE OF A SHOW" (TIME Magazine).  The hilarious MGM film is now a smash hit musical, and now LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL is coming to you. Underestimated blonde UCLA sorority star Elle Woods doesn't take "no" for an answer. So when her boyfriend dumps her for someone "serious," Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and sets out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law. Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL has been created by a dean's list of top-of-their-class Broadway talent, including Tony Award®-winning director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray); composer and lyricist Laurence O'Keefe (Batboy) and Nell Benjamin (Sarah, Plain and Tall); book writer Heather Hach (Freaky Friday); and scenic designer David Rockwell (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL will take you from the sorority house to the halls of justice with Broadway's brightest new heroine (and of course, her chihuahua, Bruiser). The verdict? This much fun shouldn't be legal!

Running time: 2 hours, 25 mins, including intermission.
Rating: Family friendly for pre-teens and older.
Location: San Jose Center for the Performing Arts

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 2010 Downtown Dimension Highlights

Here are my notes from the latest edition of Downtown Dimension (warning, this is going to be long because there is a lot of great content this month!):
  • Convention Center Expansion
    • $30 million in RDA funds were approved for the expansion, which will have a total cost of $130 million.
    • Completion is expected in less than 19 months.
    • Plans include 35,000 sqft of ballroom space with 30ft high ceilings, 25,000 sqft of new meeting room space, new food prep areas, new furniture and fixtures, restroom improvements, sidewalk improvements.
    • The hideous former MLK Library will be torn down (nice!)
  • Other RDA Projects moving forward:
    • $4 million to complete the Civic Auditorium renovation.
    • $3 million for the North San Pedro housing development.
    • $30 million in land acquisitions for a new baseball park south of Diridon Station!
  • Goals from the city's 2010-2015 economic strategy for downtown:
    • Fill up office space.
    • Expand the convention center.
    • Complete the San Pedro Square Urban Market.
    • Support more events.
    • Attract more start-up companies and create a sense of community among downtown entrepreneurs (damn good idea).
    • More live music aimed at broader audiences.
    • Continue to invest in SoFA (keep it up, doing a great job so far)
    • Continue partnering with 1stAct.
    • Strengthen pedestrian and bike connections to Guadalupe River Park and encourage "bold next-stage evolution of the park."
    • Attract businesses that bring "street-level vibrancy" both day and night
  • Zanatto's is stepping up its game to be more competitive with The Market. They'll offer wine dinners and expand inside seating for lunch and dinner customers.
  • Tres Gringos is expanding to SJC (FYI, their fish tacos are amazing). Also coming to the new terminal is Sonoma Chicken Coop and Original Joe's!
  • CJ's Cafe & Catering is now offering breakfast and lunch at 303 Almaden Blvd.
  • Downtown San Jose's Fourth (seriously, fourth??) Subway is oping on the ground floor of Three Sixty Residences (the high-rise condo building in SoFA).
  • As reported here several months ago, the Montgomery Hotel will be re-branded as a Four Points by Sheraton Hotel. This will be the First Starwood Hotel in San Jose. Starwood also includes Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Luxury Collection, and St. Regis brands.
  • Pizza Chicago can now roll-up most of it's walls for an open air dining experience (think The Counter at Santana Row)
  • Many events coming this summer:
    • Dwontwon Farmer's Market at San Pedro Square, Fridays, 10am-2pm starting May 7th.
    • Downtown Doors Installation also May 7th.
    • Dine Downtown is Back!: Jun 2-12, with a City Bites sampler event on Jun 2nd (awesome, can't wait!!!)
    • Music in the Park: Thursday nights starting Jun 3rd.
    • Starlight Cinema: Wednesday nights starting Jun 9th.
    • South First Fridays: May 7th, Aug 6th, Sep 3rd
    • Sub Zero's uber South First Friday: Jun 4th!
    • Left Coast Live - Jun 21-26
    • Jazz Festival - Aug 13-15
    • Tapestry in Talent - Sep 4-6
    • ZeroOne - Sep 16-19
    • Mariachi Festival - Sep 19-26
To read the full newsletter, click here!

Friday, March 5, 2010

New Retail Openings Downtown!

Thanks Mark for pointing out that the Redevelopment Agency updated their Monthly Report. Below is what's opening soon in Downtown San Jose as well as a couple recent openings. 8 retail stores are currently under construction or in permitting!

Recent Openings
  • Tangerine Hookah Lounge (30 E. Santa Clara St., Suite 150)
New Retail Lease
  • Ruffled Feathered Eatery (200 S. First St., Suite 10)
Opening Q1 2010 (i.e. This Month)
  • The Pasta Market (579 Coleman Ave.)
  • Sante Grill (143 West Santa Clara St.)
  • La Victoria Expansion (131 W. Santa Clara St.)
Opening Q2 2010
  • The MMoon Empanada Restaurant (177 W. Santa Clara St.)
  • Teagre Tea Shop (96 North Almaden Ave.)
  • Pho 69 Restaurant (321 South First St.)
  • Morton's The Steakhouse Expansion (177 Park Ave.)
  • Ross Dress for Less (27 South First St.)

San Jose Facebook Groups

If you look over to the right you'll notice a new link category called San Jose Facebook Groups. I found some great pages I thought you'd all enjoy, especially I HEART SAN JOSE which just broke 2,500 fans!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sante Grill Coming to Santa Clara St.

It looks like Downtown San Jose's newest restaurant might be Sante Grill on Santa Clara Street. The crappy cell phone photo below is pretty much all the information I have. I can't find anything on Google about this place. If you know anything about Sante Grill, please post in the comments. Thanks!