Monday, February 7, 2011

February 2011 Downtown Dimension Highlights

Here are my notes from the latest edition of Downtown Dimension:
  • Redevelopment agencies are under fire by our new Governor and SJ is fighting (along with many other cities across the state) to keep the redevelopment agencies alive. Many projects including the HP Pavilion, Convention Center, Fairmont, and Adobe HQ would not have been possible without the RDA.
  • Police, VTA, and city officials are cracking down on drug dealing around Fountain Alley. Stakeholders are also discussing improving lighting and adding more police patrols.
  • The San Jose Cultural Plan for 2011-2020 strengthens downtown as the creative and cultural center of Silicon Valley. 1stAct, zer01, California Theater renovation, and Artsopolis all came from previous Culture Plans. The 2011 plan suggests:
    • Nurturing small-scale performing arts venues
    • Creating a fund to support small art organizations
    • Locating a dedicated festival site such as the Arena Green or Discovery Meadow
    • Celebrating diversity through arts and culture
    • Including big public art projects
    • Promoting economic development through the arts
  • The City Parks Alliance gave national recognition to the Guadalupe River Park as being a leading example of an urban park.
  • This summer, San Carlos Street between Market and Fourth will receive a $4 million renovation that will:
    • Widen sidewalks
    • Add planters, benches, garbage cans, and bike racks
    • Improve lighting
  • "The city received an $80k grant that will allow an interactive public art display to be added to San Carlos Street, connecting the university to SoFA and the Convention Center." Street poles will be lit with LED lights that will change and react based on movement on the street. [Josh: I love this idea, the more interactive/dynamic art the better!]
  • Downtown Ice brought in 41,926 skaters and despite rainy days, broke the previous single day attendance record 4 times.
  • 44 utility boxes will magically disappear. Groundwerx crews have taken pictures of what's behind each cabinet and will wrap each utility box with vinyl decals of the pictures, creating an optical illusion. 22 others (most in SoFA) will be hand painted or wrapped in local art. [Josh: Very, very cool]
  • La Pinata is now open on San Pedro Square.
  • The remodeled and expanded La Vics is also now open.
  • Brixton Hue Salon and Style Studio has moved into what used to be Chic Chateau at 96 S. 3rd. They are also planning to sell handbags, jewelry, and fashion accessories.
  • Motif has been remodeled by one of the designers of the Hard Rock Cafe and Palms Hotel in Vegas.
  • The San Jose Sabercats are returning to the HP Pavilion for a 9 game season starting in March. 
  • Downtown hotel occupancy rose from 50% in 2009 to 59% in 2010. Total revenue increased by almost $9M.
To read the full newsletter, click here!

1 comment:

  1. While I admire the Redevelopment Agency's goal to revitalize downtown San Jose, especially since it has worked well in the past (e.g. the San Jose Arena), I am getting the feeling it is being too generous with public funds and should instead allow other private companies or investors to add the improvements (which would also allow them to promote their own businesses) with tax incentives.