Thursday, September 21, 2017

SoFA Street Fair this Sunday

The bi-annual SoFA Street Fair goes down in just a few days and will bring tons of live music and good times to Downtown San Jose. 12 stages spanning three city blocks will host 100+ bands! Almost every music genre you can think of will perform--there is something for everyone. There will also be food trucks, craft beers, and lawn chairs.

The event is free, family friendly, and starts on Sunday at 2pm. All of the details are below (click images to enlarge).

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fountain Alley Fridays

Fountain Alley is part of Downtown San Jose's historic district near 1st and Santa Clara Streets. It is a central location that has not gotten a lot of love over the past decade, but a series of events and initiatives may change that. Fountain Alley Fridays will activate the area with live music, ping pong (8 tables!), stand up performances, and plenty of art on display. Stand up and live music begins at 6:30-8pm with headline acts from 8:30-10pm.

The event is brought to you by the Knight Foundation, Local Color, Mighty Mike McGree, Alan Chen, the Public Space Authority, and Tangerine. Speaking of Local Color, if you haven't checked it out at the old Ross site--it is pretty amazing.

Fountain Alley Fridays will take place on September 22nd and 29th from 6-10pm, and hopefully they continue this event into the future.

Monday, September 18, 2017

September 2017 Downtown Dimension Highlights

Here are my notes from the latest edition of Downtown Dimension:
  • California High Speed Rail is trying to cut costs by using an aerial alignment through San Jose, which would result in potentially unsightly aerial tracks with support towers every 100 feet. This is despite the fact that they are planning to run at-grade down the Peninsula and underground in San Francisco.
  • The three-story former Plaza Hotel is now interim housing for up to 47 homeless people.
  • SoFA businesses are launching a new Farmer's Market on Sundays from 10am-2pm in the parking lot across from the California Theater.
  • Four pieces of Burning Man will make their way to Downtown as a new "Playa to Paseo" initiative.
  • The "My San Jose" app allows residents to report potholes, graffiti, abandoned cars, and illegal dumping.
  • Labyrinth Bar & Kitchen is now open at 45 Post st. in the former Peking House space.
  • Los San Patricios Cantina is now open at 81 W. San Fernando with an Irish-Latin theme.
  • Orangetheory Fitness will open this month at 111 W. St. John St.
To read the newsletter, click here!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

San Pedro Square Market - 6 Year Anniversary

Tomorrow after Viva Calle 2017, you can swing by the SPSM for live music, games, and food/drink specials! Six bands will play on six rotating stages throughout the day. The San Pedro Square Market in my mind was the true turning point for Downtown San Jose and I'm thrilled to see it continue to thrive.

What will the next six years bring? Expect an expansion of the market across the street to the left of the Fallon House along with 30,000 SQFT of new retail on the ground floor of Silvery Towers (the two new high-rises). The Market will only get more popular going forward.

Friday, September 15, 2017

New Proposal in West San Jose

A Preliminary Review Application (File No. PRE17-143) was recently submitted at 375 S. Baywood Avenue for a 12-story, 65 unit multifamily building with underground parking on a 0.3 acre site. Currently the site has two existing single-family homes and could be developed with up to 75 units under the Urban Village land use designation. This property falls within the newly adopted Valley Fair/Santana Row Urban Village Plan. The VFSR Plan sets a capacity for 8,500 new jobs and 2,635 new dwelling units.

The applicant submitted several design concepts to gain an understanding of what staff would support. The conceptual designs can be found here. The concepts are all of a similar design but different enough to be able to have a preference for one over the other. I will say it is very exciting to see interest in architecture that is different from the typical boxy industrial look we have seen all too much in the Bay Area (think Mission Bay in San Francisco).

-Kimberly Vacca


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bark in the Park this Saturday

The largest dog festival in the United States takes place this weekend at William Street Park. Over 15,000 dog lovers and 3,900 dogs are expected to be in attendance. The festival stretches across 10 acres of grass, trees, and water.

Events include a variety of workshops, shows, and contests (dog costumes, pet owner look-a-like, tail and tail wagging. There will also be a kids entertainment zone, low-cost vaccines, microchiping, and vendor booths.

Bark in the Park runs from 10am-5pm this Saturday at S. 16th Street and William Street. The event is free but a $5 donation is encouraged for each dog.

For more information, head over to the Bark in the Park website.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Another residential tower proposed Downtown

Equus Capital Partners is adding yet another potential high-rise project to the Downtown queue. This one clocks in at 24-stories, 260 residential units (70 studios, 109 one-bedrooms, 77 two-bedrooms, 3 three-bedrooms), 1,500 SQFT of retail facing Park Avenue, 319 parking spots, and 66 bicycle parking spaces.

One of the most interesting aspects of the proposal is the location on Almaden Boulevard. Currently there are no residential projects anywhere on this street Downtown. If you scroll to the very last image, you can see the empty courthouse that sits on the property today. If built, not only would it be extremely convenient for residents that work Downtown, but the property would have immediate access to 40,000 SQFT of restaurants in the same complex such as Morton's, Scott's Seafood, Specialty's, and Peggy Sue's.

Aesthetically, the design is a bit more interesting than existing residential towers. My favorite features are the cutout on the 7th floor (first image) and the penthouse amenity floor. It looks like they are actually planning a common space on the top floor with trees and a lounge area. This should be a mandatory feature on new residential towers given how amazing our weather typically is.

Source: SVBJ (requires subscription)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Southwest is adding more flights at SJC

Southwest Airlines recently announced 25% increase in San Jose departures and a 50% increase in nonstop destinations by Spring. This will help keep Alaska Airlines at bay, who have also been steadily increasing their San Jose flights.

The new daily nonstops include Orlando, St. Louis, Houston's Hobby Airport, Spokane, and Boise. Southwest is also adding Sunday-only flights to New Orleans and Albuquerque. The new flights begin May 6th except for Orlando, which starts on April 8th. If those weren't enough new flights for you, on March 10th they are also launching their first international flight--San Jose to Cabo San Lucas (Alaska Airlines is the only other carrier with a direct flight to Cabo from SJC).

Southwest will be increasing the frequency of their Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and Dallas flights as well. After all of the changes, the airline will have 80 new flights each week and feature a total of 24 nonstop destinations.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Downtown Development since 2005

Downtown San José’s bright future has been a primary focus for many of us urbanists. However, as we grease our gears for full steam ahead into the future, many of us may have forgotten just how far the downtown has come in the past decade. The City’s Planning Division keeps track of development proposals in downtown San José dating back to 2005 when the Downtown Strategy 2000 was adopted by City Council. Part of this tracking includes creating an annual map showing where residential and commercial development proposals have occurred. As shown in the map in the link below, there have been numerous mixed-use residential development proposals within downtown San José, mostly centered near or north of E/W Santa Clara Street. Specifically, 2,643 units are currently built or under construction with another 4,228 approved units on the way. This equates to over 6,800 NEW units within the downtown, meaning many more residents walking, biking, and increasing the vibrancy of the core of our city. This explosion of residential development can be a large factor in explaining the increase in cafes, restaurants, and bars that the downtown has seen recently. Let’s all hope that office proposals can now make up for lost time!

-Kimberly Vacca

Downtown Development Map

(click to enlarge map)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Stroll The Alameda on September 17th

The Shasta / Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association along with the Alameda Business Association host a great wine and beer walk each year. It is a great way to explore the neighborhood while sampling local wines and craft beers, listening/dancing to music, and shopping (Alameda stores typically provide special offers during the event).

The 7th Annual "Stroll The Alameda" event takes place Sunday, September 17th from 2-5pm. Tickets are only $25 per person and include 12 tastings, a souvenir glass, and event map (this goes up to $35 on the day of the event). The stroll will start at the Park Ave. Preschool at 1080 The Alameda.

For more information and tickets, head over here!