Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012!

Hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween! 

If you are still looking for ideas on where to go today, check out our full guide right over here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lavazza Espression Opens Today in Santana Row

Today Santana Row will get yet another premier attraction. The very first Lavazza Espression on the West Coast is opening in the 300 Building right around the corner from The Yard House. Lavazza is the most popular coffee brand in Italy and this cafe will likely blow the doors off of Starbucks in terms of quality. They will also feature fresh food with locally sourced organic ingredients, desserts made in house, and gelato.

To top it off, the cafe opens early and stays open until late. The hours are 6am-10pm Sunday through Thursday and 6am-midnight on Friday and Saturday.

For more information, check out the press release below.

San Jose, CA (Oct. 25, 2012) - When is a cup of coffee not merely a cup of coffee? When it’s Lavazza, Italy’s best-known coffee brand. Lavazza is famed not only for quality and innovation, but also for its integration with high fashion, sleek design and contemporary cuisine, including its collaboration with revolutionary Chef Ferran Adrià, the pioneer of molecular gastronomy.
It’s only fitting then that the first Lavazza Espression café on the West Coast opens on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in the heart of tech-driven Silicon Valley: Santana Row. Additional locations are planned in San Francisco, the East Bay, North Bay and on the Peninsula.
The 2,200 square foot café, with 35 seats in the restaurant and 32 on the patio, will introduce a unique taste of Italian culture, where coffee is not just a beverage, but a celebrated way of life.
“Lavazza is creative in every sense of the word,’’ says Erich Fleshman of Espression Coffee West, the Bay Area franchisee. “The Bay Area has a very sophisticated pallet for coffee and Lavazza Espression completes the full experience.’’
The company was established in 1895 when founder Luigi Lavazza opened a small grocery store in Turin that later began specializing in roasting and selling coffee. Family-owned for four generations, the company’s coffee is now available in more than 90 countries. It is the most recognized coffee brand in Italy and familiar to anyone who has traveled through Europe.
With stunning artwork by some of the world’s most acclaimed fashion photographers, including Helmut Newton and Annie Leibovitz, the café has a contemporary, European feel with furnishings from Italy. With its comfortable, modern décor and free Wi-Fi, Lavazza Espression invites visitors to linger when they don’t need to grab and go.
Lavazza coffee can be enjoyed through classic preparations such as espresso and drip, along with more creative riffs such as a “Monterosa’’ (a custard and berry compote with an espresso shot and whipped cream), the signature Èspesso™ (Adrià’s ingenious liquid-to-solid coffee creation served playfully with a spoon that sports a hole in it) and the Èspessone™ (light foam, with a soft and velvety texture in combination with an intense aroma of the espresso).
 Other offerings include velvety thick Italian hot chocolate, Espresso Shakerato served in a chilled martini glass and blended coffee drinks such as the Blendissimo® (a cool blend of espresso, vanilla gelato and caramel, topped off with whipped cream).
With a nod to California sensibilities, the menu will include gluten-free choices and incorporates as many locally-sourced and organic ingredients as possible with items such as “Chicken and Mushroom Tramezzino,’’ “Salmon Caprese” and “Fruit and Parmesan Salad’’ with passion fruit vinaigrette. Desserts will be made in-house and gelato is provided from a local artisan to Lavazza’s specifications. Coffee drinks will be priced from $2-$4; salads and sandwiches from $5-$10.
Appealing to the Bay Area’s inclination to embrace social responsibility is Lavazza’s ¡Tierra! Project, started in 2002 and certified by The Rain Forest Alliance. Lavazza set up its ¡Tierra! Project in coffee growing countries with the aim of improving the living and working conditions of local communities by providing training and technical support. The initiative combines productivity with social responsibility and attains excellent results not only within the targeted regions, but also in terms of product quality.
Lavazza and Fashion 4 Development, a United Nations partner organization which uses fashion to develop strategies for female self-empowerment, have teamed to unveil the Lavazza ¡Tierra! limited edition tins designed by internationally acclaimed designers Marni, Roberto CavalliMissoni, Etro, Versace, and Moschino. The tins contain a blend of coffee made from 100% sustainable crops and a large part of the proceeds will be donated to Fashion 4 Development’s efforts in Africa, India and South Africa. The tins will be available for purchase for a limited time at Santana Row’s new Lavazza Espression location.
Lavazza Espression, 300 Santana Row, Suite 110, 408.261-1830 Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sun.-Thurs.; 6 a.m. to midnight, Fri. and Sat. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

21-Story Residential High-Rise Will Break Ground in Downtown San Jose!!!

This is news I have been eagerly anticipating for years. Finally, there will be cranes in the air and the next generation of residential towers will rise Downtown!

KT Properties (Axis) and Essex Property Trust have filed a site permit for 285 apartment units in a quarter million sqft, 21 floor tower. There will be 6,000 sqft of retail on the ground floor and potentially more on the second floor. Amenities include a swimming pool and Jacuzzi on the 4th floor, a fitness room, community kitchen, and terraces on the 4th and 17th floors. The building will have 420 parking spaces, half of which will be underground.

Location wise, it could not be more central in Downtown. The tower will be on the corner of Santa Clara Street and Market Street, right across from San Pedro Square, 5-7 minutes from the HP Pavilion and Diridon Station, and a couple blocks away from Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The future BART station will be no more than a few blocks away. This is an uber-prime location that has been a parking lot for way too long. The impact will be dramatic.

If our rental market continues to stay hot over the next two years, you can expect the entire building to be leased within 3 months of opening. We all saw what the last 4 residential towers did for Downtown, imagine what these next ones will do. And yes, I did say ones with an s.

Barry Swenson Builder is also working on a 21-story tower of their own called The Carlysle. This building will be across the street from the San Pedro Square Market and be even larger at 347 units. In fact, I just saw an advertisement last week from Barry Swenson that featured the Carlysle with the caption "First downtown San Jose tower out of the ground since the great recession." They haven't filed their site permit yet, but that quote is definitely a good sign that it is going to happen soon.

As soon as either of these break ground, we'll have to have a celebratory meet-up at The SPSM.

Sources: SJBJ, The Registry

Sunday, October 28, 2012

San Jose's SoloPower Holdings Raises $12M

SoloPower manufactures lightweight and flexible solar sheets. Their product looks pretty similar to Nanosolar, which is another San Jose-based company.

They have just raised a $12M round and are hiring, so if you're interested check out their website over here.

Source: SJBJ

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Stats: Best Cities to Trick or Treat

Zillow's ranking of the top cities for Trick-or-Treaters has been updated with 2012 results, and San Jose fared pretty well. These results are based on four equally weighted factors: the Zillow Home Value Index, Walk Score, population density, and crime data. For 2012, San Jose ranked a respectable 5th place. This is up one level from 2011 where we ranked 6th. If the criteria remain the same next year, I think we'll continue to do quite well.

Zillow also released the rankings for the top 5 Trick-or-Treating neighborhoods in San Jose:
  1. Cambrian
  2. Rose Garden
  3. Willow Glen
  4. Santa Teresa
  5. Evergreen Valley

Friday, October 26, 2012

Variations Exhibit at The Usuals

from Phantom Galleries 

New Works by James Vidal and Junior Sanchez
Opening Reception
Friday, October 26, 2012, 7–10pm
Music by DJ Basura
On view through November 19, 2012

The Usuals
1020 The Alameda
San Jose, CA 95126

Halloween Fundraiser @ Loft Bar & Bistro

The Asian American Donor Program (AADP) is a non-profit that helps blood cancer patients find marrow donors. The event below will raise money for adding additional donors (it costs $100 to register a single donor).

There will be free treats, appetizers, and a raffle. The event starts at 6pm and tickets cost $20 per person. For more information check out the Facebook event page over here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Axis Howl-O-Ween Event

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live with a pet in Downtown San Jose, this may be the event for you. You will be able to tour the Axis residential high-rise with man's best friend, learn which services such as dog walking and training are available locally, and then explore Downtown with your companion. There's even a Doggie costume contest. To participate, just head over to 38 N. Almaden Boulevard on Saturday, October 27th between 11am and 1pm. More details below.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Die Hard Co.

It has been a pretty damn good year for Bay Area sports. The A's had a great run, the Giants need no mention, and the 49ers are 5-2 right now. There is also a chance the Sharks will be back in business this November (keeping fingers crossed) and the Earthquakes are currently at the top of their game, not to mention they just broke ground on a new stadium.

While most of the Bay Area pro teams are not in San Jose (yet), there is a way you can support a local San Jose business while brandishing support for your favorite team. The site is Die Hard Co. and is well worth checking out. They have shirts and hoodies for the Sharks, Giants, A's, Warriors, 49ers, and the Raiders. I'm a fan of their "Hella" collection, most of which you can see below.

We're going to be doing a contest with Die Hard soon, probably around the end of the NHL lockout, so keep an eye out for that. To visit the Die Hard website and check out their full selection, just click here.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Apple Has a Little More to Show You in San Jose

Apple is making a major new product announcement today, likely a less expensive 7 inch iPad. They may also announce a retina version of the 13 inch Macbook Pro. Why is this significant? Well for me it is not so much the products they are planning to launch, but the location of the announcement. It's happening right here, in the California Theater in Downtown San Jose.

Traditionally Apple has made product announcements from the Moscone Center in SF. With the remodel and expansion of the San Jose Convention Center, perhaps we can land future product announcements as well that require a larger space. Regardless of what happens going forward, today is a very good day for San Jose.

The event starts at 10:00am, and many tech sites such as Engadget will be live-blogging it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Japanese Retailer Muji Coming Downtown!

You may want to sit down for this. Downtown San Jose actually beat out Santana Row for a premier flagship retailer.

Muji is a Japanese home goods store that is known for a minimalist design. Their products are primarily aimed at urban dwellers, especially those with limited space that are living in high-density apartments or condos.

They are planning on building a flagship 7,000 sqft store at the Fairmont Annex, in the space where the preview center for 360 Residences used to be several years ago.

Currently there are only three US stores in existence like this one, and all of them are in Manhattan. They are only planning to build out two stores on the West Coast for now, one in San Francisco and the other is this one.

To say this is a huge win for Downtown San Jose would be an understatement. On Mondays I like to post development news. There are a few new massive apartment and office projects that were just announced, and I completely pushed those aside for this.

No official opening date has been set, but they are shooting for Spring. Godspeed.

Source: SJBJ

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Haunt History Park is Not Scary

Sunday, October 28 from noon to 4 p.m.

San José, CA – October 11, 2012 --- What’s scary about Halloween? Have no fear at Haunt History Park, on Sunday, October 28 fron noon to 4 p.m. Children will be able to trick-or-treat throughout San José’s History Park at Kelley Park in a fun, safe, family-friendly environment.

This scare-free annual event has become a tradition, with trick-or-treating, family-friendly events and arts and crafts activities. Trolley and hand car rides, games and crafts, will provide family festivities.

“This year the entire family can celebrate this historic holiday in a fun yet old-fashioned Halloween atmosphere,” said Barbara Johnston, Director of Education at History San José. “There will be plenty of activities for all ages.”

Trick-or-treating stations will be set up at the historic homes in History Park and are sponsored by the History San José Education Department,  History San José docents and History San José’s affiliates.

There will be games around the plaza along with Halloween crafts.  The Costume Parade will be around the Plaza at 2:00 p.m. and the  ‘wrap-a-mummy’ contest will take place on the Plaza at 3 p.m.

Speaking of treats, the tradition of trick-or-treating is very well known for handing out sweets. Dead Dog Hotdogs will be on hand, and popcorn is available for purchase. O’Brien’s Ice Cream Parlor at History Park serves San José’s own Treat ice cream. Treat Ice Cream Company has been in business in San José since 1951 and produces gourmet ice creams, sherbets, and sorbets.

Admission is free for History San José members, and only $5 for members of Happy Hollow Park & Zoo; adults are $8 and seniors are $5, children age 2 and above are $5. For more information, visit or call 408 918 1047.

Kelley Park is located at 1621 Senter Road, between Phelan & Keyes. For GPS mapping use 135 Phelan Avenue. City parking is available for $6.  For more information visit or call 408 287 2290.

   # # #

About History San José:
History San José is a non-profit organization that collects, preserves and celebrates the stories of diversity and innovation in San José and the Santa Clara Valley. HSJ manages one of the largest and most comprehensive regional history collections in the State of California, from 1784 Spanish governmental records to twenty-first century Silicon Valley technology.
History San José     1650 Senter Road     San José, CA  95112       408.287.2290

Facebook: /historysanjose
Twitter: @historysanjose

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Stats: Downtown San Jose Office Vacancies Drop 5.6%

For the past several years, office vacancies in Downtown San Jose have been astronomical. I remember the Sobrato tower sitting empty waiting for an owner for what seemed like ages. Even today, one of the River Park Towers is still empty.

The good news is that a huge dent has been made towards reducing these vacancies in the last year. During Q3 2011, the vacancy rate of office space Downtown was an abysmal 27.1%. That has since dropped to 21.5% in Q3 2012, a 5.6% reduction. Still not fantastic, but substantially better than the year before. I think in 2013 we'll finally see this number drop below 20%.

Source: SJBJ

Friday, October 19, 2012

Content Magazine 4.4

It has been a whole year since the inaugural Content Magazine print edition, and it continues to get better and better. The latest issue includes an interview with Vincent Kartheiser from Mad Men, Shea Salinas from the Earthquakes (which are kicking ass by the way), and Matthew Rodriguez from Pops Fabrication bike shop. You can head over to some of the places listed below to pick up your hard copy, but I would recommend subscribing to make sure you don't miss an issue!

Magazine Celebrating One Year After Successful Kickstarter Campaign;
Featuring Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser, SJ Bike Party, SJ Earthquake Shea Salinas, and more

One year after running a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch the magazine, Content Magazine’s fifth printed issue is hitting the newsstands on October 19 and is packed with quality interviews, features, and photography that San Jose has come to expect from the publication.

In Issue 4.4, readers can enjoy interviews with Vincent Kartheiser from AMC’s Mad Men, Shea Salinas of the San Jose Earthquakes, and Matthew Rodriguez, owner of Pops Fabrication, a San Jose custom bike shop. The issue also includes stories on San Jose Bike Party, Opera San Jose’s founder and opera singer Irene Dalis, and a food shopping guide featuring locally sourced and produced treats.

As with every new issue, Content Magazine will hold a Pick Up Party for subscribers to collect the latest issue. Issue 4.4’s Pick Up Party will be held at the San Jose Museum of Art on October 18 and is open to current subscribers as well as anyone interested in buying the latest copy, meeting the staff behind Content Magazine, or meeting the people featured in this issue.

Content Magazine can be found at Zanotto’s in Willow Glen, Saint Clair Newsstand, La Lune Sucree, The Usuals, Satori Tea Company, Art Boutiki, and the San Pedro Square Market Gift Shop. Content Magazine can also be downloaded in electronic form from their website. Annual subscriptions are $42; email to subscribe.

Content Magazine is a bi-monthly publication devoted to the creative and innovative culture of San Jose. Started by fashion photographer Daniel Garcia in 2008, the magazine strives to showcase and promote individuals and businesses that are making San Jose a dynamic and vibrant place to live and play.  

For more information about Content Magazine, Issue 4.4, or to schedule an interview with Daniel Garcia, please email Flora Moreno de Thompson at or call Flora at 408.643.9975.

Twitter: @contentmag
Instagram: @contentmag

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Silicon Valley Restaurant Week (Oct. 17-24)

One of my favorite food events of the year started yesterday, Silicon Valley Restaurant Week. Almost 50 different restaurants (a dozen of which are Downtown) will be offering fixed price 3-course menus. The prices range from $25 a person all the way up to $65 for the Capital Club. Most are in the $35 a person bracket. For a full list of participating restaurants, just click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist: Free Wifi

We live in the middle of Silicon Valley in the year 2012. At this point I would definitely expect the entire city to be blanketed in free Wifi internet access.

Comcast is taking some steps to making a ubiquitous hotspot across Silicon Valley, but you have to be a Comcast customer. The internet is becoming the lifeblood of this region, so we need to make sure our infrastructure is very strong in this area.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

TWO BUCK Tuesday Today!

From Phantom Galleries 

Foin us at KALEID Gallery for this upcoming TWO BUCK Tuesday, October 16th, 7pm-10pm!
Come enjoy an inspired evening of performances, live painting, $2 art & quirky people get together! It's open to all ages and free!

Here’s some of the great things to see and do this time:

This month's Feature Artist Michael Foley will be on hand to answer any and all of your questions about his current exhibition "Keeping Up with Appearances".
Foley will also be on hand making monster portraits...portraits of people are cool, but turning people into monsters make things much better-so come by and become a monster yourself! If that wasn't enough he will demonstrate the making of fake blood just in time for Halloween.

The monsters of California's Great America's Halloween Haunt will be visiting to give you a good scare and a chance at some scary prizes and giveaways!

Shannon Amidon will be demonstrating how to create preserved waxed leaves
and nature to include in your artwork or Autumn décor. If you would like
to participate please bring fresh leaves from your home.

BYO Camera Phone for a photo shoot with You and Harold the Skeleton! Funny costumes encouraged. :)

Face Painting with Lara Sophia


Al Preciado

Nik Caesar

Miguel Machuca

Alexandria Perez


John Hageman

Jehoiakim Santos

Live Music by Dream House!

TWO BUCK Tuesday, October 16th, 7pm-10pm!

88 South Fourth Street (@ San Fernando)
San Jose, CA 95112
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, noon -7pm, free admission

Monday, October 15, 2012

San Jose International Short Film Festival Opens October 18th at CineArts Theatre Santana Row!

If you thought Cinequest was the only film festival in San Jose, think again. Last year the San Jose Short Film Festival really shined with an impressive selection of short films and events spanning several days. It looks like they are raising the bar yet again for their 4th year with the best lineup of features in the event's history. I'm really looking forward to the comedies, which are usually my favorites.

It all starts this Thursday at CineArts Santana Row and continues until Sunday night. For more information either keep on reading or head over to the festival site over here.

PictureSan Jose, August 13, 2012 – Our 4th annual event is back, better than ever with an incredible lineup of short films featuring selected entries from Tribecca, Cannes, Sundance and other top festivals.  With over 70 films cultivated from the hundreds of entries submitted, these World Class productions include performances by Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, X-Men First Class), Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Thing, Scott Pilgrim) and many more.

With over 16 short film screening blocks that feature every genre of film imaginable, there is something for everyone, plus industry guests, filmmaker panels, after-parties and more.

This year the San Jose International Short Film Festival kicks off October 18th with the Red Carpet "Opening Night Screening & After-Party" and continues through October 21st.

The SAN JOSE INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (SJISFF) distinguishes itself as a festival that caters to filmmakers and their craft. Beginning with the Red Carpet event and "Premiere Selection" screening & Opening Night After-Party at the prestigious Santana Row complex.

Multiple screenings are held each day at CineArts Theatre in Santana Row, with its All Stadium Seating and State of the Art Digital Presentation that include "It's Comedy, Tonight", "The Ink & Paint Club" our tribute to Animation Shorts, "I've Got A Bad Feeling About This" which features Sci-fi and Thrillers that will have you on the edge of your seat, and "Welcome to the Alternative Universe" that captures the essence of Experimental, Cult and the Avant Garde. Also, this year is our NEW screening block “Wish you Were Here”, featuring the best in short foreign film.

Tickets on Sale Now.

Ticket and Screening Information:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

September 2012 Downtown Dimension Highlights

Here are my notes from the latest edition of Downtown Dimension:
  • The SJDA is implying it is against Measure D (the minimum wage hike) since it will result in businesses reducing hours, cutting jobs, raising prices, and/or relocating outside of San Jose.
  • Scott's Seafood, which is on the top floor a 6-story parking structure, now has an outdoor patio with fireplace offering views of the city. They also expanded their indoor bar and lounge.
  • The Chevron on Fourth and Santa Clara has added an Extra Miles convenience store.
  • Grocery Outlet and Bargain Market is now open at the former Albertsons space.
  • Devine Grind Coffee Shop is open at 27 Devine St.
  • The Little Cheese Shoppe at San Pedro Square Market is now open.
  • Dark Hours Gym is open at 97 N. Almaden with classes for martial arts and fitness.
  • Charles Le Photography has moved into 42A S. First St.
  • Downtown's music scene has grown steadily: in June there were an average of 40 live music events per week, by July that number was over 50, and in August it exceeded 60.
  • After 8 years without a medical center, the Gardner Downtown Health Care Center opened Aug 9th at 725 E. Santa Clara. A $50m three story building is also opening in 2015.
  • Dec 16th will be the inaugural Santa Run Silicon Valley benefiting Downtown for the Holidays events like Christmas in the Park.
To read the full newsletter, click here!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Fairmont Celebrates 25 Years

The flagship luxury hotel in Downtown San Jose is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this month. They took a huge gamble coming Downtown back in 1987 when it was a much different environment than it is today, but I think it paid off very well for them. The Fairmont consistently have some of the highest occupancy and average room rates Downtown and have even pulled off a substantial expansion. The relationship also works both ways as the hotel has brought thousands of events Downtown and has helped sponsor dozens of community endeavors like Christmas in the Park. Today, it is hard to imagine the San Jose skyline without the Fairmont Hotel.

To celebrate the Anniversary, they have a variety of promotions going on which you can read all about in the press release below.

SAN JOSE, CA (October, 2012) Twenty-five years ago, the site of a prestigious hotel was proposed for construction to meet the demand of a quickly, developing city core.  Opening its doors in 1987, The Fairmont San Jose was the first luxury hotel of its kind in downtown San Jose. Serving as a hub of creativity, connection and discovery, the hotel has served as a backdrop for the brilliant inventions and events in Silicon Valley.

The hotel has also become a favorite venue for generations of families, from holiday celebrations to wedding receptions and special occasions. As a way to give back to the community and our loyal guests, The Fairmont San Jose is delighted to celebrate 25 wonderful years of hospitality and offer the community the following promotions:

Pizza and Pinot at The Lobby Lounge
Every day, Offered throughout the month of October 2012
The Fairmont San Jose’s Lobby Lounge will feature selections of Greg Norman Pinot Noir with a selection of freshly baked gourmet pizza. $25 for two glasses of wine and one pizza plus tax & service

Silver Afternoon Tea
Every day, Offered throughout the month of October 2012
Afternoon Tea includes assortment of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and fruit preserves, and a wonderful array of French pastries. The Fairmont San Jose’s famed afternoon tea service may be booked for $25 per person. $12 for children under 12 (All prices plus tax & service).

Please call 408-998-1900 or visit for reservation details

$25 Local Wines
Every day, Offered throughout the month of October 2012
A selection of local favorite wines, offered at $25 per bottle.

About The Fairmont San Jose
The Fairmont San Jose located in the heart of Silicon Valley, combines high-tech excitement with the elegance of Fairmont style.  The hotel offers 805 deluxe guest rooms, including 77 luxurious suites, and 65,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space, presented with the perfect balance of contemporary and traditional designs.  The 20th floor is devoted to a collection of grand penthouse suites, with its own private boardroom and spectacular city views. The 4th floor (Cabana Level) features lavish -style rooms framing a 58’ swimming pool, sun deck, men’s and women’s saunas, steam rooms, health club and spa.