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!


  1. Grocery Outlet is NOT open yet

  2. They're not implying opposition to measure D. I'm on their mailing list and they are outright against it. So offensive. Really? You own a business and you can't pay someone $10 to work for you in Silicon Valley?

    1. Yes, I think that's actually the case. The overwhelming majority of small businesses fail, it's a very tough market and usually the budgets are very tight.

      Let's take a restaurant for example where the staff makes the majority of their money on tips. There is usually a fixed budget for wages. A 25% increase on the bottom scale, also means that everyone else needs to be bumped up as well. So to stay within the same budget, several people will have to be fired. That also means current employees will be overworked, customers will likely have worse service, and the business will be less likely to succeed.

      I think the proposition was well intentioned (what's another $2/hr in Silicon Valley right). However, economics is a science not a liberal art, and the people that are going to be hurt the most by this are those that the proposition was intended to help.

  3. Disagree completely. It's Silicon Valley after all. I'll pay more for my burrito, just like I would in Sf or NYC, because I expect that the person making it should be paid a living, fair wage. If your business model can't accommodate that there's something wrong. It's a science, yes, not rocket science.

    1. You would and I would. Heck I even keep a stack of $2 bills for tipping at places where no tip is expected.

      However, if all restaurant prices were in San Jose were increased by a hypothetical 10%, it will absolutely have a negative impact on sales. If prices stay the same, it means layoffs.

      I hate making this comparison to SF, but there is no comparable location immediately around the city of SF... even Oakland is just a bit too far. There is no competition. If they raise prices, businesses will still want to locate in the city center and people will still want to eat there. In Silicon Valley there are alternatives. As an example Downtown San Jose is competing with Downtown Campbell, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Los Gatos. Raising prices in one area will push people to others. While I wish San Jose was in the same scenario as SF or NYC, we're not quite there yet.

  4. Nah. That sort of over thinking it, really.

  5. I got news since I've done my traveling to other cities' downtowns last week. The last time I did it was back in 1994. Boy, Downtown SJ is behind every downtown of major cities including Detroit, LA, Houston, Atlanta, Philly, Dallas, Miami, Chicago Loop and Phoenix. Note: I only mention those cities because they used to be dead or seriously lacking. I'm not including the downtowns that were and are currently cool like Seattle, Portland, Denver, Boston and San Diego. I'm not putting San Jose down or insulting it. Back in 1994, Downtown San Jose was among the best because those downtowns, that I mention first above, were dead and run down for the most part, but they had the building stocks and the potential for improvements once they got their acts together. Remember, San Jose live and the SoFa district were booming during the Stanley's Cup playoff. Downtown SJ was waking up, and while Downtown Seattle almost lost its downtown and was struggling at that time. Downtown Denver was just realizing its lower downtown being revitalized by renovating the older stocks of buildings into loft and the Coors ballpark opened a year later. The upper part of Downtown or the main part of Downtown Denver was boring and quiet with Denver Pavilion entertainment and shopping complex not yet built. Still, Downtown San Jose was ahead and bursting with pride. Remember, Dt. San Diego had not built its Petco Park and The Gaslamp District was slowly waking up; therefore, San Jose was ahead and was envy by San Diego city planners.

    Well, all that changed in the last 15 years since other cities did great job of revitalizing their downtowns as forinstance, Atlanta with its world's largest aquarium, and the Olympic Park, LA with its Walt Disney theater and LA Live, Detroit with the move of GM, Quikens, Compuware to downtown and a beautiful Greektown Casino, and lastly, Dallas with its new art museum, theaters, and glassy highrise condo in the art district and the American Arena with major mixed-used intertainments, retail, condos and hotel complex adjacent to it.

    San Jose has fallen behind every major city in downtown revitalization. To remedy it: bring the A's if possible, build a massive aquarium and or a major intertainment/shopping complex like Berlin, Germany's Sony Center in Downtown San Jose. The city must build alot more offices/hotels and residential highrises to fill the gap and make up for lack of each of those uses such as offices/housing and hotels. Other cities downtown office inventory average is 30 million sq. ft. of office space, 6,500 hotel rooms and 35,000 residences.

    San Jose is at the bottom of just about everything on the list.

    1. I don't remember what Downtown was like in 1994, so I don't have a basis for comparison. But I do remember Downtown in 1999 and there is no comparison. We have come a really long way in the last decade.

      Within the next few years I think you'll have a lot of things to look forward to:
      - Expansion of the San Pedro Square Market
      - At least 2 new high-rises, probably many more after the ball starts rolling
      - Earthquakes Stadium close to Downtown
      - New retail (check this upcoming Monday's post)
      - Potential Ballpark
      - Bikeshare program with multiple Downtown stations
      - Guadalupe River Park improvements
      - Groundwerx improvements to many streets and districts Downtown
      - BRT, Diridon expansion, and eventual BART stations

      I think the current direction is positive and we'll definitely get there sooner rather than later. I'm surprised to see Detroit on your list, that is the one city I can't imagine having a more thriving downtown than San Jose today, but as I have never been there cannot really comment.