Friday, February 28, 2014

Bowling Alley and 24 Hour Fitness Coming to Eastridge

Eastridge Mall is adding two new non-shopping tenants to spice up the retail mix. The first is an 18-lane Round1 bowling alley. This is a Japanese chain that is known for incorporating karaoke rooms, arcades, and billiards into their facilities. The Eastridge Round1 will be about 50,000 SQFT. The second tenant is a 24 Hour Fitness that will come in around 40,000 SQFT. Both of these will be located in the space formerly occupied by Bed Bath & Beyond and it looks like they are under construction right now.

Source: SVBJ, Hat-tip to Arnold Kwok

Signature Flight Support Breaking Ground Today at SJC

Signature Flight's $82 million private jet terminal at SJC breaks ground later today. It will house Google's fleet as well as the jet fleets for other large Silicon Valley businesses. This means more tax dollars for the City and improved convenience for local companies. More info below:

A new era  begins in San Jose - on Friday, February 28, Signature Flight Support will be breaking ground at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport and begin development of a new facility that will serve Google and other Silicon Valley companies.

A powerful uptick in the private jet industry for companies of all sizes has spurred demand that is now being met in Silicon Valley - a strong need for hangar space, maintenance, and crew and passengers amenities in key worldwide locations.

Key competitive differentiators for business aviation:

— Business aviation companies reach over 10 times the number of U.S. airports than airlines do
— Users can reach multiple destinations in one day
— Business aircrafts increase employee productivity thanks to cabin configurations that are conducive to individual and team work

Signature Flight’s $82 million investment will help Silicon Valley companies stay competitive, will generate hundreds of new jobs and garner more than $3 million in annual revenue for San Jose. The company will also be an integral part of the community by partnering with local organizations such as the Tech Museum and Computer History Museum.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Eating San Jose - New Local Blog!

The San Jose Blogosphere grew a little bit larger this month with the addition of Eating San Jose. I'm sure you can guess what most of the posts will be about based on the name. The creator of the new blog, Dale Federighi, moved from the East Bay to Willow Glen in 2009 and calls it one of the best decisions he's made so far. He's a software developer, family man, skateboarder, food enthusiast, and now of course a blogger.

The first post on Eating San Jose is about KANSUI, a new pop-up Ramen restaurant in the Willow Glen Hay Market. Dale raved about their Tonkatsu Ramen, Spicy Red Miso Ramen, Okonomiyaki (photo below), and Pickled Salmon. Check out the detailed post right over here. I also added a permanent link to Eating San Jose on our blogroll over to the right.

Welcome to the community Dale, looking forward to your future posts!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vacant Office Buildings Getting Free Gigabit Fiber

Well, well, well... when it rains it pours. Last week I happily posted about Google's consideration of San Jose (and other Silicon Valley cities) to be part of the next Google Fiber expansion. This would bring inexpensive ultra-fast internet to homes, businesses, and schools. Now it looks like the City of San Jose is initiating a new program that would use Fiber as a carrot to help fill vacant office buildings.

The City currently has some excess capacity in their internal Gigabit Fiber network. The Office of Economic Development is proposing that we use that extra capacity to wire up to six buildings with over 30% vacancy as an incentive for companies to fill those spaces. The ultra-fast internet would come free of charge, but the building owners would have to pay for any up-front costs to connect the building to the Fiber.  The out of pocket costs to San Jose would be nil, but the upside could be more companies in San Jose and increased tax revenue.

So far three building owners are interested: 2 North First, 4 North Second, and 75 E. Santa Clara.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

First to Market is Officially Open!

First off, a huge thank you to all those that came out to the restaurant preview last Friday (and of course to Jen for setting up the event). The hottest new restaurant in Downtown San Jose is officially open to the public today! First to Market is owned by San Jose locals Jenn Lin and Joe Gradillas (co-owner of Singlebarrel); the head chef is Domingo Wolbert. These are people that are passionate about San Jose and want to make SoFA a real destination.

The food combines traditional American comfort food with some modern twists. You can see some of their menu items in the photos below. They will even have some signature items featuring wild game, such as Bison Tartare with Quail Egg and Pineapple Arugula Salad. I had a chance to sample their menu already (twice) and have to say this place is phenomenal. Come try it out before it turns into Singlebarrel and you have to stand in line for 45 minutes to get in! =)

Given that First to Market is located in the heart of the SoFA District, they are going to participate and contribute to the local art scene. One of their walls will be dedicated to a local artist each month. The first artist to be featured is none other than one of our bloggers, Jen Bullock OwYoung!

First to Market is located at 399 S. 1st Street. The restaurant is below Agenda and immediately above Singlebarrel. If you are too impatient to find street parking, the Convention Center garage is right across the street.

Bison Tartare with Quail Egg and Pineapple Arugula Salad

Maple Glazed Pork Belly and Beans

Pimento Mac and Cheese with House Cheese Curds

Bourbon Brisket Pot Pie with Buttermilk Biscuit

Lattice Apple Pie

Monday, February 24, 2014

Construction Starting on 554-Unit North San Jose Apartment Project

The Golden Triangle is the area bound by Highways 101, 237, and 880. It is the largest tech cluster in the world and where you'll find most of San Jose's high-paying jobs. In recent years, several dense housing projects have sprung up right in the middle of the triangle and the trend is continuing.

Equity Residential has just wrapped up the Domain apartment project, a 444-unit, $155 million project right across the street from the @First shopping center. Domain has the distinction of being the largest modular construction project in the area. The apartments were prefabbed and then assembled like lego pieces, which explains how the building went up so quickly.

Now Equity is about to break ground on Tasman Apartments, an even larger development across the street from Domain. This one will clock in at 554-units and cost $215 million to build. It looks like the bulk of the building will be a respectable six-stories.

The amenities list is quite long: roof deck (love these), pool, spa, fitness center, bike-repair shop, BBQ center, clubhouse, and a game lounge. Equity is even throwing in two parks: the five-acre Domain Park and a one-acre park at Tasman Apartments in 2015.

The location I would say is ideal. Not only is it close to jobs, but Light Rail is nearby, @First is across the street, it has easy access to Highway 237, and the new Stadium (plus related projects) are 5 minutes away. The only thing I would have liked to see is some retail on the ground floor of these buildings. All in all, this should be a solid addition to the area.

Source: SVBJ

Sunday, February 23, 2014

San Jose Chick-fil-A Awarded LEED Silver

The first Chick-fil-A in Silicon Valley has also become the first restaurant in San Jose to achieve a LEED Silver Certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design). Located at 53 Headquarters Dr. in the @First shopping center, the restaurant opened in 2012 to the longest lines I have ever seen for any restaurant opening.

This Chick-fil-A includes water and energy efficiency features as well as air quality control and waste diversion efforts. I'm sure it helped that they were able to build the restaurant from the ground up instead of having to convert an existing space for their needs. They also received LEED points for being easily accessible via VTA buses and Light Rail.

Congrats to this Chick-fil-A and hopefully we'll see many more LEED certified restaurants in San Jose in the near future.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday Stats: San Jose Metro Ranked as #2 Top Performing Rental Market in the Country

We all know how expensive it already is to live in Silicon Valley today, but it looks like rents are continuing to climb. In 2013, the national average for apartment rent rose 5.1% to $1,093 per month. The list of metros across the country where rents appreciated the most was entirely dominated by the Bay Area. In fact, the region took the top 3 spots in the list, with San Jose coming in second:

  • Santa Rosa Metro: 12.2% growth (average rent of $1,438)
  • San Jose Metro: 10.1% growth (average rent of $2,153)
  • San Francisco Metro: 9.8% growth (average rent of $2,044)

With the local economy and job market continuing to heat up and the demand for housing outpacing supply, we may see similar rent increases for 2014.

Source: SVBJ

Friday, February 21, 2014

Google Fiber Considering Deployment in San Jose!

Google has just announced several new cities that are candidates for Fiber internet deployment, and guess what... San Jose is on the list! While Comcast and AT&T Uverse internet speeds average 15-30 Mbps, Google Fiber can hit a staggering 1,000 Mbps with future plans to go up to 10,000 Mbps. The difference is night and day. Imagine no load times for any page on the web and the ability to stream 4K (Ultra HD) video to every room in your house simultaneously. The best part is that all this performance does not come at a premium. Google's prices are competitive with what we pay today for average speeds.

Internet is becoming an absolute infrastructure necessity like electricity, water, and a sever system. As far as internet providers go, Google Fiber is the best option in the US. If we can bring this to San Jose, then it will be a huge competitive advantage over other cities--both for companies wanting to locate here and residents wanting to live here. Hopefully the city council will do whatever it takes to make this a reality. How can you help? Email you Councilmember and let them know we need this!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Reminder: Art & Food mixer at First to Market tomorrow night! 2/21

Don't forget!

Tomorrow, Friday, February 21st I'm hosting a special mixer at the new restaurant First to Market in the SoFA District.

First to Market is an American comfort food restaurant featuring a seasonal menu. Run by local owners, Joe Gradillas and Jennifer Lin, the restaurant will provide downtown San Jose with signature dishes from Chef Domingo Wolbert such as Bison Tartare, Shrimp and Grits, and Housemade Tots to name just a few.

I have had the honor of being their first local artist to showcase my photography on their artist wall! You'll see several San Jose/South Bay people and places. 

(If you'd like to read more about the restaurant and event, here's the original blog post!)

Please stop by, anytime between 5pm and 9pm, to check out the newly decorated restaurant, check out my photography, and of course, get a chance to taste some of their yummy dishes!

For this event, they will have a special menu of passed appetizers. Here is a sneak peek to get your tummy growling:

I've been informed there might be one or two additional items not mentioned on this list. I can't wait to taste them all. I've been saving my taste buds for Friday's event.

We hope to see you there!

Where: First to Market
Date: Friday, February 21st 
Time: 5pm to 9pm
Address: 399 S 1st Street, San Jose

HGST Expanding Historic South San Jose Campus

Nathan Donato-Weinstein from the Silicon Valley Business Journal nabbed an exclusive on the HGST expansion. This historic campus in South San Jose was birthed by IBM in 1956 and was the location where the "flying disk drive" was invented. Now owned by Western Digital, HGST is going to demolish about a million SQFT of outdated space, rehab the remaining structures, and build two new modern buildings. One will be a 15,000 SQFT R&D space while the other will be a 185,000 SQFT office building.

The new buildings will be relatively tall for these types of campuses. The office building will rise up to six stories and the R&D space will probably be four. The architect says there is interest in doing more than "just retaining a manufacturing-style, low-rise model." It sounds like they want to enhance the aesthetics of the overall neighborhood, which is a nice change of pace for these types of projects. I'll look forward to the first set of renders.

Next to the HGST campus, several housing projects are under construction with hundreds (if not thousands) of homes. A new retail center anchored by Target is also in the works, and the area does have access to both Light Rail and Caltrain.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Wishlist: Vertical Gardens

As a green-tech leader, San Jose needs to up its game when it comes to building designs. Below are photos of Clearpoint Tower in Sri Lanka, which will be the world's tallest vertical garden. It has 164 apartments across 46 floors and every units is wrapped in plants which buffer sound, heat, and help clean the air. The garden is watered using an automatic drip irrigation system and other green elements such as solar panels and natural ventilation are also incorporated into the design.

A project like this would be ideal in areas that have few tall buildings in the immediate area... such as the suburbs. It would blend into areas not used to density much nicer than a steel or glass tower. I could see projects like this replacing strip malls near public transit in East/South San Jose.

Source: Inhabitat

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hoopla Raises $8M, Plans to Expand Downtown San Jose Office!

Another hot startup is expanding in San Jose. Hoopla is a cloud-based gamification solution for motivating sales teams. Basically, they improve sales by throwing an element of fun and competition into the selling process. Gamification is a super hot space right now and Hoopla has grown by 250% last year alone, adding over 150 customers.

By raising $8M in a Series B round, they will be able to double their 25 person company by the end of the year. This also means quadrupling their space in Downtown San Jose. They are currently headquartered at 84 West Santa Clara, Suite 750--right across the street from the new One South tower.

For more information, have a look at the full release below or visit Hoopla's website.
Hoopla Raises $8 Million to Meet Demand for Sales Motivation Software

Series B Round Led by Trinity Ventures to Fund SaaS Company’s Rapid Growth

SAN JOSE, Calif., February 13, 2014Hoopla, an award-winning provider of sales motivation software, today announced $8 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Trinity Ventures, with participation from previous investors Safeguard Scientifics (NYSE:SFE), Illuminate Ventures and additional private investors. Larry Orr, general partner at Trinity, will join Hoopla’s board of directors.

Founded in 2010, Hoopla’s cloud-based Sales Motivation Platform combines modern gamification techniques with powerful data insights designed to motivate and track   sales team performance. The product’s highly engaging, animated updates are broadcast live on big-screen TVs and web pages throughout the enterprise. A mobile version will be available later this spring.

“The world of sales is changing dramatically,” said Michael Smalls, founder and CEO of Hoopla. “New business models and technologies are changing how and where we sell, and a new generation of employees is bringing a different set of ideas and expectations to the workplace. Our customers recognize this shift, and are using Hoopla to build engaged, high-energy teams that are reporting gains of 50 percent or more in their key performance metrics.”

Hoopla’s software as a service (SaaS) solution targets the 15 million sales and other business professionals worldwide who use customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and want to improve the productivity and performance of their teams. The company grew over 250 percent in 2013, adding over 150 new customers, including well-known brands such as Act-On Software, Castlight Health, Forrester Research, GM Financial, and The Sacramento Kings.

“There is a select group of software technologies that are redefining how sales organizations connect, communicate and drive performance,” said Mr. Orr. “Hoopla is a leader in this market, and is rapidly establishing itself as the must-have motivation platform for world-class sales organizations.”

Hoopla will use its new funding to expand sales, marketing and product development efforts to meet the rapidly growing demand for its software. The company is hiring aggressively and expects to double its employee base by the end of 2014.

About Hoopla®
Hoopla provides cloud-based software that helps sales organizations inspire and motivate sales team performance. Using Hoopla’s award-winning Sales Motivation Platform, industry leaders like Angie’s List, Box, Experian, Glassdoor, Marketo, Trulia, Xactly and Zillow are building high-performance cultures that deliver dramatic gains in sales productivity and customer satisfaction. Learn more at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at @hooplasoftware.

About Trinity Ventures
Trinity Ventures is a top-tier venture capital firm combining business insight, practical expertise and a personal touch to help start-ups win big. For over eleven funds, Trinity has helped passionate entrepreneurs with breakthrough ideas transform markets and lives. Trinity's investment team takes a collaborative approach and believes in personal engagement, mutual respect and goal alignment to deliver out-sized returns to entrepreneurs and investors. The firm invests in early stage technology companies with emphases on Cloud, Digital Media, Social Commerce and Entertainment, and Software as a Service.

Monday, February 17, 2014

TWO BUCK Tuesday Tomorrow at Kaleid

The best value in the Silicon Valley art world has to be Two Buck Tuesdays at Kaleid on 4th Street. Get hand-made artwork for $2, watch artists create new art, and of course listen to live music. The event itself is free and runs from 7-10pm tomorrow.


From Phantom Galleries:

Join us for our monthly creative get together! Art demos, live painting, lots of live music plus $2 ART!
Tuesday, Feb. 18th, 7-10pm, FREE

Amy Street will be teaching us how to create celebrity portraits in glitter! “Because glitter is the new medium.”


Monstark Studios

Thomas Morrow photography
Kori Thompson

Jesse Cupp

Al Preciado
John Hageman

Luis Rivas

Nik Caesar
David Mejia will draw your portrait while you wait!

Ryan & Natalie McBride


Avery Burke

Jared Padovani:

A Million Creatures/Molly Murphy

88 South Fourth Street (@ San Fernando)
San Jose, CA 95112
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, noon -7pm
Free admission

Vietnam Town Expanding By 186,000 SQFT

Even though there are 51 unsold retail condos in the 120-unit first phase of Vietnam Town, the owners have decided to go through with a second phase. The project will include an additional 186,000 SQFT with 141 more retail condos. These would be distributed across a total of five buildings with the average retail condo size being around 1,000 SQFT.

Part of Vietnam Town phase two will be a single 40,000 SQFT pad that could easily accommodate a grocery store. 99 Ranch Market or Lion Market have already been identified as potential candidates. There are also plans to build a parking structure on the site.

This seems like an ideal place in the middle of Little Saigon for a mixed-use village, so I'm a bit disappointing that a housing component was not included in the project. This could have become a Vietnamese Santana Row. At least doubling down on the project will increase the chances for success and turning it into a regional draw.

Source: SVBJ

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Feathers of Fury 4: San Jose Pillow Fight Today!

If you have ever wanted to run around Downtown hitting total strangers with pillows, boy do we have the event for you. The fourth annual Feather of Fury pillow fight is going down today at high noon. The location is going to be the plaza outside the Rep. Below is a photo from last year's event.

Scroll down for more details and the rules. It should be a lot of fun!

Main Event Page

Facebook Page:


An AIRHORN or WHISTLE or TOWER will signal the beginning of the event. We will proceed to charge a la Braveheart and let the flailing of laughter ensue. How long will it last? Well, that all depends on you.


-Tell everyone about the Pillow Fight.
-Wait until the whistle/airhorn signal to begin.
-Soft pillows only!
-NEVER swing at people without pillows or with cameras.
-Tell EVERYONE about the Pillow Fight.
-Remove glasses beforehand!
-Don't hit people with a pillow unless they want it.
-Swing lightly, many people will be swinging at once.
-This is not a little kids event.
-If you don't like it ... just walk across the street.

(Feathers are fantastic!) But it might be a good idea to wear a bandana to keep yourself from swallowing some Feathers of FURY. AGGGHHH!

Latex gloves and Garbage Bags will be brought out so that we may attempt to leave the park/area just as we found it ... which is impossible cause after we leave it will be AWESOME.

tweet. blog. FB. space. email. morse code. GET IT OUT THERE.

FB: /PillowFightSJ
Twitter: @pillowfightsj
Instagram#: #pillowfightsj

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday Stats: San Jose Ranks #4 for Political Giving

The political campaign season has already begun despite there being over nine months left before the 2014 midterm elections. Nerdwallet has taken the campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics and ranked the 50 largest US metropolitan areas in terms of political contributions. San Jose came in at #4. I have to say that I am a little bit surprised to see San Jose rank so high on the list, but am not surprised to see that 75% of party-specific contributions went towards the Democratic Party. Check out the full article and more analytics at the source link below.

Source: Nerdwallet

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day! After Tonight's Festivities, Help Plant Roses Tomorrow =)

Saint James Park is about to get some grass-roots beatification. Tomorrow, the San Jose Downtown Residents Association is planting 25 rose bushes in the often neglected park. The roses were donated by the Friends of the San Jose Rose Garden. They are gathering from 9am-12pm and are looking for 25 volunteers. More info below if you are interested (or check out the SJDRA Facebook page here).

I really appreciate that there are people willing to get together to help make Downtown a better place. This is a great and much needed initiative.


We just received word that the irrigation system at St. James Park is now fixed and we are cleared to proceed with the planting of 25 rose bushes graciously donated to us by the Friends of the San Jose Rose Garden. We have locked in Saturday, February 15 from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and need up to 25 volunteers to help with this grass-roots beautification project. Please send an email to if you would like to participate, either by planting or providing refreshments. It will be a great way to work together and bring some color to this great park. If successful, more roses will be donated for future plantings so let's make this happen and show the city what a few dedicated residents can do!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thin Film Establishing an Innovation Center in San Jose

Thin Film Electronics ASA in a Norwegian company that specializes in "printing" electronics on rolls of flexible material. This technology could become very disruptive, lowering the cost of producing electronic components dramatically and also opening up new markets. One cool product they are working on that ships this year is an electronic piece of plastic that includes integrated sensors with the ability to track temperature. Imagine having this slapped on a bag of fish or meats to track the full temperature history of that product, ensuring the food is not compromised by the time it gets to the grocery store.

They are entering the San Jose area by purchasing Kovio, a company that supports NFC (near field communications) on these tiny printed electronics. The tech makes it so that you can use a smartphone or other electronic device to easily communicate with these printed devices wirelessly. Kovio is located on Zanker Road, where it also has a manufacturing facility.

Source: SVBJ

Content Magazine Pick Up Party @ SP2

The latest issue of Content Magazine is almost here, and as per tradition they are throwing a party to celebrate! The venue of choice this time around is SP2, one of the best new Downtown San Jose restaurants of last year. Subscribers (and their +1) get a free drink and appetizers. The event runs from 6-8pm on February 18th. All the details are below.


Celebrate a new year of Content with our newest issue, "Discover." Think there’s nothing to do in San Jose? Think again. In this issue, we’ll feature people worth watching, places worth visiting, and businesses worth supporting. Discover something new (or new to you).

Start that spirit of discovery by visiting SP2, one of San Jose's newest restaurants.  Previously a horse stable, now a communal bar and restaurant with delicious, locally sourced American bistro cuisine.

Print Subscribers, Contributors and Featured Personalities (and their +1) are invited to enjoy a free drink and passed appetizers, and a night of connecting and picking up the latest issue of Content Magazine.
Not a subscriber? Make it your resolution to support local. Subscribe now to receive Content Magazine 6x a year--in Print & Digital ($42) or Digital Only ($23).

Stop on by. Meet new people. Learn new reasons to love your city.  RSVP (Facebook) //RSVP (email)

Tuesday, February 18th

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Synaptics Expands San Jose Headquarters

Synaptics is one of the market leaders in touch-sensing technology, such as trackpads on laptops. The company moved its headquarters to Northeast San Jose in 2013, and they are already expanding. They just paid $10 million for an extra 80,000 SQFT of space at 1140 and 1150 Ringwood Court. These two buildings are right next to their current three-building campus.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cocoabella Chocolates Valentine's Day Collections

Valentine's Day is almost here and my favorite chocolate shop is featuring several collections to celebrate the occasion. Cocoabella is a curator of the best artisan chocolates from all over the world. The quality and uniqueness of each piece blows away the cookie-cutter stores. It has gotten to the point where my wife can't go to Valley Fair without picking up one of their boxes along with a chocolate drink.

The Valentine's Day Collections include chocolates from France, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, and across the US, all handmade and flown in last week. If your significant other hasn't tried these out yet, then you have the opportunity to score some big points this year.

Check out Cocoabella at Valley Fair on the first floor near the center court or online right over here.