Monday, February 17, 2020

Former Camera 12 Theaters space will become office and retail

It's a bittersweet solution to a key space in the middle of Downtown San Jose, but at least it is better than the empty shell that exists today. Camera 12 was my favorite movie theater, and one of the few three-story movie theaters in the country. I was hoping this could be repurposed into a high-end theater with luxury seats, cocktails, and upscale dining similar to the Showplace ICON in Valley Fair. However, it appear Urban Catalyst has a firm plan for the 70,330 SQFT site.

The plan is to convert the space into a five-story building called "Paseo." This will be interesting to see executed given the existing configuration. They will likely have to gut the whole building. The top four floors will support 73,000 SQFT of office space while the ground floor will have 15,000 SQFT of retail.

I am excited about what the retail opportunities could be, especially given the whole street is starting to fill up. Scott's Seafood is moving to the former Social Policy space on the same block and Hapa Musubi is a few doors down (one of Downtown's most popular eateries, often completely selling out of food daily). It may no longer be a movie theater, but I'm certain this can be an anchor for urban activity Downtown.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Guadalupe River Park - Adopt a Rose

Looking for a great last-minute Valentine's Day idea? The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy is offering a $60 package that includes adopting a rose (post your personal message in the garden), a box of chocolates, a cookie, and a free rose each month for a year.

Best of all, the proceeds go towards support the park and the purchase is partially tax deductible. You don't have to tell your significant other that last part.

To learn more and to order this special Valentine's Day package, head over here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

All That Jazz with "Chicago" @ The San Jose Stage

They had it comin'
They had it comin'
They had it comin' all along
'Cause if they used us
And they abused us
How could you tell us that we were wrong?

Back in high school, I was wondering why so many people loved CHICAGO when it first came out in theaters in 2002. Before I knew I loved musicals, I found the songs "Cell Block Tango" and "We Both Reached for the Gun" to be sensational and fascinating. Of course, being quite an ignorant child believing that justice will always prevail, I had no idea that the outcome of this musical's riveting storyline and dazzling musical numbers would be a scandalous travesty of justice. It was so scandalous in storyline, outcome, costumes, and choreography, that the original 1975 Broadway production of CHICAGO only ran for 968 performances, which is a relatively short run for an open-ended broadway production. Thankfully, two decades later, a more accepting Broadway audience and significant production tweaks paved the way for the current revival of CHICAGO, which is now the longest-running musical revival and longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

"We Both Reached For The Gun" musical number Center Stage: Monique Hafeb Adams (as Roxie Hart), Keith Pinto (as Billy Flynn), Kyle Bielfield (as Mary Sunshine) Ensemble: Patrick Wayne, Jill Miller, Jacqueline Neeley, Zoey Lytle, Matthew Kropschot, Tony Wooldridge, Tracey Freeman-Shaw, Monica Moe, Vinh G. Nguyen, Nick Rodrigues. Photo By Dave Lepori
"We Both Reached For The Gun" musical number
Center Stage: Monique Hafeb Adams (as Roxie Hart), Keith Pinto (as Billy Flynn), Kyle Bielfield (as Mary Sunshine)
Ensemble: Patrick Wayne, Jill Miller, Jacqueline Neeley, Zoey Lytle, Matthew Kropschot,
Tony Wooldridge, Tracey Freeman-Shaw, Monica Moe, Vinh G. Nguyen, Nick Rodrigues.
Photo By Dave Lepori

"Razzle Dazzle" musical number  Keith Pinto (foreground as "Billy Flynn") alongside  Matthew Kropschot, Monica Moe, Jacqueline Neeley,  Jill Miller, Zoey Lytle, Tracey Freeman-Shaw,  Tony Wooldridge, Nick Rodrigues  Photo by Dave Lepori
"Razzle Dazzle" musical number
Keith Pinto (foreground as "Billy Flynn") alongside Matthew Kropschot,
Monica Moe, Jacqueline Neeley, Jill Miller, Zoey Lytle,
Tracey Freeman-Shaw, Tony Wooldridge, Nick Rodrigues.
Photo by Dave Lepori
Since my high school years, I have seen the musical twice on Broadway and once as a touring production through Broadway San Jose. I had no idea that the theatrical production would be significantly better than the big screen version including its simple set design, kinky costumes, and "all that jazz" expected from this musical.

CHICAGO took the stand at The San Jose Stage Company with its official opening night on February 8, 2020. The production was mostly true to what I've seen on Broadway especially when it comes to the choreography, singing, and costumes. The company at The San Jose Stage Company hit top marks for producing a Broadway quality show in its intimate setting allowing Bay Area residents to fall in love with this classic!

Branden Noel Thomas as "Matron ‘Mama’ Morton" Photo by Dave Lepori
Branden Noel Thomas 
as "Matron ‘Mama’ Morton"
Photo by Dave Lepori
Given that I've seen previous productions at The San Jose Stage Company, it was great seeing former cast members return to the show including Monique Hafen Adams as Roxie Hart, Allison F. Rich as Velma Kelly, Keith Pinto as Billy Flynn, Matthew Kropschot as Fred Casley, and ensemble members June Miller, Monica MoeVinh G. Nguyen, Tracey Freeman-Shaw.

The highlight of the show was the excellent performance of Branden Noel Thomas performing as Matron "Mama" Morton. Branden's singing, acting, makeup, and costume was impeccable. Branden knew how to pull in the audience and deliver musical notes and lines with gravity... and tenacity. Branden is a young person whom I will be paying attention in future productions.

One thing that didn't occur in the Broadway production, but which The San Jose Stage Company changed very well, was the different direction to their musical number, "Mister Cellophane." Performing as Amos Hart was Sean Doughty, who previously performed the same part at another theater. In addition to Sean applying the sad clown makeup from the movie version, it was comical and malevolent to see how the spotlight operator moved the spotlight away from Amos on stage several times. Plus, Amos never received his exit music, as other characters did. Little things like this is truly reminiscent of the character of Amos Hart who is so innocent yet easily mistreated throughout the story.

Sean Doughty as Amos Hart
Photo By Dave Lepori
All in all, this is one of the few shows I would watch again and again. So make sure you catch a performance playing Wednesdays to Sundays now until March 15, 2020. You can purchase tickets online at The San Jose Stage Company website at or at their box office at 490 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113, (408) 283-7141. Discount tickets are available for students and seniors.

Written by John Huân Vu.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Downtown San Jose's epic development roadmap

I've been following Downtown San Jose development for the last 21 years, and I have never seen so many impressive projects in the pipeline--not even in the peak of the .com bubble in 1999 and 2000.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal has put together a list of the top 20 projects that are currently in the pipeline. Several are in the million+ SQFT category, which is equivalent to three or four typical high rise buildings. Even if half of these come to fruition, Downtown San Jose will never look the same.

As an added bonus, below is a recording of the "Future of San Jose" event, where you can hear several San Jose leaders share their thoughts on where San Jose is going.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

February 2020 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The latest addition of Downtown Dimension is now live. Below is a summary of the content this month.
The FEBRUARY 2020 Downtown Dimension is now available.

In this edition:
  • Downtown is expanding in all four directions.  Our lead story focuses on what's happening in SoDA, the South of Downtown Area.
  • SJDA Board President Katia McClain's 2020 term started with a feature story in Silicon Valley Business Journal.  Her Letter to downtown businesses includes thoughts on what it will take to make downtown San Jose look as good as possible.
  • CityView businesses are relocating as Jay Paul Co. prepares the block for demolition.  Dimension tracked down many of the new locations of former CityView tenants.
  • New owner and plans for the former Camera Cinemas building.
  • San Jose's $15.25 minimum wage is middle-of-the-pack of Bay Area cities.
  • Coming up:  CINEQUEST March 3-15 and San Jose Jazz Winterfest Feb. 14-29.
Councilmember Raul Peralez will be featured at SJDA's next public meeting -- on a special date -- Thursday, Feb. 20, 8-9:30, at Tabard Theatre, 29 N. San Pedro St.  The meeting is open to everyone.


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

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Le Meridien San Jose Hotel Tower approved

Last week, one of the most ambitious hotel projects in San Jose history received approval by the San Jose City Council. The 24-story Le Meridien hotel will cantilever over the historic Hotel Montgomery, which is currently branded as a Four Points Hotel. The juxtaposition of old and new culminates in a stunning project as you can see below.

A five-story atrium will connect the two hotels together, which are both part of the Marriott portfolio. The new tower will have 274 rooms and one of, if not the best, hotel amenity in San Jose... a rooftop swimming pool.

I can't wait to see this come together and will definitely be planning some stay-cations after this is built!

Source: SVBJ

Monday, February 3, 2020

San Jose is one of the top cities for millennials

COMMERCIALCafé has put together a study on the top 10 metros for millennials to live and work in. They ranked each metro based on seven indicators: millennial population, growth, regional price parity, millennial unemployment rate, percentage of millennials with employer-based health insurance, and commuting time.

San Jose came in 10th place and came in 1st place in terms of health insurance. Our millennial unemployment rate was also the fourth lowest in the study and we had the second best education metric. To find out more, hit the link below.


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The 7 Wonders of the San Jose World

Searchlight San Jose has a great post about the most interesting "wonders" of San Jose. Number one is obvious and pictured below, I have yet to visit number two, there is a great movie about number three, number four is surrounded by delicious food stalls, number five is the only place in San Jose where you can find snow each year, number six is our most colorful park, number seven is a famous museum, and there is a bonus eight that will make you laugh (or cry).

Click here to find out what the 7 Wonders of the San Jose World are.