Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Topgolf breaking ground in Alviso

Later this year, Topgolf will begin construction on their first Bay Area location. Topgolf is the Dave&Busters of driving ranges and has 41 locations nationwide (only one in California). The San Jose venue will have a three-story driving range with 120 hitting bays, each of which can accommodate six people. Each golf ball has a microchip that can score each golfer--turning it into more of a video game than a traditional range. 

Most Topgolfs are open until midnight during the week and 2am on the weekend. This would provide another much-needed late-night entertainment option for North San Jose and Aliviso. Of course there will be a high-end lounge, one or more restaurants, and several bars onsite. To put the size of the project in perspective, it will employ about 500 people and entertain 450,000+ guests each year.

In addition to the Topgolf, the overall development site will also have a 200-room hotel and 119,000 SQFT of retail. The project is being proposed without subsidies and would bring even more tax dollars to San Jose coffers. It's not clear how long it will take to build, but an opening by the end of 2020 would be a safe bet if there are no roadblocks.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Viva Calle 2018 - Sep 23rd

One of my favorite events of the year returns in just couple of months. During Viva Calle SJ, miles of city streets will be completely shut down to let people walk, run, bike, or skateboard down the streets of San Jose.

Viva Calle features multiple activity hubs which are basically festivals-within-a-festival that highlight the local area. This year they will be located in SoFA, the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, and Martial Cottle Park. You can expect live music, vendors, food, activities, bike parking, and good times at all three hubs. In between the activity hubs you will still find all sorts of interesting stops, hydration stations, and stores.

Similar to last year, the route has been streamlined to just a single line without branching out. The route runs from SoFA all the way to Martial Cottle Park, which will showcase San Jose neighborhoods not featured in previous events.

Last year 130,000 people attended the event, which is up from 100,000 the year before. It's not clear if PokemonGo will be incorporated into Viva Calle like last year, but I would say the odds are good.

Viva Calle 2018 takes place on Sunday, September 23rd from 10am to 3pm (streets are closed until 4pm). It is completely free and has no designated beginning or end as it's not a race. You can use the handy map below to locate the routes and festivities. For more info, head over here. Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 16, 2018

New two-story office and restaurant project Downtown

If you are an urbanist, you are probably already freaking out with the headline of a new two-story building in the most dense part of San Jose. However, it will make more sense when you look at the photo down below and see where it is being built.

Storm Land Company is planning to build a 34.5 foot-tall building at the corner of Santa Clara Street and North Almaden Avenue. You might remember this as the patio for the Mmoon or the exterior staircase for the SVG Innovation Center. It is a small sliver of land connected to a historic building, so there are severe limitation on what can be developed here.

The plan is to have a new full-service restaurant on the ground floor that would potentially sell alcohol and stay open until 2am. The second floor would be used for corporate offices. It could actually a pretty neat infill project that would better utilize the space. I love the outdoor seating, but perhaps they could use accordion or roll-up doors to open up the restaurant to the street (similar to Olla Cocina).

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, July 12, 2018

More millennials are moving to San Jose than SF

Based on 2016 immigration and emigration data, it looks like more San Jose is getting more traction among millennials. This generation is currently defined as those aged 22 to 37. In 2016, San Jose gained 5,496 millennials (this is net, immigration - emigration). On top of the list for net migration was Seattle, followed by Columbia and the only other Northern California city in the top ten, Sacramento.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Terminator Virtual Reality attraction coming to San Jose

An LA entertainment startup called Spaces is launching their first US-based attraction and we are one of two planned stateside locations. The 30-minute experience sets up teams of guests to take on Skynet, so the location couldn't be more appropriate. In addition to VR headsets, there will be physical effects like wind and explosions.

Even though you probably have never heard of Spaces, they were spun out of DreamWorks Animation and have an impressive list of executives and investors. This will likely be a big-budget experience. The company also has a $30 million contract to bring VR and mixed-reality to a Chinese theme park and are working on other VR experiences using their own intellectual property.

There will be an exclusive sneak peak at a secret location sometime soon. You can register for a chance to be one of the first to try out the experience over here.

It will be interesting to see how these next-generation entertainment experiences pan out. Hopefully we are not taking too many steps towards becoming a Black Mirror episode.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Dine Downtown San Jose Restaurant Week is July 13-22, 2018

Downtown's best restaurants offer prix fixe menus or chef's specials
SAN JOSE - Some of downtown San Jose's best restaurants will celebrate Dine Downtown Restaurant Week with prix fixe meals, chefs’ specials and food-and-drink pairings from July 13-22.
Participating restaurants include:
71 Saint Peter
Cafe Stritch
Élyse Restaurant
Enoteca La Storia San Jose
The Farmers Union
Forager Tasting Room & Eatery
The Grill on the Alley
Hawaiian Poke Bowl
Lobby Lounge at Fairmont San Jose
Loft Bar & Bistro  
McCormick & Schmick’s
Mezcal Restaurant
Mosaic Restaurant & Lounge
Nemea Greek Taverna
Nomikai Social Food + Drinkery
Olla Cocina
Poor House Bistro
Uproar Brewing Company

Foodies need only show up at the restaurant of their choice and ask for the Dine Downtown option.
By expanding from prix fixe menus, newcomer eateries can join Dine Downtown this year.  For example:
  • District’s sampler plates featuring cheeses, charcuterie, yellowfin tuna poke and lamb meatballs are paired with sparkling, red and white wines and whiskey flights.
  • Fairmont Lobby Lounge chef James Hoang offers three courses including Wakame seaweed salad or summer rolls, fusion tacos or Fairmont Sushi Roll, and Moet Imperial champagne sorbet.
  • Olla Cocina Chef Alex Jimenez has put together a Mexican meal including marinated and grilled half chicken, frijoles and rice, all paired with the restaurant's featured craft cocktail, the Latin Lover Margarita.
  • Nomikai’s chef special by Emil Marquez is a summer pizza loaded with freshness:  salmon sashimi, avocado, microgreens, pickled red onions and aioli.
  • And Elyse restaurant goes all out with prix fixe menus at two price points, including mushroom tarts and grilled oysters as appetizers, seafood trio and short ribs bourguignon as main course choices, plus dessert and optional wine pairings.

Longtime supporters of Dine Downtown just seem to get better, creating new and inventive dishes for their patrons:
  • 71 Saint Peter’s Dine Downtown menu by head chef Cordial Pajor offers summer melon gazpacho, followed by charred ceviche and entrée of duck confit risotto or marinated bavette steak, plus passion fruit crème brulee for dessert.
  • Nemea Greek Taverna executive chef Sandra Martinez has put together classic Greek choices for a four-course meal.
  • Poor House Bistro has a price-fixed offering of classic Cajun fare.

“The chef’s specials and pairings opens the possibilities for more restaurants to get involved and gives customers more choices to explore,” said Julie Carlson, SJDA marketing director.

Check for offer specifics.  Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. nightly.

Check for offer specifics. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. nightly. Reservations made through OpenTable.

Dine Downtown is produced by the non-profit San Jose Downtown Association.

Many of the participating restaurants have validation programs. Parking information is available on

Monday, July 9, 2018

Hank Coca's Downtown Furniture will become a boutique gym

A 61-year old furniture store at 82 E. Santa Clara was recently purchased by KSP Holdings with plans to transform it into a fitness club. Hank Coca's Downtown Furniture has been a Downtown staple for as long as I can remember. However, the writing has been on the wall that its days are numbered--literally, it has been having a "liquidation sale" for countless years.

KSP Holdings owns ClubSport fitness clubs, The Studio workout clubs, and Renaissance ClubSport hotels. It is not clear exactly which of those brands will hang on this 120 year old, 43,210 SQFT building. The only thing know for certain is that change is coming and this key Downtown corner is going to get a significant makeover.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, July 5, 2018

3Below Theaters & Lounge is hosting Slapstick Sundays

Who: 3Below Theaters & Lounge presents
What: Slapstick Sundays
When: July 1st through September 16th 
Where: 3Below Theaters & Lounge, 288 So. Second Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Why: Every Sunday young and old alike can enjoy the company of others who appreciate this high art…the art of slapstick comedy. With origins dating all the way back to Ancient Greece and Rome, the slapstick genre has charmed audiences throughout time: commedia dell’arte, Punch and Judy, Amercian and English vaudeville. Across time and geography, audiences have been treated to these hilarious actors performing acrobatics and intentionally harming themselves, all in the name of laughs. Thankfully, the physical blows were not damaging; the comedians you’ll see in our Slapstick Sunday celebrations are most definitely masters of timing and comedic illusion.

Tickets: $10.00  (Discounts available for Students, Seniors, Military and Educators)   Online at or 408.404.7711
Double Feature: See two movies on one day and take 25% off ($12 to $15)

Schedule: The same film(s) will be shown on the 1st and 3rd Sundays with another pair on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. Showing times are 11:00am and 12:45pm.
Sunday, July 1 & 14 at 11am: City Lights with Charlie Chaplin
Sunday, July 1 & 14 at 12:45pm: Modern Times with Charlie Chaplin
Sunday, July 8 & 22 at 11:00am: The Nutty Professor with Jerry Lewis
Sunday, July 8 & 22 at 12:45pm: The Caddy with Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin
Sunday, July 29 & August 12 at 11:00am: Buster Keaton in The General (+ a series of Keaton shorts)
Sunday, August 5 & 19 at 10:30am: The Cocoanuts with The Marx Brothers
Sunday, August 5 & 19 at 12:15pm: Animal Crackers with The Marx Brothers
Sunday, August 26 & Sept 9 at 11:00am: Laughing 20’s with Laurel & Hardy
Sunday, September 2 & 16 at 11:00am: Horse Feathers with The Marx Brothers
Sunday, September 2 & 16 at 12:30pm: Duck Soup with The Marx Brothers

Photos courtesy of 3Below: Charlie Chaplin in City Lights and The Marx Brothers in The Cocoanuts

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

San Jose Rotary Fireworks 2018

Tonight, join the Rotary Club of San Jose at Discovery Meadow for a free fireworks show. While it can be seen from most of Downtown San Jose, the best viewing spots will be close to the Children's Discovery Museum. The family-friendly event kicks off around 9:30pm. For more info and a list of sponsors head over here.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

San Jose adding 4,000 cell stations for 5G wireless

San Jose has been planning to utilize street lights for a next generation wireless grid for quite some time. Now, those plans are taking some concrete steps towards action.

Verizon, AT&T, and Mobilitie are laying out the groundwork for improved 4G LTE and new 5G internet infrastructure with the largest small cell deployment of any city in the United States. About 4,000 new cell stations will be added to light poles throughout San Jose.

Collectively the three companies will also contribute $24 million to San Jose's Digital Inclusion fund, which was designed to close the digital divide and help low income families acquire fast and reliable internet access.

The initiative is great news. If we are going to maintain our lead as the innovation capital of the world, our infrastructure has to keep up.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, July 2, 2018

San Jose's economy continues to amaze

We are now at an all-time high when it comes to the state of the economy. Business Insider once again ranked San Jose as the #1 metro in the US when it comes to economic performance (GDP growth was an astounding 6.9%). In the first half of 2018, San Jose companies received about $400 million in venture funding through 14 different deals. Oh, and our unemployment rate is a jaw-dropping 2.4%. The only other time we were ever in that zone was during the .Com shenanigans of 1999-2000. In fact, we have added over 70,000 jobs in the past 8 years, which more than makes up for the 35,000 jobs lost during the Great Recession.

Yes, it is very expensive to live here and traffic is horrible. However, the root cause of these two issues is a positive thing--our economy is at its pinnacle. 

Source: SJEconomy

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Northern California's first Hello Kitty cafe opens in San Jose

The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck has periodically been roaming the Bay Area, but now there is a permanent home for fans of Hello Kitty-shaped treats. The first Hello Kitty Mini-cafe in Northern California opened last week at Santana Row. Food items include cookies, pastries, lemonades, and teas. The store also sells merchandise such as shirts and mugs.

Who could resist a cat-shaped macaroon?

Source: Alt 105.3, hat tip to Arnold Kwok for sending this in!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

New interactive AI exhibit at The Tech

Animaker is the first exhibit in the world that teaches kids about AI while actually teaching machines how to recognize objects in the real world. Visitors are invited to form animals out of lego blocks, which are then analyzed by a 3D scanner in conjunction with AI software and virtually placed in a jungle temple that is projected onto a wall. There is a two minute video below that shows how it works and it is quite an impressive concept.

Animaker is now open and will be at The Tech for at least a year. For more info, head over here.

New exhibit explores the future of creative play in an Artificial Intelligence driven world
Animaker invites visitors to collaborate with AI-powered robots and bring their creations to life

May 31, 2018, San Jose, CA-- The Tech Museum of Innovation is opening a new immersive exhibit which invites visitors to collaborate with AI-powered robots to bring their creations to life. In Animaker, visitors step into a large-scale projection of a jungle temple where robots invite them to form animals out of LEGO/Duplo bricks. Their creations are analyzed by the robots, incorporating cutting edge 3D-scanning technology and an AI powered search engine that understands 3D content. The animals then come to life in a virtual ancient temple, and can be personalized by changing their look and behavior. This is the first experience in the world where children play and learn about AI by training machines to recognize different interpretations of real world objects.

Bringing together primitive and futuristic creative expression practices from cave art, graffiti, video games, LEGO and digital art, the installation breaks down barriers between the physical and the virtual world and enables completely new play experiences. Animaker incorporates cutting-edge cross reality (XR) developments while avoiding the genre-typical technological barriers such as headsets or AR-enabled mobile devices.

Animaker is developed by a global team of educators, engineers, and artists from The Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose, Ca), AI technology startup Resonai (Tel Aviv/Palo Alto), digital art studio OMAi (Vienna, Austria) and 3D scanning startup Occipital (San Francisco, Ca).

“Animaker allows visitors to experiment with new forms of human machine interaction that are enabled by artificial intelligence, and extend one of the most beloved play experiences, LEGO building, into the virtual space,” says Galia Rosen Schwarz, VP business development at Resonai. “Our visual search engine, that understands 3D geometry and structure, analyzes each build and recognizes the animal that it represents. One of the key challenges here was teaching a computer to recognize builds that even the human eye may misinterpret.”

“It is thrilling to watch children so creatively engaged in a learning activity that so seamlessly combines the physical and virtual world. When educators, artists and tech makers come together, the possibilities for inspiring the next generation of innovative leaders are endless. We see the power of this creative confidence and knowledge of how to use new tech to solve problems last far beyond our exhibition walls,” says Nadav Hochman, experience developer and program manager, Art & Technology, at The Tech. Animaker is a collaboration The Tech is facilitating as part of a new Art + Tech initiative. The goal is to build a bridge between the global creative community and the high-tech sector of the greater Silicon Valley to create new experiences with emerging technology.

About the Animaker collaborators:

Resonai powers machines to understand the world through super-human visual perception, allowing them to recognize objects, complex scenes and context. Resonai’s search engine, that analyzes the precise geometry and structure of 3D content, powers real time visual search and recognition. For more information visit

Vienna based art studio OMAi create visual experiences around the world. Their iPad app Tagtool, a live instrument for spontaneous digital creation, has sparked a global community of artists and educators and was featured in Apple’s WWDC keynote videos twice. For more information visit

Occipital makes the Structure Sensor & SDK, Skanect, Canvas, TapMeasure, 360 Panorama and the PX-80 by Paracosm. Occipital focuses on making advanced computer vision technologies simple enough for everyday use. Occipital is based in Boulder, CO, San Francisco, CA and Gainesville, FL. For more information, visit Occipital on the Web at and

The Tech Museum of Innovation is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The museum — located in the Capital of Silicon Valley — is a non-profit experiential learning resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing applied technologies affecting their lives. The Tech’s mission is to inspire the innovator in everyone.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Sacred Art presents Illuminate

At the SubZERO Festival last weekend, I stopped by a booth promoting this year's Sacred Art event. This is an annual immersive art and music show that is free to attend, but requires registration. This year's event will be at Forager, and the theme for Illuminate will focus on technology, spirituality, and the South African food crisis. Eat, drink, and enjoy the designs and installations!

Here's a video from the previous event to give you an idea of what to expect:

The event will be on Saturday, June 30 at 7pm, and will go until 1am the next day. The location is Forager. You can register for tickets here and learn more about the event here.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The San Jose Blog ranked #1 for San Jose blogs

Well this is pretty neat. The San Jose Blog was ranked as the top San Jose blog by Feedspot. Blogs were ranked based on Google reputation, Google search rankings, influence and popularity on social media, quality and consistency of posts, and Feedspot's editorial team. Lots of other great blogs such as San Jose Inside, SJEconomy, and Grateful Hubby also made the cut. Check out the full list over here!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Okta doubling San Jose workforce

As a sign that smaller tech companies can also thrive in San Jose, Okta is doubling their footprint and workforce Downtown. Last year SF-based Okta decided to build a second headquarters in Downtown San Jose at River Park Tower I. The original idea was to attract talent regardless of where they live in the Bay Area (Splunk had as similar approach when they opened a Santana Row office). The results have been strong enough that they are adding another 125 jobs across a whole second floor in River Park Tower I--and may expand more in the future.

With abundant housing and transit options, Downtown is quickly becoming the hottest market for tech companies wanting to get into the South Bay.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June 2018 Downtown Dimension Highlights

Here are my notes from the latest edition of Downtown Dimension:
  • The SJDA 2018 summer even schedule includes:
    • Four Music in the Park performances (Jun 22, Jul 12, Aug 3, and Aug 24)
    • A weekly Downtown Farmer's Market each Friday on San Pedro Street from 10am-2pm
    • Starlight Cinemas on Jun 16, July 21, Aug 18, and Sep 15
    • Dine Downtown restaurant week from Jul 13-22
    • City Dance on eight Thursdays from August to October
  • Groundworks has achieved a 92% approval rating for 2018. 
  • Strategic SJDA objectives for 2018-2020 are to make people feel safe Downtown, minimize the impact of the homeless population, improve the Downtown brand, create a Downtown vision focused on strengthening districts and connectivity between them, and to support the BART extension to Downtown while minimizing impact to local businesses.
  • The Theatre on San Pedro Square has been renamed the Tabard Theatre.
  • A 87-unit, eight-story affordable housing building is being proposed for Almaden Boulevard and Balbach.
  • KT Urban is proposing a 220-room, 19-story hotel next to Axis on Santa Clara Street.
To read the newsletter, click here!

Monday, June 18, 2018

37th Annual San Jose Fountain Blues & Brews Festival 2018

Love to hear live blues music? Can't get enough from the winter and summer Jazz Festivals? Then you may want to check out the upcoming Fountain Blues & Brews Festival at Plaza de Cesar Chavez on June 23rd. Five artists headline the main stage this year:
  • The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Featuring Kim Wilson
  • Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings
  • Wee Willie Walker; Terrie Odabi & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra
  • Nikki Hill Band with Laura Chavez
  • The Sons of the Soul Revivers
There will also be a SJZ mobile boombox stage before and between the performances. 


In addition to the music, you will also enjoy over forty beers on tap from the below breweries:

Abita • Allagash • Anchor • Anderson • Ballast Point Coronado • Deschutes • Devils Canyon • Drakes • Elysian  • Golden Gate • Golden Road • Gordon Biersch • Hermitage • Hop Valley • Karl Strauss • Knee Deep • Lagunitas  • Lost Coast • North Coast • Oskar Blues  • Santa Clara Valley Brewery • Shipyard • Sierra Nevada • Stone • Tilt Brewery • Uinta

The event goes from 11am to 8:30pm. General admission is $25 (children under 12 get in free with a paid adult). There's also a $75 VIP ticket with access to a shaded area, full bathroom, private bar, and two drink vouchers.

For additional information, visit the festival website.

Friday, June 15, 2018

San Jose teacher writes a novel to improve grade-school literacy

Chris Knoblaugh--a Castillero Middle School teacher--recently published a thriller/horror novel called Tribute to fight falling literary levels in California. The book is set in San Jose and was written at a 3rd grade level with a subject matter designed to hook 6th graders and up. This was done to captivate students that might not have the same literary skills as their grade-level peers, but the book can be enjoyed by anyone.

Check out the full press release below or head over to Amazon for a preview of Tribute Part 1: The Cleaners Series.

Can Demons and Doppelgangers Help Turn Around California’s Low Literacy Rating? One San Jose Middle School Teacher is Determined to Find Out

SAN JOSE, CA (June 18, 2018) - In December 2017, a group of lawyers sued the state of California for the literary crisis in schools, claiming the state was not satisfying its constitutional responsibility to educate all children. According to the California Department of Education, a whopping 51.4% of students tested did not meet or exceed state English standards. Come November, voters will be faced with electing a Superintendent of Public Schools to turn around California's low literacy rating. Many are asking: what are schools doing about the problem?

“That’s not the right question,” said Castillero Middle School teacher Chris Knoblaugh, author of Tribute: The Cleaners Series: Book 1. “The right question is, how are schools going to fund the one-on-one attention required to teach kids to read?”

Knoblaugh knows first-hand the challenges teachers are facing, having taught English in elementary and middle schools in San Jose for 16 years.

“If an educator is teaching a full class of 32 kids, the chances to work one-on-one with a student are slim to none,” she said. “When I was working on my Master of Arts in Teaching, I gave up my break periods to tutor a student to bring him from pre-kindergarten to a fourth-grade reading level. It took one year of intensive work, starting with letter sound association, then word recognition, building reading visualization connections, and understanding the meaning of words.”

Knoblaugh became a teacher through the back door. The first in the family, along with her sister, to graduate from college, she earned a B.A. in English Literature and B.S. in Biological Sciences, graduating cum laude. She began working for a chemical company conducting research, and eventually became a product manager for Sun Microsystems, where she was laid off.  With all the downsizing in the high-tech industry, she knew it was time to change gears.

Through a program offered by NOVA to recruit teachers for Science, Special Education, and Math, Knoblaugh applied to be a Science teacher at Hoover Middle School in downtown San Jose. The school convinced her to use her writing skills to teach English instead, and put her in charge of a class where 70% of the students spoke something other than English as a primary language.

Knoblaugh quickly discovered what she was up against. “With a lack of resources at home like reading books, it’s not uncommon for a student to enter the seventh grade with a second- or third-grade reading level,” she said. “You learn vocabulary by reading. So, to teach in such an environment, you have to read aloud, stopping to discuss each section with the students. They can’t parse the information themselves; they often lack the tools to do so.”

From Hoover, she moved to Almaden, where again many students also spoke English as a second language. The difference, however, was that these students’ parents tended to be high tech workers learning to speak English themselves. The combination of a rich text and vocabulary environment, and the fact that the parents bought books for their kids and took their kids to the library, enabled these fifth-graders to often read at a college level. “They might not grasp the innuendo, but they understand the words,” she said.

For the past two years, she’s taught English at Castillero, a performing arts middle school, where 30% of the students lack the financial resources to invest in home libraries. Frustrated by what she saw as an ongoing problem—a lack of resources, and the kind of one-on-one tutoring she champions—Knoblaugh knew something needed to be done.

Her solution was to provide gripping stories that are accessible to kids, so a teacher can work on sentence structure and vocabulary development without the students knowing it. ”There aren’t a lot of high-interest/low-readability books for tweens out there,” she said. Which is the reason she wrote her debut novel, Tribute.

“I needed something to grab the attention of 12- and 13-year-old kids who don’t have an expanded vocabulary,” she said. “The reading level is third grade, but the interest level is sixth and above. I’ve written enough short stories, and read them in class, to know what grabs the attention of a child. It needs to be something on the edge of believability.”

Tribute, based in San Jose, California, is the story of twelve-year-old Miguel, whose family loses a soul every time his gang member Papa makes promises to Santa Muerte. Miguel’s brother, Juan, is the next target. The resulting paranormal possession attracts demons, doppelgangers, and an ancient soul slayer from the depths of Hell—all of whom must be vanquished if Miguel is to save his family and himself. Her Amazon reviews show many adults are also enjoying Tribute.

“Miguel is based on a combination of student characteristics I've seen in my classroom over the years,” Knoblaugh says. “He’s a realistic tween character operating in a harsh urban environment, struggling with the astounding level of poverty facing blue-collar families in San Jose. The addition of cryptids and demons to the story adds to the psychological stress of loss and poverty.”

Knoblaugh usually spends summers tutoring students for her Dancing with Words Tutoring business, but this summer she plans to write the second book in her anthology series. “It’s not a Harry Potter series,” she said. “More like Goosebumps, an anthology series where each book stands on its own with common themes and motifs.”

Released in April on Friday the 13th—for luck, she said—Tribute is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon. Readers can find the author online at these locations:

# # #

Thursday, June 14, 2018

RailBlazer is the new coaster at Great America for 2018

Today Great America's new Railblazer roller coaster is officially open to the public. The unique ride will be the first of its kind on the West Coast. There is a single track and riders sit single-file straddling the rail. This enables tighter turns than most coaster. The ride is 106 feet tall and reaches 52 MPH.

I was able to experience it firsthand a couple hours ago. To make sure I fully understood the experience, I went on the ride three times--once in the very front row which was well worth the extra wait time! Even though the ATV-themed ride is only about 30 seconds long, it is one of the most intense roller-coasters I have ever been on. The initial drop is completely vertical and is quickly followed by three very tight inversions. The whole ride is silky smooth unlike some of the older coasters that toss you around (e.g. Demon and Patriot, formerly Vortex). Flight Deck is still my favorite ride at Great America, but Railblazer is a close second.

In addition to the new coaster, California's Great Amercia has also expanded food options. The park now has a full-service Starbucks, an expanded menu and outdoor dining at Maggie's Smokehouse & Fried Chicken, and a new family-friendly restaurant called Sierra Creek Lodge. Even the restrooms have been fully renovated and are the nicest I have seen in a theme park. I'm thrilled to see that Cedar Fair is living up to their promise to invest and improve the park. If you haven't been to Great America in a while, now is a great time to see what's new.

For more info on RailBlazer and Great America, click here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Park View Towers design refresh

One of the oldest San Jose high-rise projects in the develop queue is getting a slight makeover and redesign. Park View Towers consists of three buildings that wrap around a historic church adjacent to St. James Park. Originally the church was going to be moved, which could have severely damaged the once dilapidated building. The latest plans keep the old church building where it is and feature more traditional looking buildings that better blend in with the area. The original design featured mostly glass like Axis. The lowrise building with townhomes has also gained a floor with the design revision.

The area around St. James Park could certainly use more residents to help revitalize the area. Hopefully the changes will help the project move along faster.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Content 10.3 (Perform) Pick-up Party

San Jose's top cultural publication is hosting a release party on June 21st to celebrate issue 10.3 (Perform). As usual, subscribers get a free drink ticket if they pick up their issue at the party. In addition to networking with some of the folks featured in the magazine, there will be several musical performances and local artwork on display. Please see below for more information.

Content Magazine Pick-Up Party 10.3

Thursday, June 21st
6pm–7:30pm SVLaureate Awards Presentation
7:30pm–10pm Content Magazine Pick-Up Party
Mexican Heritage Plaza
1700 Alum Rock Ave, San Jose
We are excited for this issue's Pick-Up Party to be part of SVCreates' SVArts event held annually to present the SVLaureate awards that honor exceptional achievements in the arts and contributions to the cultural life of Silicon Valley.

A formal SVLaureate awards program, emceed by KQED's Michael Isip, will be followed by the Content Magazine Pick-Up Party, which celebrates the release of Issue 10.3 "Perform" and honors the SVLaureate recipients along with other featured creatives.

Issue 10.3 featured artists displaying their work at this event will include Pancho Jimenez, Joel Slayton, and Jeremiah Kille, and there will be musical performances by Ziggy, San Jose Jazz High School All Stars, and Ashlee Vivo. The entire evening is an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the cultural vibrancy of Silicon Valley.

Free entry for all Content subscribers, 10.3 features, and 10.3 contributors, and former SVLaureate recipients includes 1 guest, plus 1 complimentary drink ticket. Use the code Content2018 to reserve your tickets.

Thank you event partners: School of Arts & CultureWylder SpaceClandestine BrewingMutari Chocolateand San Jose Jazz.

Monday, June 11, 2018

New 20-story office tower proposed Downtown

Development proposals are continuing to roll in! The latest one comes from developer JP DiNapolis Cos. who spent $11.5 million for two vacant office buildings at 200 Park Avenue last week. Their plan is to build a 20-story office tower with a grand total of 740,000 SQFT of office space. The project would also include 1,200 parking spaces that would be shared with the Hyatt Place next door.

The general area could be completely transformed within a few years. This tower would rise on the same block where Insight Realty is planning Museum Place, an epic mixed-use development with residential, hotel, office space, retail, and an expansion of the Tech Museum. Across the street a 24-story residential tower is also proposed at City View Plaza and a block away Adobe is planning a fourth office tower that would double its employee count.

If everything goes according to plan, the new office tower will be under construction by the end of 2019.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

More info on the new San Jose Light Tower

The campaign to build a new iconic Light Tower in San Jose is still going strong. This would be a re-imagining of the innovative 237 foot-tall Light Tower that was built Downtown in 1881 and some believe inspired the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The team behind the tower is now raising $1.25 million to fund site selection and host a design competition later this year.

The location was original targeted for Plaza de Cesar Chavez, but there are now several other possible locations including:

  • St. James Park
  • Guadalupe River Park - Discovery Meadow
  • Guadalupe River Park - Arena Green
  • Diridon Station

Plaza de Cesar Chavez actually offers the least amount of space for the tower, which could include all sorts of tourist amenities ranging from cafes and gift shops to an observation deck. If everything goes according to plan, it could open as soon as 2022.

The best part is that the tower will not burden San Jose tax payers--it would be the single largest gift the city of San Jose has ever received.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, June 4, 2018

Downtown San Jose BART Station renders

Now that the construction methodology has been finalized for the BART subway in San Jose (single bore), let's have a quick look at the stunning station that is being planned for Downtown San Jose. To call the current design "open" would be a serious understatement. From the lowest point you can look up to the ceiling 145 feet or so above. The layout is modern and welcoming with high tech flourishes throughout. Check out the renders below of what will become one of the most iconic stations in the BART network.

Source: Robertee from the San Jose Development Forum