Tuesday, January 19, 2021

San Jose Fairmont Hotel Remodel Complete

The Fairmont, San Jose's first modern luxury hotel, just completed a $10 million+ renovation. The lobby has been completely redone with a contemporary yet classy look. 

Once COVID is finally over, they will be able to open the new bar and lounge space that greets visitors as they walk into the hotel. Hopefully they will still feature live music and dance lessons. 

I also love the new check-in area. The whole design feels new while somehow giving off a historic vibe--like the hotel has always looked this way. It's worth checking out if you're in the area. Oh, and the room rates are now going for as low as $139/night (base rooms are very large at 450 SQFT).

Source: Silicon Valley Joe from the San Jose Development Forum

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

January 2021 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The latest addition of Downtown Dimension is now live. Below is a summary of the content this month.

Happy New Year - Welcome to 2021!

The JANUARY 2021 Downtown Dimension is now available for download.

On the Front Page:  
  • SJDA Board of Directors President Katia McClain offers some personal insights about the past year and year ahead.
  • A new alley that blends old and new into a fantastic urban space was recognized as the best downtown design of the year and rewarded with the annual Golden Nail Award from the Downtown Design Committee.
Also this month:
  • Restaurants are going to have a chance to make a little bit more revenue thanks to county and city leaders putting caps on meal delivery fees.
  • Six new businesses have opened recently, including a new sushi spot at San Pedro Square Market, Scott's Chowder House and a new small-plates restaurant in SoFA district by the owners of Adaga, the only Michelin-starred restaurant ever in San Jose.
  • Meet Eric Glader, SJDA's first Community Engagement Director.
  • VTA like the railings it put up on the Second Street Transit Mall and thinks they will help light-rail trains breeze through downtown a little faster.
Have a great, safe and healthful New Year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

High-rise residential village proposed for Five Wounds neighborhood

The first big new development proposal of 2021 is actually outside of Downtown San Jose. A seven-building project called Vila de Camila would rise just a couple blocks away from the proposed BART station behind Five Wounds Portuguese National Church.

With a mix of 942 residences and office space across 3 acres, this would be one of the most dense projects in San Jose. Most buildings would be 16-stories tall with one seven-story building. There is even a potential expansion with four more towers that would result in between 1,200 and 1,300 residential units.

This may be a longshot as several amendments to the general plan would be required--including raising building heights, density, and widening the urban village boundary. However, this is exactly the type of projected needed close to mass transit like BART that will help San Jose grow in a sustainable way.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

iChina Restaurant in Valley Fair

Covid hit just as San Jose was beginning a true culinary Renaissance. We even got our first Michelin Star restaurant in 2017. Over this entire decade it feels like expectations have changed and there is a general shift away from cookie-cutter chain restaurants to more unique offerings. Old strip malls from my childhood that were filled with fast food joints like Taco Bell and Little Caesars now have Vietnamese Cafes, Indian Pizzerias, and wine bars featuring tapas.

I was pleasantly shocked when I stumbled across these photos of iChina in Valley Fair. This easily could have been another Cheescake-factory, but instead they hired the same designer from Hong Kong that worked on the top floors at the Burj Dubai (world's tallest building). The aesthetic looks stunning, and hopefully the food will live up to design. I can't wait to visit when all this craziness is over.

Source: Silicon Valley Joe from the San Jose Development Forum

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

We hope that you and your family have the best holiday season possible this year!

Even though Christmas in the Park has temporarily moved for 2020, Downtown is still decked out for the holidays with tens of thousands of lights. New this year are holiday projections like the one below at St. Joseph's Cathedral.

If you feel like driving through neighborhoods to find the best decorated homes in San Jose, there is a handy website for that over here. Some of the homes have been features on TV shows and even have light shows synced to music. It's a fun thing to do with the family and completely covid-safe!

Happy Holidays! ๐ŸŽ„

Downtown San Jose for the Holidays. Still the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Shop Local Campaign

It's still not too late to do some Christmas Shopping! ๐ŸŽ

Mayor Sam Liccardo launched a #ShopLocalSJ campaign to encourage people to support San Jose businesses and help keep them afloat in these challenging times. It's a great way to contribute to our local community.

To see a list of Downtown San Jose businesses, head over here. I also have to plug SJMADE, which has a great selection of hyperlocal crafts and foods for purchase here.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Cyberpunk Downtown San Jose?

Drex Lee has created a slick augmented reality version of Downtown San Jose that looks straight out of Cyberpunk 2077. It's only 60 seconds long yet somehow showcases 17 different parts of the city with a neo-futuristic filter.

Check it out over here!

Monday, December 21, 2020

SJDA Year in Review Meeting 2020

This year's SJDA year in review presentation was especially interesting given the sheer insanity of 2020.

Scott Knies--as always--provides a phenomenal summary of everything significant that happened in Downtown San Jose this past year starting around the 6:30 mark in the video. I highly recommend watching his entire presentation. It feels like a decade of history crammed into a single year.

For the development nerds out there, Downtown has never had as many proposed developments as today. That is pretty evident around the 20 minute mark when Scott quickly does through the largest projects on the table today in San Jose. Other topics include COVID impacts, Groundworks, the impressive public arts projects such as Downtown Doors and stunning new murals, and transportation.

Around 35:40, the Golden Nail Award for outstanding design and architecture was presented to the builder and architect of Modera on San Pedro Square. If you haven't seen the new alley next to Modera, it's worth stopping by on your next visit to the San Pedro area. It's impressive and likely to become one of Downtown's hotspots in the future. Two new restaurants and an urgent care facility will also be coming to this building in 2021. The press release for the Golden Nail Award is below.

Enjoy the full presentation over here.

Alley on San Pedro Square earns Golden Nail Award for outstanding design and architecture

New public space creates a new destination within an already successful downtown San Jose destination


SAN JOSE –  The new Alley on San Pedro Square today was recognized for its outstanding design and placemaking.  The Downtown Design Committee of the San Jose Downtown Association honored the builder and architect of the mid-rise Modera on San Pedro Square project with the Golden Nail Element of Distinction Award.


The S-shaped alley creates a new and inviting connection between San Pedro Street and Almaden Avenue in the heart of San Pedro Square, one of the most popular destinations in downtown San Jose.  On one side of the alley is a new residential apartment building with new retail spaces and on the other are several businesses such as Five Points and The Brit set in historic buildings that now offer their customers reinvented and expanded patios facing the alley.


The committee was impressed by the alley’s walkability, connectivity and the way it promotes socialization, said Brian Corbett, chair of the Downtown Design Committee. 


"The new link adds to the already-successful San Pedro Square district,” Corbett said.  “The former hidden gem Tabard Theatre becomes the focal point on the alley.”


“By drawing in people and spurring interaction, this is exactly the kind of design we need in San Jose.  It is now a truly unique urban experience,” he said.


“We are pleased to bring additional housing to downtown," said Don Peterson of Mill Creek and Modera San Pedro Square.  “We had hoped that this signature element of our project would enliven and enrich an already focal point of San Jose."


Rob Steinberg, chairman of Steinberg-Hart, accepted the award on behalf of his architecture firm.


“I’m pleased with how the alley turned out, including  the inviting entry on South Almaden with column detail supporting the overhang,” Steinberg said, adding his appreciation for the project’s scale and how lower and higher elements of the residential building step back from the alley.


“The texture, palette colors, accents of the tile, the railing pattern and the variety of materials really add a richness to what I believe will be a great urban space in downtown San Jose.


“The only thing missing is the people, and they are coming,” Steinberg added.  “I know they will.”


Modera has already attracted two new restaurants and an urgent care facility into retail space along its side of the alley.  


“That is proof that great places attract people and new investment,” Corbett said.


Each year for more than two decades, the Design Review Committee has rewarded projects that contribute excellence and vibrancy to downtown’s built environment with the Golden Nail.