Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cinema Club Silicon Valley

One of San Jose's best kept secrets is Cinema Club Silicon Valley. Once per month, they screen a movie that you can't see anywhere else and follow it with a filmmaker Q&A. Each screening is a surprise and the club has been going strong for 22 years. The last movie they screened was PROSPECT, which just opened for a wide release this past weekend.

On November 18th, they will have their final screening for 2018 and they are opening it up for everyone. Tickets are $16 and it will screen at 3Below in Downtown San Jose.

To RSVP, click here and follow the ticket link.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice returns for 15th season under the Circle of Palms

Downtown Ice returns this weekend bigger and better than before. To celebrate 15 years, the rink is going to get a fresh look with new boards, rail caps, and mats. This season it will stay open all the way until January 27th for the NHL All-Star weekend, which is hosted at the SAP Center starting January 25th.

Local Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi is also hosting a grand opening celebration on November 20th at 6pm. All of the details, hours, and costs are below. 

SAN JOSE – Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice will be front and center during holiday, college football and hockey activities this extended skating season, which lasts from Nov. 16 through Jan. 27. The ice rink will be home to Downtown San Jose for the Holidays with partners Christmas in the Park and Winter Wonderland.  Combined, the three attractions attract more than 800,000 visitors.

To accommodate the College Football Playoff the first week of January, Christmas in the Park will close at midnight on Christmas; Winter Wonderland on Dec. 31 – while Plaza de Cesar Chavez transitions into the Championship Campus’ “Quad” area Dec. 26-Jan. 3.

The College Football Playoff Host Committee plans to utilize Downtown Ice and call it “Championship Ice” Jan. 4-7.  The rink will also have a different look for that week. The skating season stays open two weeks longer than normal – through Jan. 27 – for the NHL All-Star weekend starting Jan. 25, as the Sharks host the league’s best players at SAP Center.

With all the special events surrounding the rink, Downtown Ice has a bounty of new and national partners.  Say hello to new sponsors College Football Playoff Host Committee, Alaska Airlines, National Hockey League, San Jose Sports Authority, Google, Adobe and Amazon.

Swenson, PG&E, The Sobrato Organization, Wells Fargo, The Office of Cultural Affairs, the City of San Jose, Republic Services and Valley Transportation Authority return as loyal partners for this fun holiday family tradition.  Longtime media partners include Clear Channel Outdoor, Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, NBC Bay Area, Telemundo 48, El Observador, Mix and K-Bay and KQED.

Proceeds from the Dec. 16 Santa Run Silicon Valley also help support Downtown Ice and Christmas in the Park.  Sign up at

Also, as usual, the trees of the Circle of Palms will be lit with thousands of color-changing LED lights to delight skaters.

This will be Downtown Ice’s 15th year in the Circle of Palms.  To celebrate the milestone anniversary, the rink will have a fresh look this year, with new dasherboards, rail caps and ice mats, plus some new plumbing under the platform to provide a more efficient freeze.

Yamaguchi, the 1992 Olympic gold medal winner in women’s figure skating, will celebrate the opening of San Jose’s ice season with sponsors on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m.  Yamaguchi adds her name to support the rink for the eighth time, and her Always Dream Foundation will again be a rink beneficiary. Rink hours vary over the course of the season.  Events and Promotions Manager Amy Anderson has special events planned during the season.  Details are at, which has also been improved for mobile users.

More than 60,000 skaters and 120,000 of their friends are expected to visit the ice this season.  The rink generates more than $4 million in economic impact to San Jose.

During November, early December and after the holidays in January, Downtown Ice is open 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-midnight on Friday; noon-midnight on Saturday; and noon-9 p.m. on Sunday.  During the winter break, the rink is open 11 a.m.-midnight daily.  Special hours apply to the holidays and may change around the big events.

The rink phone number is (408) 291-0525.  Parking information is at            

Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice details

When:  Open daily Nov. 16, 2017 – Jan. 27, 2018 

                                    Nov. 16-17                  

Friday  5 p.m. - midnight
Saturday  noon - midnight

Nov. 18-25   
Sunday   noon - 9 p.m.
Monday - Tuesday 5 - 9 p.m.
Wednesday  2 p.m. - midnight
Thanksgiving  2 p.m. - midnight
Friday - Saturday 11 a.m. - midnight

Nov. 26–30
Monday - Thursday 5 - 9 p.m.
Friday   p.m. - midnight

                                    Dec. 1-19
                                    Saturday noon - midnight
Sunday noon - 10 p.m.
Monday - Thursday - 10 p.m.
Friday   p.m. - midnight

                                    Dec. 20–Jan. 7            
                                    Daily  11 a.m. - midnight
Christmas  2 p.m. - midnight
New Year’s Eve  11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
New Year’s Day  noon - midnight

Jan. 8–20 
Tuesday – Thursday  5 - 9 p.m.
Friday  5 p.m. - midnight
Saturday noon – midnight
Sunday  11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Monday 5 - 9 p.m.

                                    Jan. 21–27                  
                                    Monday - MLK, Jr. Day 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Tuesday – Wednesday 5 - 9 p.m.
Thursday - Friday 5 p.m. - midnight
Saturday noon - midnight
Sunday . 11 a.m.-9 p.m.


Children 10 & younger, Seniors and Military: $15
11 years & older: $17
Bring your own skates: $10
Cash, Paypal, Visa and Mastercard accepted. Admission includes ice time and rental skates (skate sizes range from toddler 8 to men's 15). 
Skate all you want (no in-and-out privileges)/ First-come, first-serve.
Address (starting November 16):  120 S. Market St., San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 279-1775 (SJDA); (408) 610-4055 (rink starting Nov. 16)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

November 2018 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The NOVEMBER 2018 Downtown Dimension is now available at:
  • $1 billion in downtown investment this past year shows no signs of slowing down as development proposals continue to pour in.  Here's a recap of just the past month. 
  • Downtown Ice gets set to open Nov. 16. Another extended season includes the College Football Playoff and the NHL All-Star Game. Plus, for its 15th season at the Circle of Palms, you'll see new dashboards, features and sponsors.
  • SJDA releases its annual financial summary - FY2017-18 was a record year for the Association.
  • YOU are invited to SJDA's End-of-Year Meeting, Dec. 14, 8-9:30 a.m. at Hammer Theatre Center. Please reserve a seat at

Always available:

  • Live and Local SJ supports live music in the center city.
  • Traffic alerts keep up with lane and road closures and openings.
  • Maps of downtown commercial property availability and development proposals.
  • Boom City: SJDA's summary of new downtown building proposals and west side acquisitions.
Downtown Dimension is a leading source for information about downtown San Jose news, events and businesses.  Subscribe with a simple email to, subject line: Subscribe. 

For information about downtown events, also subscribe to Downtowner Online.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Santana Row Annual Tree Lighting

The holiday season is officially upon us and Santana Row is being lit up tomorrow. Their tree along with tens of thousands of other lights will illuminate the row. The event starts with a scavenger hunt at 3pm ($250 prize) followed by musical performances. The tree lighting ceremony starts at 7pm with the lighting itself happening at 7:30pm tomorrow.

For more info, head over here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veteran's Day 2018

Today is not only Veteran's Day, but is the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I. There will be an event and parade honoring our veterans starting at 11am at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The parade will begin at noon from the SAP Center and run from Santa Clara to Market street. For more info, here is the Facebook page for the event.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Downtown San Jose construction time-lapse (2012 - 2018)

David Cheung has created a cool time-lapse video of Downtown San Jose construction west of Santa Clara Street. The video spans from September 2012 all to August 2018 and features construction of One South Market, Centerra, Silvery Towers, and Modera. It is only 30 seconds long and you can check it out below.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Veggielution setting up outpost in Downtown San Jose

In 2008, Veggielution setup an impressive 6-acre urban farm at Emma Prusch Farm Park. The project payed homage to San Jose's agricultural roots and taught the community about fresh organic produce and farming (not to mention the results are super delicious).

Veggielution also has a behind-the-scenes operation that includes outreach, volunteer work, sponsorships, and paperwork. To support this side of the organization, they have decided to put down some roots at NextSpace Second Street in Downtown San Jose. This was made possible by the All Good Work Foundation, which places nonprofits into local coworking communities.

To learn more about Veggielution and the All Good Work Foundation, head over here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Ford GoBike is Expanding in San Jose!

San Jose's GoBike network is about to get a whole lot larger. At least 20 new stations are being proposed for 2019, and you can have a say in where those stations go! The plan is to extend coverage to the greater Downtown area, North San Jose, and Berryessa. The details are below for the next Ford GoBike community workshop, which is on Thursday from 6-8pm at Joyce Ellington Library (491 E. Empire Street). This is your chance to participate in the expansion of our bikeshare network.

San Jose, CA - Ford GoBike is working with the San Jose Department of Transportation (SJ DOT), District 3 Councilmember Raul Peralez and community groups to expand the bike share network in San Jose. Expanding the Ford GoBike network in San Jose is vital for providing riders access to new neighborhoods and increase network reliability. Please join Ford GoBike and SJ DOT to learn more about the bike share expansion plans for next year!

We are holding a community workshop to collect public feedback on proposed station locations to ensure we are designing a network best suited for San Jose residents and businesses. We will have a classic and pedal-assist e-bike on display and will provide free giveaways and light refreshments at the event. RSVP here!

Meeting Details
Date: Thursday, November 8, 6-8pm
Location: Joyce Ellington Library, 491 E. Empire Street (between 10th and 11th), San Jose

How To Get There
  • Closest Ford GoBike Station is Empire St at 7th St then walk 6 minutes to the library
  • 65 VTA bus stop in front of the library
  • There is a parking lot behind the library (accessible on 10th St and 11th St) and street parking is available

Neighborhoods We Will Be Covering
  • Northside (6 proposed sites)
  • Greater Downtown (5 proposed sites)
  • Metro/Technology/1st/Gish (7 proposed sites)
  • Berryessa BART (2 proposed sites)

To view proposed bikeshare locations in San Jose, please see the Ford GoBike Expansion Map. Please contact us at if you have any questions or feedback on any of the proposed station locations. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

South FIRST FRIDAYS San Jose art walk

Tomorrow from 7pm-11pm, almost two dozen art galleries will be open late for your enjoyment. Most are clustered in Downtown San Jose's SoFA neighborhood. Admission is free and all ages are welcome. To get a preview of what will be on display, just head over here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween 2018!

Hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween tonight. If you have a favorite neighborhood for trick-or-treating please post it in the comments!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Santana Row is getting Barry's Bootcamp, Meso Modern Mediterranean, and Blue Bottle Coffee

We finally know what will go into the ground floor of Santana Row's capstone building at the very end of the street. Barry's Bootcamp is opening a 4,454 SQFT gym next summer at 700 Santana Row. They are known for intense combinations of cardio and weight training. Next door will be Meso Modern Mediterranean. This is a new concept by the owners of Left Bank and LB Steak. It's a French take on Mediterranean food and the restaurant is being built from the ground up specifically for this location. Last but not least, the ever so popular Blue Bottle Coffee will fuel the thousands of tech workers at the row by Fall 2019.

It's a solid lineup that has something for everyone. For more details, check out the press release below.

First merchants to move into new office building and modern coffee shop fuels energy in the heart of Santana Row

SAN JOSE, Calif.—October 23, 2018—Federal Realty Investment Trust today announced the signing of Barry’s Bootcamp and Meso Modern Mediterranean in 700 Santana Row, a 319,000-square-foot, Class-A mixed-use office and retail building under construction at the intersection of Santana Row and Olsen Drive, followed closely by Blue Bottle Coffee moving into Santana Row’s, Oak Tree Lounge. Barry’s Bootcamp and Meso Modern Mediterranean will complete two of the ground floor spaces in 700 Santana Row, offering a world-renowned fitness concept and a vibrant eatery, while Blue Bottle Coffee will bring its energy to the heart of Santana Row.

"Santana Row is home to the newest and hottest shops, eateries and fitness offerings in the area. We’re thrilled to add Blue Bottle Coffee, Barry’s Bootcamp and Meso Modern Mediterranean to Santana Row’s unparalleled mix of world-class and innovative merchant concepts,” said Collette Navarrette, West Coast director of marketing at Federal Realty Investment Trust.

      World-renowned fitness concept, Barry's Bootcampcredited as the “best workout in the world” will open its 4,454 SF Santana Row studio in summer of 2019.   Barry’s is the original cardio & strength interval workout. Immersive & high energy, it’s the fastest & most fun way to transform your body and mind! Twenty years ago, the brand innovated group fitness by creating an efficient, and immersive workout experience. Since then, over 60,000 members of the Barry’s community visit the studio each week and use the brand’s signature method to burn fat, tone muscle and push themselves to reach their physical and mental potential.

      Meso Modern Mediterranean is the newest concept by the management team behind Left Bank Brasserie and LB Steak; two established and thriving Santana Row restaurants. Meso will be a one-of-a-kind immersive restaurant concept specially crafted for this location. The Meso experience will deliver genuine hospitality, a stunning environment, and a deliciously curated selection of Mediterranean fare, all in service of creating a modern oasis at the center of urban life on Santana Row.  “We are so thrilled to bring Meso to the diverse community on Santana Row. Meso, is an inspired and relaxed gathering place that offers a French take on Mediterranean cuisine. Inspired by our travels throughout the region, we are bringing to life the rich flavors and delicious lifestyle of the Mediterranean as a whole. We created Meso as a modern oasis, where it’s both a place of adventure and belonging, offering global perspectives with local ingredients – it is both the journey and the destination,” said Obadiah Ostergard, Chief Executive Officer.

Drawing from the rich culinary traditions of the region, Meso offers a fresh & contemporary perspective of alluring Mediterranean dishes. Meso’s distinctive signature dishes will have an emphasis on fish, rotisserie meats, grains, and an abundance of vegetables scented with saffron, za’atar, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, and nutmeg. Dishes include grilled octopus, paella, grilled lamb chops, “moussakah” eggplant, Greek salad, and seared day boat scallops.  Inspired by the nourishing & flavorful menu, Meso is a modern space that layers different craft traditions of the Mediterranean region for a highly textural, evolving, and refreshing experience. The space balances bold architectural elements with clean & modern interpretations of historical forms to create an atmosphere that cultivates a sense of discovery and wanderlust. This warm and vibrant eatery is scheduled to open in fall 2019.

      Blue Bottle Coffee, which started in the Bay Area in 2002, and has locations in California, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Boston and Japan, has chosen Santana Row as their next home. The cafe will be easy to find, located in the heart of Santana Row, and nestled under a beautiful oak tree. Blue Bottle plans to open in the spring of 2019 and will offer an indoor/outdoor cafe where guests can enjoy drip coffee and espresso, as well as a selection of food, including pastries, Liège waffles, toasts and more. 

For more information about Santana Row, visit

About Santana RowOffering 1.7 million square feet of retail, office, hotel and residential, Santana Row is located in San Jose, California; the hub for high-tech innovation and development. Featuring 615 luxury rental homes, 219 privately owned condos, 376,000 square feet of office space, over 50 shops, 30 restaurants, a boutique hotel and a movie theatre.  Santana Row is a property of (NYSE:FRT), headquartered in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, please visit

About Federal Realty
Federal Realty is a recognized leader in the ownership, operation and redevelopment of high-quality retail based properties located primarily in major coastal markets from Washington, D.C. to Boston as well as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Founded in 1962, Federal Realty’s mission is to deliver long term, sustainable growth through investing in densely populated, affluent communities where retail demand exceeds supply. Its expertise includes creating urban, mixed-use neighborhoods like Santana Row in San Jose, California, Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, Maryland and Assembly Row in Somerville, Massachusetts. These unique and vibrant environments that combine shopping, dining, living and working provide a destination experience valued by their respective communities. Federal Realty's 104 properties include approximately 3,000 tenants, in approximately 24 million square feet, and over 2,500 residential units. 

Federal Realty has increased its quarterly dividends to its shareholders for 50 consecutive years, the longest record in the REIT industry. Federal Realty is an S&P 500 index member and its shares are traded on the NYSE under the symbol FRT. For additional information about Federal Realty and its properties,

Monday, October 29, 2018

750 unit "co-living" project proposed Downtown

You may have heard of co-working, which is multiple companies and entrepreneurs sharing a collective space... but how about co-living? It is exactly what you think it is, dorm rooms for adults.

With rents hitting astronomical levels, we need to start providing some creative options so that more people can afford to live in San Jose. Co-living can triple the number of people that can live in an acre, while proving far more affordable rents.

Starcity wants to build a 750-unit building near Diridon at 199 Bassett Street. The 0.77 acre site would feature a building as tall as 18-stories with private rooms and shared spaces such as living rooms and kitchens. Residents do typically have their own micro-kitchen and restroom.

It's an innovative approach that could help us ramp up supply quickly and drive housing prices and rents down, or at least maintain them where they are today.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, October 25, 2018

SJC International expansion taps the brakes

We have become accustomed to a steady stream of positive news regarding San Jose International Airport. Over the past couple years, ridership and new routes have ballooned. In fact, we have overtaken Oakland as the Bay Area's #2 airport.

However, there has been a recent contraction in International routes. Perhaps we grew too quickly and have to adjust the pace.

Aeromexico is stopping service to Guadalajara (it is also pulling out of four other airports). Earlier in the summer, Air China also stopped the twice weekly flight to Shanghai and Lufthansa cancelled their flight to Frankfurt Germany. Guadalajara is still serviced by both Volaris and Alaska Airlines (it's also a really cool city with amazing food and culture worthy of a visit). Here is the updated list of international routes out of SJC:

  • Asia
    • Tokyo (ANA)
    • Beijing (Hainan)
    • Shanghai (Air China)
  • Europe
    • London (British Airways)
    • Frankfurt (Luftansa)
  • North America
    • Vancouver (Air Canada)
    • Guadalajara (Volaris, Alaska Airlines, Aeromexico)
    • Cabo San Lucas (Alaska Airlines)
    • Mexico City (Volaris)
    • Morelia (Volaris)
    • Zacatecas (Volaris)
    • Leon (Volaris)

While unfortunate, perhaps this gives us the opportunity to consider more popular routes between tech centers. Seoul, Bangalore, Tel Aviv, and Dubai would bring a ton of value to San Jose and Silicon Valley.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"State of the Downtown" speech by Scott Knies

Below is a speech by the President of the San Jose Downtown Association, delivered at the October 12th Annual Meeting. It provides a great perspective on where we are today and the key opportunities and risks going forward for Downtown San Jose

“State of the Downtown” speech by Scott Knies
October 12, 2018 
San Jose Downtown Association Annual Meeting

The Momentum Moment: Downtown San Jose’s West Side Story 

In the past 12 months, more than a billion dollars’ worth of downtown property has changed hands. Led by Google, Jay Paul and Gary Dillabough, this massive investment by the private sector is more than half of what the San Jose Redevelopment Agency spent downtown during three decades. It is the surest sign yet of a different direction for San Jose’s center city. 

Yet that new direction depends on who you ask. 

Is this finally San Jose’s moment for its downtown to realize its potential as a vital and beautiful urban community? Is this our time to firmly root San Jose’s unique advantages of diversity, innovation and climate into downtown physical, cultural and social spaces? 

Or, if you adhere to the narrative generated by savvy organizers holding prayer vigils, City Hall marches and protests outside Google’s Mountain View headquarters, the proposed development on downtown’s westside represents every real and existential ill of Silicon Valley: gentrification, high rent, lack of housing, income inequality, bad traffic, not enough union labor. 

While the media may give more attention to protesters, the hearts and minds of most San Joseans support Google’s arrival downtown as we figure how best to embrace the opportunities and rise to the challenges this intense growth will bring. We have to do it right! This new blueprint for urban infrastructure must be planned better, be more interesting inside and out, and be more inclusive than anything San Jose has done before. We have an extraordinary chance to create a city within the city – a model of the future; one that inspires civic pride by putting people ahead of buildings and cars; in providing a positive environment for jobs, homes, recreation, health and joy; and how it prototypes solutions to societal issues like affordability, climate change and the unhoused. 

Is that too large a vision to put on the back of downtown – especially the 250 acres on the westside? We think not. This is San Jose’s moment. 

The vision became exponentially larger 16 months ago when Google’s plans for downtown went public: they were buying up parcels paralleling the Caltrain tracks with the potential to design and build an urban tech district the likes the world has yet to imagine. The antithesis of the Apple Spaceship in Cupertino, Google sees a daisy chain of next generation green buildings integrated into a city street grid enhanced by digital technology and connected by lots of public spaces – sidewalks, plazas, paseos, creek trails, cricket fields, dog parks, playgrounds and bike lanes – and the Dancing Pig sign.

With the Diridon depot train station roughly the midpoint of its acquisitions, Google is assembling land that could accommodate 8-10 million feet and support 20,000 jobs. Buildings could stretch from Auzerais Street on the south to Julian Street on the north, connected by the aforementioned public spaces such as bike paths, a liberated Los Gatos Creek and new streets. Ultimately occupying about 50 acres on the westside, Google has already goosed the promise of downtown higher than any other big plans in the recent past, like the Palladium pipe-dream during the dot-com era, or the Oakland A’s stadium from the prior decade. 

I spoke about Google’s downtown plans last Friday at the Capital Club and when I finished one of the first questions was “where is the westside of downtown?” The westside is a very large area roughly between the Caltrain tracks on the west, Highway 87 on the east, the Union Pacific tracks on the north and Interstate 280 on the south. It includes the Delmas Park neighborhood, Little Italy, Guadalupe River Park and most notably the train station and SAP Center, home of the San Jose Sharks. The city developed a land use plan for 250 acres on the westside years ago that didn’t anticipate the intensity of Google’s urban campus. Even though the current specific plan doesn’t come close to the densities now being considered and has to be redone, along with environmental work, the overall vision for the westside is solid: San Jose needs jobs; put the jobs where the transit modes all come together in an area large enough to incorporate offices, all types of housing, entertainment, open space and link it impeccably with the downtown core.

This last point is crucial to the Downtown Association as well as Google and city leaders. The connections today between the westside and core leave much to be desired. Highway 87 is a formidable barrier and the handful of east/west streets that pass under the freeway all have different problems for bikes, scooters and pedestrians, more so after dark. Think about mobility a decade from now with tens of thousands more residents and employees downtown. Google alone is expecting to generate 8,000 bike riders a day. Downtown streets will have to change. What role will embedded pavement technology play? Is Park Avenue our best east-west link? Or should we develop an entirely new connection reserved for bikes and pedestrians-only – say, an extension of Post Street?

The private sector is not the only one investing billions in downtown’s future and contributing to the current momentum. The BART subway extension and Caltrain electrification are essential public infrastructure projects finally breaking ground while high speed rail and Diridon depot planning are underway.

First, a big shout out to the Valley Transportation Agency Board of Directors and VTA General Manager Nuria Fernandez for their leadership in helping secure the single bore option for construction of BART. You may recall, this was headed to a heavyweight fight between VTA and BART – BART wanted twin bore construction that would dig up five blocks of Santa Clara Street for years. Then on deadline, in April, BART agreed to the single bore! San Jose usually punches way below its weight in Bay Area power tussles. I cannot recall a bigger regional win for our community. 

The impact of the single bore decision was immediate. Instead of facing paralysis on Santa Clara Street for seven years while blocks were torn up, several key properties transacted – including three corners of First and Santa Clara Streets. Investors saw buildings, tenants and businesses could now survive the BART construction while planning ahead for when the trains arrive downtown, which VTA says could be as soon as 2027.

There will be two downtown BART stations: one beneath Santa Clara Street between Market and Third Streets; and the other on the westside connected to the current Diridon depot. That is the mega-station where all the transportation modes intersect. I hope as we design the station as befitting its future stature we will rename it San Jose Central Station – still keeping the Diridon name attached to the historic, brick depot. 

One of the most significant, and under the radar, achievements of the past year was the four-party agreement on the planning for San Jose Central Station. High Speed Rail, VTA/BART and Caltrain were in separate silos designing their own rail systems – and this disconnect was most apparent where all their systems converged downtown. Now working together, with the City of San Jose, the four entities signed an agreement, each one contributing funds, towards joint planning of San Jose Central Station. 

I believe this transit planning agreement is most important for how High Speed Rail might ultimately work in our city. BART was always underground in a subway and Caltrain was always at-grade on their existing rails, but High Speed Rail preferred an alignment in an aerial viaduct with tracks 75 feet above the ground! It would be another Highway 87 barrier on the westside and the Downtown Association has consistently opposed the aerial monstrosity. Now there is another alignment on the table, as part of a City-generated option and representative of the new four-party collaborative spirit between the transit agencies. It is still early in the process to see how this slightly elevated above ground alignment works for the San Jose Central Station, high speed rail operations and the overall community, but anything other than the aerial overpass will be an improvement. 

I would be remiss not to mention how parking fits into the transportation equation. The Downtown Association supports the Sharks lawsuit against VTA for not planning a single parking space for the two downtown BART stations. We understand this is a transitional time. We are in-between a future where autonomous vehicles and flying cars will forever change cities, and the present day – where automobiles are still the San Jose way. Rather than completely stop building parking spaces, let’s balance the realities of today with the dreams of tomorrow. We already see this happening with automated parking stacks, garage floors designed so they can be converted later to other uses and hotel proposals with only offsite parking. We must not put downtown at a competitive disadvantage because we subjugated the automobile too far ahead of market. 

Another significant planning action in the works is the downtown airspace study addressing the current city practice of requiring building heights below what the Federal Aviation Administration allows. The study’s technical analysis was presented to a City Council committee last month with several options, including going up to the FAA heights. Since there are already many tall buildings in the downtown core, this could result in up to 35 additional feet depending on where the site is located. On the westside, however, the tallest building is the arena at 110 feet. The FAA allows 225 feet at the arena, so the potential doubling of height on the westside is THE most substantial opportunity as the City Council considers the big picture for downtown, the airport and San Jose itself.

Even though we’ve been debating height limits since 2007, I realize this will be painted by some as a Google move when in fact it benefits the entire downtown and goals for density, jobs and housing near transit. If the heights are not raised, Google and other developments on the westside will have shorter, wider buildings that take up larger footprints of land thereby leaving less room for parks, plazas and the people-centric spaces that make urban centers more memorable and livable.

The potential of doubling building heights on the westside is a once-in-a-generation decision and the decision-makers should treat it as such. We already have heard from Google they are willing to fund reasonable community benefits for their project but how will the rest of downtown be treated? How will the city regulate this potential height gain and the increased values it represents for both land owners and the community? Will it be treated as another fee – like housing projects pay now for parks; or an as infrastructure assessment district to help fund, say, new streets linking the westside and core? And what does the community receive for the additional height? One percent for art funds? Public space projects, lighting and landscape? Architectural enhancements such as something other than flat rooftops? We look forward to the discussions ahead as the growth of downtown and complete terra forming of the westside has opened up a new suite of policy topics and future planning.

The immediate consideration in front of us is the public sale of the former redevelopment lands to Google. The city formed a Station Area Advisory Committee, with the unfortunate acronym of SAAG, to vet community interests, wishes and demands. As the SAAG process winds down, the decision on the sale heads to the City Council in December. These 23 acres of city-owned and former ballpark lands are a critical milestone in our own downtown San Jose West Side Story. As I mentioned earlier, there are different views on the deal. Some are convinced Google will take more than it gives to San Jose. Others see a strong, global-minded partner reinforcing a civic vision for density, jobs, less traffic and smart growth. In looking at the westside’s 250 acres, there’s plenty of room for affordable housing, and the opportunity to develop new types of living spaces in a mixed-use, walkable downtown that welcomes it. Don’t underestimate your voice in this matter. Please consider attending the City Council meetings and speak. I am often asked what can be done to help. Here is your chance to help.

We’ll update you with the when and where of the hearings. Please connect with our social media platforms, talk to me, any Downtown Association staff or one of the 15 volunteers who are going to follow me up to the podium this morning. Each will give you a little summary of what they have been up to the past year in their community involvement with downtown and this organization. We’ve got three other boards, a bunch of committees, there’s numerous city commissions and task forces – so many ways to get plugged in with your neighbors, peers, public servants, and fellow downtowners. Join in the journey as we create, together, a magnificent public life in downtown San Jose.

Thanks for your attention and enjoy the rest of the meeting. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Content 10.5: Dine

Content Magazine is launching their latest issues on Wednesday, October 24th at 7-9:30pm. The venue is Camino Brewing Company near Downtown (718 S. 1st Street). Subscribers get free admission and a free drink. For more info, read the event description below or head over here to RSVP.

Join us at Camino Brewing in downtown San Jose as we celebrate the release of Issue 10.5 “Dine.” 

Prost to our 40th issue in print with some of the best people in the South Bay. Hear original music by 10.5 featured musician David Brookings and Marissa Muraoka. Listen to Needle to the Groove San Jose spin vinyl, and see art by Claudia Blanco, Nicolas EcheverriYourhomeboy Harv and Shannon Knepper. There will also be interactive installations, as well as food and beverages for sale.

$10 cover at the door for all non-subscribers (includes a copy of issue 10.5 Dine). 

Content subscribers, 10.5 features, and 10.5 contributors will receive free entry for them and a guest, plus one complimentary drink ticket to kick off the night ($27 value). If you are not a subscriber but would like to receive subscriber benefits at this Pick-Up Party and 5 more throughout the year, subscribe at -

We hope you are able to join us!

Thank you event partners: Camino Brewing CompanyGarden City Construction, Silicon Valley Asian Art Center, Mach 7 SoundMassive Act Inc, and Needle to the Groove San Jose.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sobrato wows with proposal for "Bock 8" Downtown

The Sobrato Organization has been sitting on a prime 1.5 acre parking lot at the corner of Market and San Carlos for eight years. This was once earmarked for a three-tower condo project that failed to get off the ground. Sobrato's proposal is single 600,160 SQFT tower designed to look like four individual buildings.

The modern glass tower would be 17 stories high with most being dedicated to office space. Thankfully, there will be 19,600 SQFT of retail on the ground floor. Parking will be on floors two through six, which also adds more Downtown parking supply for evenings and weekends.

Floor plates will reach an impressive 50,000 SQFT, perfect for tech companies. Even more interesting are two rooftop gardens. One will be on the 14th floor and span 10,400 SQFT while the other will be on the 15th floor and clock in a 12,700 SQFT. Finally, San Jose is making better use of high-rise rooftops with proposals like this--two highrise hotels in the pipeline also feature penthouses with amenities like pools, restaurants, and green space.

Currently this will be a spec project without a specific tenant in mind. There is no specific timeline for construction--let's keep our fingers crossed that this will move forward soon.

Source: SVBJ

PWSJ 2018 Honors San Jose’s Historical “Speed City” with 10+ New Murals, Public Art Installations, Music Exhibitions, and More

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Oct. 9, 2018 – POW! WOW! San Jose 2018 ushers in its second annual week-long arts and culture festival spotlighting street art and music in Downtown San Jose on October 17-28, 2018.

This year’s festival is inspired by San Jose’s long history of activism and local cultural pride. Fifty years ago, San Jose State University track stars John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists at the 1968 Summer Olympics to show solidarity with those fighting for human rights. This year’s festival will honor this source of local pride, and artists will showcase their talent and passion for their art and culture throughout the week.

“While the Silicon Valley is traditionally known for its innovation in technology, the City of San José is an equally rich community of culture, art and music,” said Council member Raul Peralez, San José Council District 3. “Working with POW! WOW! San José, we are thrilled to turn San José into a city-wide artists’ canvas, showcasing art in action and transforming our City alongside the community.”


POW! WOW! San Jose 2018 is honored to welcome the following artists who will share their talents throughout Downtown San Jose and surrounding San Jose neighborhoods.


San Jose: Sean Boyles, Drew Flores, Abel Gonzalez, Ivan Gonzalez, J.Duh, Frances Marin, Harumo Sato, Nikkea Takagi, Roan Victor
San Francisco/Peninsula: Apexer, Knits for Life, t.w.five
Oakland/East Bay: Felicia Gabaldon, Illuminaries, Skinner, UrbanAztec


Hawaii: Cory Taum
Los Angeles: Shrine, Woes
New York: How and Nosm
San Diego: Spenser Little


Canada: 123KLAN
Iran: ICY and SOT
Japan: Dragon76
South Korea: Sixcoin


Pride in San Jose’s rich culture is not unique to the organizers of POW! WOW! San Jose. Many businesses throughout the Silicon Valley are supporting the festival through donations of supplies, lodging and funding. With the help of organizations such as Visit San Jose, a Community Partner, and The Silicon Valley Organization that represents over 1,400 businesses in the Bay Area, art in action will come to life during the festival.

“POW! WOW! San Jose continues to bring both businesses and community together to create a world-class event that showcases the heart of Silicon Valley,” said Matthew Mahood, President & CEO, The Silicon Valley Organization. “A city’s art and culture serves as its identity and offers its residents a way to connect. The SVO and our members applaud the work POW! WOW! San Jose is doing to showcase our city’s greatest strength: our diversity.”

2018 festival sponsors include: Cresco, Eastridge Center, Google, Hawaiian Airlines, Hyatt Place, Iguanas Burritozilla, Kelly-Moore Paints, Knight Foundation, City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), The Silicon Valley Organization, Visit San Jose, and more.

“As a local business headquartered in the Bay Area, we take pride in the beauty our paints can bring to the world in the hands of artists – whether those artists are homeowners, teachers, or muralists like those sharing their talents through POW! WOW! San Jose,” said Jasmine Hatch, regional learning and development specialist - South Bay, Peninsula and Central Coast, Kelly Moore Paint Co. “With our contribution of paint for the murals, we are thrilled that Kelly Moore will have a direct tie to the remarkable works of art that will live on in our City.”