Sunday, November 30, 2014

Searchlight San Jose: Setting Sail on the Mighty Guadalupe

Brown water adventures in San Jose... what?? Searchlight San Jose has discovered that you can do urban kayaking runs up the Guadalupe River! Head over here for all the details and check out the video below of the Stanford Kayak Club pulling off some impressive tricks near 880.

Oh, and while you are at Searchlight San Jose, you might as well "Dress Up Quetzy." Quetzy is the nickname for the statue in the middle of Plaza de Cesar Chavez that looks like a giant turd. Not a bad idea considering that any changes you make can only be an improvement over what it looks like today. This reminds me of the famous Manneken-Pis statue in Brussels that gets dressed up regularly for special events.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Milpitas Getting Massive 18-Story Tower - 4th Tallest Building in Santa Clara County

This is going to be one of the rare posts here that is not directly tied to San Jose. This news represents that times are changing in Silicon Valley and residents are going to have to start becoming more and more comfortable with high-rise buildings, even outside of traditional urban centers like Downtown San Jose.

Milpitas is about to get a whopper of a tower. While it looks short below, the proposed 18-story tower would be 277 feet high. This makes it taller than the Sobrato Tower, Three Sixty Residences, the San Jose Marriott, any of the Adobe Towers, and the Fairmont Hotel. It would be more than double the height of any building currently in Milpitas. The fact that it looks stubby belies its true size. Only 3 structures in Santa Clara County would be taller, meaning it is extremely wide and a gargantuan building for the South Bay.

The Milpitas tower would be mixed-use in every sense of the terminology. The first two floors would consist of 150,000 SQFT of retail, the third floor would have 50,000 SQFT of office space, and the next 15 floors would have 375 for-sale condos (average of 25 per floor). There is also an attached 8-story parking garage.

The tower is going to be built on three-acres that used to be a former Chevrolet dealership between two Asian-themed shopping centers. Price tag? Expect something in the $250 million to $300 million range. The builder (Singpoli) is already assembling a construction team and is planning to break ground in the next 12 months.

List of Tallest Buildings in Santa Clara County

  • The 88 (San Jose) - 286 feet
  • San Jose City Hall (San Jose) - 285 feet
  • Hoover Tower (Stanford) - 285 feet
  • Landmark Tower (Milpitas) - 277 feet
  • Sobrato Office Tower (San Jose) - 270 feet

Source: SVBJ

Friday, November 28, 2014

San Jose Harvest Festival Kicks Off Today

The San Jose Harvest Festival starts today and continues all the way through Sunday. Instead of going to the mall, why not look for more unique and personal gifts at one of the largest indoor arts and crafts festivals. Over 24,000 items will be available for purchase, all handmade in the US.

The event is located at the San Jose Convention Center and also includes live music, entertainment, and kid's zone, and festival foods. Tickets are $9 for general admission, $7 for seniors, and $4 for kids. For more information, head over here.

Top Rated Craft Show Boasts Shopping, Music, Food and Prizes

(San Jose, Calif.)--- Don't be fooled by empty "door buster" deals designed to lure you to the Big Box retail stores this Black weekend. For a truly enjoyable shopping experience, visit the San Jose Harvest Festival®, November 28-30 at the San Jose Convention Center, and help support the independent artisan instead.

The San Jose Harvest Festival® is one of the largest indoor arts and craft shows on the West Coast and was recently rated among the top 200 craft shows in the country.  The show offers over 24,000 handmade arts and crafts, including original art, jewelry, photography, clothing, specialty foods, holiday decor, and more.

Many of the artists at the Harvest Festival offer bargains and show specials that can only be obtained at the event. Plus, attendees can meet the artists and can often get their purchases personalized. There will be a grab bag prize drawing each day, and the Grand Prize drawing, happening of the show, features a brand new ipad mini.

Throughout the weekend, the Harvest Festival offers upbeat live music, including performances from Tom Rigney and Flambeau, a band that blends American Roots styles into a completely original sound, mixing infectious grooves with deep musicality and spectacular solos. On Saturday afternoon, there will be a special one time performance by the Sweet Adeline's.

Gingerbread on the Go will co-host the KidZone and will feature make-and-take gingerbread cookie projects. Nature of Art for Kids, an eco-friendly company offering non-toxic art supplies for children, will also be participating by offering crafts using "green" and repurposed materials. Plus, parents can stop by the New York Life booth to obtain a free Child ID kit.

The Harvest Festival will welcome back its official non-profit partner, Humane Society Silicon Valley, a charity committed to animal welfare in every facet. Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) will receive half of the proceeds from shopping bag sales and all of the proceeds from the bag and parcel check.

Loaves and Fishes, a San Jose based non-profit organization which serves free, nutritious meals to the working poor, families, homeless and seniors, will be the food donation partner for the show. Anyone who brings a monetary or non-perishable food donation to the show will receive $2 off their admission.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sincere warm wishes to you and your families from your friends at The San Jose Blog!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Wishlist: Michelin Star Restaurants (2015 Edition)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I'm going my 6th annual rant on needing to get some internationally recognized Michelin-starred restaurants in San Jose! The Michelin guide is the most renowned rubric for measuring culinary greatness, and for the most part San Jose restaurants have been excluded from its pages. However, I think the foodie culture is continuing to build momentum in San Jose, especially Downtown. I'm continuing to be optimistic for the future!

Michelin has three different star categories:
  • One Star - A very good restaurant in its category with cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard. A good place to stop on your journey.
  • Two Stars - Excellent cuisine, skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality. Worth a detour.
  • Three Stars - Exceptional cuisine with distinctive dishes and superlative ingredients. Worth a special journey.
I created a Google doc listing all of the star recipients for 2015, along with tabs for all previous years and some general statistics. Below is an image capture from the doc. This year there were a total of 40 restaurants on the list, which is up 2 from last year and down from the peak of 47 in 2012. 53% of the restaurants are locating in SF, 25% in Wine Country, 20% in Silicon Valley (split evenly between the South Bay and the Peninsula), and 3% in the East Bay. There are two new restaurant on the list this year, Kusakabe and Maruya (both Japanese) as well as three upgrades: Saison and Benu now have the elusive 3-star rating and Acquerello was upgraded to 2 stars. No restaurants from 2014 were dropped.

I will also mention that there are some restaurants in the Michelin guide that do not get a star, but are considered "Michelin Recommended." Within this category San Jose scored a total of 10 restaurants:
  • Downtown
    • Vung Tau
    • Back A Yard
  • The Alameda
    • Zona Rosa (NEW)
  • North San Jose
    • Smoking Pig BBQ
  • South San Jose
    • Bun Bo Hue An Nam
    • Thien Long
  • Willow Glen
    • The Table (NEW)
    • Fratello
  • Camden
    • Rangoli
    • Zeni
Zona Rosa and The Table are two well-deserved additions. Unfortunately, there were some restaurants from 2014 that did not make the cut this year: SJ Omogari in Japantown, La Costa in East San Jose, LB Steak in Santana Row, and Pizza Antica which is also in Santana Row. If we don't get some stars, at the very least we'll hopefully get more Michelin Recommended or Bib Gourmand restaurant ratings in 2016. If you haven't been to the restaurants above, I can vouch that all 9 are well worth checking out.

Source: Michelin Guide

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

$120 Million Santana Row Office Project is a Go

Last week Federal Realty started working on their latest project at Santana Row--a six-story 232,000 SQFT office building next to the CineArts Movie Theater. The building is designed with loft-style soaring ceilings and the large floor plates that contemporary Silicon Valley companies love these days. The new office will also add one extra retail space (probably a cafe) and net an additional 500 parking spaces that can be used by shoppers during evenings and weekends.

Also on tap is an additional 500,000 SQFT of office space across two more buildings, one of which features 30,000 SQFT of retail. These are in the city approvals stage, so we won't be seeing shovels for either of them any time soon. When complete, they will finish the original vision for Santana Row. Fortunately, Federal Realty still has plenty of expansion options across the street.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, November 24, 2014

Downtown San Jose Restaurant List Updates! (2014 Edition)

I have finally caught up with updating the Downtown San Jose Restaurants database (it has been a while, sorry about that). We are up to a grand total of 250 eateries! This is yet another record-breaking number for Downtown San Jose! To put it in perspective we were at 206 eateries in 2011.

We are up to an all time high despite some notable closures such as Blackbird Tavern, Bella Mia, and Los Gatos Brewing Company. I'm sad to see those go, but there are so many great places that opened in 2014 that I think more than makes up for the losses. Here are some of the newcomers:
  • C.R.E.A.M - The famous ice cream sandwich chain opens a new shop Downtown on 1st street. Open until 2am on weekends, you will almost always see a line out the door... but don't worry it moves deceptively fast.
  • Paper Plane - Not only do they serve up amazing craft cocktails here, but they have a menu that is up to par with their drinks. Try the deviled eggs and pork belly chicharron.
  • First to Market - Great traditional American cuisine in SoFA, brought to you by one of the same founders as Singlebarrel.
  • Taurinus Brazilian Steakhouse - Downtown gets a Brazilian steakhouse again! Great selection of meats and a sidebar with salads and Brazilian delicacies for when you need to take a protein break.
  • Power Bowl - New healthy offering with Acai-based fruit bowls and smoothies.
  • Garlic Bread - Finally open and providing tasty BBQ in Fountain Alley.
  • Ozu Sushi - Sushi place taking the baton from Smile Sushi.
  • Da Kine Island Grill - Traditional Hawaiian food, often accompanied by music, entertainment, and drinks.
  • Nomikai - Asian tapas and fusion pizzas along with craft drinks.
  • Louisiana Bistro - Cajun delicacies with a nice kick to them.
  • Nick the Greek - Best casual Greek spot in Silicon Valley. Killer food at reasonable prices.
  • Boba Bar Teahouse & Eatery - New Boba spot right next to SJSU.
    • San Pedro Square Market
      • Arepa Swing - Unique Venezuelan arepa eatery.
      • Spuds - Awesome potato bar where you can get everything from BBQ pork potatoes to Italian Pesto potatoes. Great food and great service, one of my new favorites at the SPSM.
    • SoFA Market (NEW!)
      • Falafel Bar - Today's flagship offering at the new SoFA Market. The falafels here are out of this world and you can customize your sandwich or bowl any way you'd like.
      • Vero's Coffee - Yet another outstanding coffee shop Downtown. I recommend the Mexican Mocha.
    • Other Places Coming Soon
      • Ramen Bar and Pizza Place in the SoFA Market
      • M Lounge Bar and Restaurant (in the P.F. Chang Spot)
      • The Continental in SoFA
    Below is the changelog from the Downtown San Jose Restaurants Database:

    1/4/20148 Treasure Restaurant replaced Asian Gourmet at 150 S. First
    1/4/2014Power Bowl is open at 132 E. San Fernando (was once Blendz)
    1/4/2014Ninja Star Sushi closed
    1/4/2014Added Sweet Express to the list
    1/5/2014Ozu Sushi & Grill replaces Smile Sushi
    1/5/2014Tico's Tacos Closed, the oldest Downtown restaurant I had a confirmed opening date for (1957)
    2/9/2014Added First to Market, at 399 S. 1st
    2/9/2014Added hours and Yelp info to CREAM, one of the few dessert shops open late
    2/9/2014Added Louisiana Bistro at 19 N. Market
    3/22/2014Zenon's Peruvian closed on 167 San Fernando but has been replaced with Taurinus Brazilian Steakhouse
    4/28/2014La Victoria is taking over the old Tico's Tacos site at 291 N. Fourth and Julian
    5/11/2014Added M Lounge Bar and Restaurant, which is taking over the P.F. Chang's location at 98 S. 2nd Street
    6/15/2014Added Arepa Swing and Spuds (coming soon), both in the San Pedro Square Market
    6/15/2014Added Nick the Greet at 143 W. Santa Clara St.
    6/15/2014Added Mid GoGo at 185 Park Ave, #189
    6/15/2014Added Cafe Eden at 2 N. 1st St.
    6/15/2014Added Seven Seas Sushi at 130 E. Santa Clara (replaces Ninja Star Sushi)
    6/29/2014House of Siam closed (owners reopening Tee Nee Thai on The Alameda)
    9/29/2014Los Gatos Brewing Company Closed (to be replaced with gaming lounge and bar)
    10/7/2014Blackbird Tavern Closed
    11/22/2014Bella Mia Closed due to escalating rents
    11/22/2014City Restaurant at 301 E. Santa Clara Street replaced with Bobo Drinks
    11/22/2014Hydration replaced with Boba Bar Teahouse & Eatery
    11/22/2014Added Garlic Bread in Fountain Alley

    If you haven't bookmarked it yet, here's the link to the spreadsheet! There is also a permanent link over to the right entitled Downtown San Jose Restaurants.

    Sunday, November 23, 2014

    Celebrate San Jose's Birthday Today!

    Screen Shot 2014 11 16 at 10.04.00 AM resized 600

    Join SPSM and History San Jose for a special family & friends event celebrating San Jose's birthday!

    Co-sponsored by History San Jose and the San Pedro Market

    Location: Peralta-Fallon Historic Site, 175 West Saint John Street
    Cost: Fallon House Tours: HSJ Members Free; 4 & under free; Adults $8; Children (5-17) $5; Hands-on Activity Wristband: HSJ Members Free; $5 all others

    Celebrate San Jose’s 237th Birthday at the Peralta Adobe Historic Site! San Jose, or El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, the first Pueblo of California, was founded November 29, 1777. Come have a slice of birthday cake and help celebrate! Meet members of Founding Families, participate in hands-on activities, and visit the historic Peralta Adobe.

    1:00pm – 4:00pm
    • Live Music by Los ArribeƱos de San Francisco
    • Hands-on Activities: Rope a “bull,” make a corn husk doll, dip a candle, design your own brand!
    • Historical Displays
    • Peralta Adobe Open House

    Celebrate with Cake and Coffee – First Come First Served!

    1:00pm, 2:00pm and 3:00pm

    Three Tours of the Fallon House Leave on the Hour
    Sign up fast! Each tour is limited to 12 visitors.


    Event Ends. Thank you For Coming!

    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    Saturday Stats: #1 Easiest City For Finding a Job

    In order to find the easiest and hardest cities for finding jobs, looked at the population of each metro and compared it to the number of job listings in the area. With 123 advertised jobs for every 1,000 residents, San Jose took the cake by a mile. The runner up was Raleigh, North Carolina with 88 openings for every 1,000 residents. Washington, DC came third (87 jobs per 1,000 residents) followed by Boston (83) and Denver (80).

    Source: Forbes

    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Turkey Trot 2014 Next Week

    The 10th Annual Turkey Trot is taking place next week on Thanksgiving morning. There will be Elite 5k/10k races, a Wheelchair 5k/10k, a Run/Walk 5k, Costume Contests, and a Kid's Fun Run. The race starts at Santa Clara Street at Market and finishes at Santa Clara Street at Delmas with a huge festival at the Guadalupe River Park and Arena Green. Over the past 9 years this event has raised $4 million for local charities. The goal for this year is to raise $1 million!

    For more information and to sign up for the event, head over here!

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Downtown San Jose - Current Development Projects

    The San Jose Downtown Association has released its latest development map showing off the projects in the works today in Downtown San Jose (you will have to click on it to blow it up and get a good look). Blue squares are the four existing Downtown residential high-rises, anything in yellow is currently in development, and purple indicates development sites for future projects.

    There are two surprises on here that Robertee points out. The first is a "Mill Creek" project with 194 units and 3,500 SQFT of retail a few doors down from the San Pedro Square Market in what is currently a parking lot. This should be a great infill project to continue accelerating the traction in the San Pedro area. The second is a Park & Almaden 5-story office project, which would be the first major office project in Downtown San Jose in over a decade. This new office would replace a super-ugly abandoned two story building that looks like a jail.

    If half of the projects on this map come to fruition, it will already have a dramatic impact to Downtown San Jose.

    Source: Robertee from the San Jose Development Forum

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    Future of VTA Light Rail

    Last week there was a "Future of VTA Light Rail" presentation to SPUR San Jose. Below are the slides. Here are some interesting notes:

    • Light Rail has 35,000 average daily riders, 62 stations, 79.6 miles of track, and 100 trains
    • The most used stations are San Antonio, Santa Clara (both in Downtown San Jose), and Tasman
    • Compared to other systems of similar size, boardings per mile are quite low and farebox recovery is the second lowest in the country (only DART in Dallas is lower)
    • The current goals of VTA Light Rail are to increase ridership, speed up the system, spend money wisely, and be more relevant to the needs of the Valley
    • Recommended Capital Improvements
      • Grade separation on North First and Montague Expressway
      • Fencing North First to increase top speed from 35 MPH to 45 MPH
      • Pocket track at Ohlone/Chynoweth
      • New Great America Station
      • SJSU Extension to 11th Street (???)
      • Almaden Branch, Mountain View, and Vasono Double Track
      • Use bollards to separate tracks in Downtown San Jose and speed up trains
    • Mountain View Double track to be completed by the end of 2015
    • Levi's Stadium events are attracting 8,000-9,000 boardings on game days

    Source: I Heart SJ

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Vogliazzo Home About to be Torn Down

    A historic Neo-classical home at 152 Terraine Street (across from the San Pedro Square Market) is scheduled to be torn down on November 30th to make way for Silvery Towers. In order to preserve this property built back in 1912, a group from Little Italy San Jose have put together a campaign to get the house moved to a lot on the Guadalupe River Park right next to Little Italy. For more information on the history of the house, a rare look inside, and the location of the move, please watch the short video below.

    Please help us save this historic Vogliazzo home at 152 Terraine Street from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

    This historic home is about to be demolished to make way for a high rise building in San Jose. Please help us save this home by moving it to Little Italy San Jose.

    To make a donation:

    For more information please contact:

    Executive Director
    (408) 394-2893

    Assistant Director

    TWO BUCK Tuesday Today at KALEID Gallery

    If you are interested in killer local art deals, you have to check out TWO BUCK Tuesday at KALEID (88 South Fourth Street, next to Flames). There will be live demos and painting by over a dozen artists and the best part is that you can purchase original works for the ultra-reasonable price of $2. There will also be live music and cheesecakes for sale. More info below!
    Join us for our monthly artist and quirky people get together featuring live art, demos, live music and $2 original art to take home!

    Tuesday November 18th, 7–10pm, free & all ages.

    Live painting and demos by:
    KALEIDlogo_160Jeffrey Bramschreiber
    Brandon Anderton
    Gianfranco Paolozzi
    Mark Martinez
    Michael David Denning
    Al Preciado, Jay Cee and Nekyua
    James Pollard
    Noggin Mojica
    Erica Arteya
    Steve Borelli
    Jennifer Blake
    April Burton
    Darius Alexander
    Dave Mejia
    Vanessa Callanta
    and Alexander Creationz will have delicious cheesecakes for sale

    Music by DJ Blaze

    88 South Fourth Street (@ San Fernando)
    San Jose, CA 95112

    Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, noon -7pm
    Free admission

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    New BART to Downtown San Jose Proposal

    The largest public transit project in the Bay Area is rapidly moving forward, but there is one major hiccup for Phase II of BART's extension to the South Bay. Phase I is fully funded and should be completed no later than 2018, running BART mass transit trains to both Milpitas and Berryessa. Phase II--which includes stations at Alum Rock, Downtown San Jose, Diridon, and Santa Clara--is now at risk of losing a huge chunk of Federal Funding. Timing is absolutely critical here. The project needs to enter the Federal New Starts Program by the end of 2014, or $1.1 billion of funding could be cut from the project, putting the whole phase at risk.

    A four station Phase II BART extension will cost $4.7 billion. That breaks down into $1.1 billion from the Federal New Starts Program, $1.4 billion from Measure A, and a whopping $3 billion is unaccounted for. This puts the project at a high risk of being rejected by the Federal New Starts Program and we would likely need new substantial taxes to fund the $3 billion gap.

    So here is the new proposal to get things off the ground and secure most of the funding within the next two months. Let's only build two station in Phase II: Downtown San Jose and Diridon. These will be by far the most utilized stations in the South Bay extension and would result in substantially reducing the cost of Phase II. The total cost would now become $3.4 billion, $1.1 billion from the Federal New Starts Program, $1.4 billion from Measure A, and a $1.7 billion gap. Since more than 50% of the project would be funded, it would greatly improve our chances of getting federal funding.

    Personally, while I would love to have the full four stations now... I would gladly take these two over no extension at all (or one delayed to 2030). The Alum Rock and Santa Clara stations could be built in a future Phase III. In fact, my dream scenario for Phase III would be these two stations plus a further extension up north to Levi's Stadium/Great America, Mountain View, and Palo Alto.

    We have to start somewhere. What do you guys think about dropping two stations temporarily in order to ensure BART connects with Silicon Valley's urban core?

    Sunday, November 16, 2014

    Lord of the Rings Trilogy with Live Orchestra at Symphony Silicon Valley

    One weekend to rule them all.

    Symphony Silicon Valley, Chorale, and Howard Shore (composer of the award-winning Lord of the Rings soundtrack) presents an epic weekend of the entire trilogy complete with a LIVE orchestra. 

    And it'll be in downtown San Jose, April 2015. 

    So before I get any further into this post - full disclosure - I'm doing a little bit of work related to this event. So when I found out about it I immediately knew that our readers at The San Jose Blog would love to hear about it. Of course, if you hadn't already via the front page news on The San Jose Mercury News or other media outlets like Twitter, etc, that have since spread the news.

    That said - I really wanted to write about it. I've seen the movies, but never read the books. However, my husband is the big fan. He's read the books, seen the movies umpteen times, and back when Return of the King premiered, he and a friend went to an all day marathon screening of all the films back to back. 

    So our household is very familiar with the Lord of the Rings. And perhaps needless to say, my husband is *very* interested in this news. 

    Even though the event doesn't happen until April, the tickets are already going fast. My husband has already noted to me that this would make a great Christmas gift for him. He actually said to me, "Wink wink, nudge nudge." Yeah ok, hubs. I got it. 

    The epic event happens in two different cycles to choose from:

    Lord of the Rings Cycle 1:

    April 16, 2015 7:00 pm The Fellowship of the Ring April 17, 2015 7:00 pm The Two Towers April 18, 2015 7:00 pm The Return of the King
    April 19, 2015 1:00 pm The Two Towers
    April 19, 2015 6:30 pm The Return of the King

    Lord of the Rings Cycle 2

    April 18, 2015 1:00 pm The Fellowship of the Ring

    Tickets for all three films are sold in a package at $330, $240, and $150. Single (film) tickets may be available for any remaining seats at a future date: $120, $90, and $60. 

    The San Jose Center for the Performing Arts is located at 255 S. Almaden Blvd, San Jose, CA 95113.

    Lara Ruggles Playing at San Jose's RAW: CURRENT Showcase at Motif Lounge Wednesday, November 19 starting at 8pm

    When Denver singer-songwriter Lara Ruggles toured the West Coast with her tour manager, photographer and boyfriend Art Heffron for the first time this February, their computers, camera gear, and all her clothing were stolen from their rental car in San Francisco mid-journey. But they kept going in spite of the setback, finishing out the tour and celebrating Art’s birthday – sans stolen birthday presents – in Los Angeles.

    Things can only go up from there, so Lara’s hitting the road again in November for her Give:Voice tour and playing up and down the coast of California following the release of a new video, recorded live with her band in a magical Denver backyard.

    Lara’s gearing up for the release of her debut full-length album, Cynics and Saints, on Immersive Records in early 2015. With the support of a strong Colorado community, she’s prepared to make waves in new places leading up to its launch.

    “I don’t think I realized how much our community was there for us until our stuff got stolen,” she says. “It’s easy to get jaded when you’re just making enough to get you to the next show, and you’re like, is anyone really listening? Would anyone care if I just packed up and quit singing? But the way people responded [to the theft], that was my silver lining.”

    Within a week of the theft, Lara and Art’s community had raised over $4000 in paypal donations, and they were able to replace their computers when they returned home to Denver.  The support of their community wasn’t the only positive outcome of the February tour – it also began a partnership with ridesharing app Lyft that resulted in Lara being featured on billboards and buses as part of their “More Than a Ride” campaign.

    Lara started driving for Lyft in January to save money for a tour, and “I thought I’d have a little fun with it and take the pink mustache on tour with me.” She and Art sent the resulting photos to Lyft, who in turn helped out with the expenses of their West Coast tour. Then, when Lyft was looking for a musician to round out its campaign featuring Lyft “creatives”, they knew just who to call.

    Still, the roller coaster has its ups and downs. Lara began 2014 opening for Nina Storey’s New Year’s Eve show in Denver, and went on to play a set at South by Southwest in March. This summer she was invited to open for Colbie Caillat and Head and the Heart’s Josiah Johnson with Carleigh Aikins, as well as added to the lineup of a new locals-only festival at Colorado’s famed outdoor amphitheater Mishawaka, but all three opportunities fell through last-minute. “I try to see those things as reasons why it’s worth it to keep doing this instead of the other way around,“ she says. “It’s an affirmation that there’s a positive response to the music, and there’s something there that people are connecting with.”

    And even those disappointments have their upsides. Having led youth arts programs for years and seen firsthand the difference the arts can make, Lara has long held a vision of donating to organizations that bring the arts to youth. “I decided it was time to stop waiting to meet a certain threshold,” she says. So the “Give:Voice” tour will be the pilot of the “Give:Voice” initiative, through which Lara will donate 10% of her CD sales and tips to youth arts organizations in each city she visits. Details can be found on her website,  

    Saturday, November 15, 2014

    North San Jose's Renovation Row

    Have a look at the map below from the Silicon Valley Business Journal showcasing just how much existing office space in North San Jose has either recently been renovated or is currently in the process of being renovated. About 2.4 million SQFT of R&D facilities have been renovated over the last two years, and 1.4 million SQFT of that is on Orchard Parkway ("Renovation Row").

    Source: SVBJ

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    Santana Row November 2014 Happenings And a Look Ahead to December and Beyond

    San Jose, CA –The holiday rush is about to hit and Santana Row is ready to celebrate! The annual tree-lighting event, a favorite South Bay tradition for families, will have extra bright wattage this year with a special appearance by Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers. Thanksgiving weekend starts with Black Friday shopping specials and an early morning kick-off for the annual “One Warm Coat” drive with KTVU South Bay reporter Janine De La Vega. In December, there is the annual Menorah Lighting ceremony, a benefit holiday wine stroll and Santa Paws, a photo event for pets with proceeds going to the Silicon Valley Humane Society.
    Round Trip Shuttle to Levi’s Stadium
    Service provided for all San Francisco 49ers home games: Nov. 23 (Washington), Nov. 27, (Seattle),Dec. 20 (San Diego), Dec. 28 (Cardinals)
    Take the stress out of driving to the new stadium and finding a parking spot on game days by taking the Santana Row shuttle! Make your individual or group reservation online and you’ll be set to go. Ticket are $40 per person.
    Buses leave Santana Row approximately two  game time and depart the stadium one hour after the game ends. Your ticket includes free parking in a special reserved lot for immediate access to the buses and the round trip to and from the game. Also included: Santana Row shopping and dining specials at select restaurants, such as bottomless mimosas, prix fixe menus, private tailgate pre-parties with cash bar and extended happy hour offerings.
    Santana Row Pick-Up Location:
 When you arrive at Santana Row, park your vehicle in the designated, secured parking lot located off Hatton Street, behind the Levare residential complex. Registration and buses are in front of CineArts Theatre. Buses will depart at the scheduled time, two hours before kick-off and will not wait for passengers.
    Levi’s Stadium Drop-Off Location
The bus will park at the official shuttle drop-off location at Levi’s Stadium. One hour after the conclusion of the game, the bus will depart from the same location. All passengers not on bus at the specified departure time will not receive transportation back to Santana Row. For more information, go or contact the Concierge Office: 408.551.4611.

    Cars & Croissants
    Fourth Saturday of the month: Nov. 22 and Dec. 27
    9 a.m. to noon
    Santana Row partners with 100 OCT to present Cars & Croissants on The Row, a monthly gathering for exotic car owners and car enthusiasts. On the fourth Saturdayof the month through December, exotic car owners are invited to park on Santana Row Boulevard from Alyssum Lane to Tatum Boulevard, display their cars and mingle with other enthusiasts. The morning meet-up for coffee, croissants and cars drew 400 people and 60 cars during the first event and continues to grow in popularity. This event is free and open to the public.
    Santana Row’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
    With Special Appearance by Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers
    Tuesday, Nov. 18, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    Santana Row’s 2014 annual tree-lighting ceremony gets an extra bit of dazzle this year with Vernon Davis, who will help kick off the holiday season at The Row.
    The much-anticipated day of seasonal festivities begins at 5 p.m. with pre-show entertainment featuring The Dance Zone, The Harker School, Lincoln High School and more. Santa photos will be taken in an antique fire engine and benefits Toys for Tots and the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts.
    The fun continues into the evening with live music, costumed characters, special guests and a selection of performances by local theater and dance groups. Guest performers include David del Rio from the Nickelodeon series, The Troop; dancers from Ballet San Jose’s The Nutcracker and singers from Children’s Musical Theatre’s Mary Poppins.
    The highlight of the event takes place at 7 p.m. in Santana Row Park with the lighting of the 40-foot Christmas tree featuring Vernon Davis, mascot Sourdough Sam and the 49er Gold Rush cheerleaders.
    Enter for a chance to win a signed Vernon Davis jersey by purchasing a $10 raffle ticket at Davis will draw the winning ticket during the ceremony and all proceeds will be donated to the foundation.
    Many of the restaurants will offer dining specials, kid-friendly menus and holiday-themed cocktails during the day. In-store parties, hot chocolate sampling, cookies and appetizers will also add to the festivities.
    For those in the mood to start their holiday shopping, spend $150 at The Row before, during or after the tree-lighting ceremony and receive two tickets to Ballet San Jose’s The Nutcracker. Present your receipts to the Santana Row Concierge.
    Details: The celebration is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with tree-lighting slated for 7 p.m. in Santana Row Park. For more details, go to
    On Your Mark, Get Set, Let’s Shop! Black Friday events at Santana Row
    Friday, Nov. 28, 6 a.m.
    The day-after-Thanksgiving shopping tradition at Santana Row begins early and includes discounts, door buster morning specials and treats throughout the day.
    Spend $1,000 or more on Black Friday and receive two tickets to the San Francisco performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios. Many stores are offering customers 25 percent to 70 percent off merchandise all weekend with giveaways such as free totes, gift cards with purchase and holiday refreshments throughout each day.
    Santana Row's general hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Black Friday, with many stores opening early and extending hours during the weekend. For a comprehensive listing of retail and restaurant events and offerings, visit
    Santana Row holiday hours:
    Christmas Eve: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Christmas: Closed
    New Year’s Eve: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    New Year’s Day: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    “One Warm Coat” Drop-off with live broadcast by KTVU
    Friday, Nov. 28 is the kickoff date; drive continues through Dec. 31
    The annual coat drive begins the morning after Thanksgiving with KTVU’s South Bay reporter Janine de la Vega broadcasting live throughout the day from Santana Row Park. Donate a new or gently used coat and it will be given to a needy family this winter. The first 100 people to donate a coat will receive a $10 Santana Row Gift Card. Drop-off locations include CineArts Theatre, Crate & Barrel, Sur La Table and the Santana Row Concierge. The charity coat drive continues through Dec. 31. For more information call408.551.4611 or visit
    Rainy Day Rewards, Nov. 1 through March 31, 2015
    Santana Row is optimistic that rain is on the way and wants to reward shoppers and diners braving bad weather. When there’s a 70 percent or greater chance for rain, they will be offered discounts that include 15 percent off purchases at participating shops and restaurants, a free signature Santana Row golf umbrella for customers who spend $150 anywhere on The Row and a $20 gift certificate to a participating shop or restaurant for customers who spend $300 on a designated Rainy Day.
    No need to get wet: Customers can pick up a complimentary umbrella to use while shopping and dining and then return it before leaving. The yellow umbrellas are conveniently located throughout The Row: outside Concierge, Via between Village California Bistro and Lark Creek Blue and the valet parking lot in the Winchester Garage.
    A look ahead to December and beyond…
    “Shop, Enjoy and Give” Holiday Wine & Dine Around
    A Benefit for Second Harvest Food Bank
    Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23
    Help those in need while you complete your holiday shopping during Santana Row’s “Shop, Enjoy & Give” event that benefits Second Harvest Food Bank. Purchase a $15 ticket on or at the Concierge center and receive complimentary food and wine tastings in Santana Row shops and restaurants between 6 and 8 p.m. on designated Tuesdays. Also included: a signature Santana Row wine glass and exclusive holiday shopping discounts. Bring a donation of canned food when you purchase your ticket and receive $2 off the ticket. (Customers must be 21 years or older.)
    Menorah Lighting at Park Valencia
    Wednesday, Dec. 17, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    Santana Row celebrates the first night of the Jewish Festival of Lights with kosher treats, entertainment and activities that include decorating dreidels, Jewish story time, arts & crafts and the lighting of the Menorah. The evening is co-hosted with the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley and The PJ Library. The celebration will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Park Valencia.
    Santa Paws, a Benefit for Humane Society Silicon Valley
    Dec. 7, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Bring your canine and feline friends to Santana Row's Park Valencia for a keepsake photo with Santa Claus. Photos are $20 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Humane Society Silicon Valley. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. at Park Valencia.
    Mommy & Me and Daddies, Too: “Celebrate the Season”
    Tuesday, Dec. 9, 10 a.m. to noon
    The last Mommy & Me of the year will be held in the lobby of the CineArts Theatre and will include live entertainment from Andy Z, story time with Mrs. Claus, sampling from Happy Baby Brands, mini manicures from Lavande nail salon, a raffle from The Container Store, arts and crafts with Action Day Primary Plus, Balloon Animals and Face Painting and more!
    Details: 10 a.m. to noon at CineArts Theatre. Mommy & Me & Daddies, Too is a free kids’ club held on the second Tuesday of every month from May through December. For more information, call 408.551.4611 or visit

    New Year’s Eve at Hotel Valencia
    Wednesday, December 31
    Bid farewell to 2014 and welcome 2015 with a fabulous New Year’s Eve hotel package or toast the new year in style at Citrus restaurant with the “Savor the Night” dinner package.
    The Ultimate New Year's Eve Celebration Package includes:
    •       Contemporary guest room for two
    •       Champagne upon arrival
    •       Admission to the New Year’s Eve Valencia Gala featuring a DJ, champagne toast and midnight snack and dessert bar
    •       Grand deluxe breakfast with mimosas, served on New Year's Day
    •       Late check out at 1 p.m.
    Rates start at $360 per room, per night, double occupancy; additional guests are $75 per person and rooms are subject to maximum occupancy. New Year’s Eve party events will be exclusive to hotel guests who have booked these packages.
    Savor the Night Dinner Package, New Year's Eve at Citrus Restaurant
    Savor an exclusive five-course experience and champagne toast in the luxury of award-winning restaurant, Citrus.
    The dinner package includes admission to the New Year’s Eve Valencia Gala which features a DJ, champagne toast and a midnight snack and dessert bar.
    Price is $170 per person, inclusive of taxes and gratuities. Advance reservations and pre-payment required. Call 408.423.5405 for information.
    Twitter Promotion @SantanaRow invites Tweets and Instagram tags
    For a Chance to Win Gift Cards to Restaurants at The Row
    Santana Row’s Twitter campaign and photo contest continues through the @SantanaRow Twitter handle. The contest invites anyone at Santana Row to Tweet or Instagram photos of a new outfit, haircut, meal, event or artsy shots and then tag it with the hash tag #LifeonTheRow. Every month, Santana Row will post an album on Facebook with all of the photos with the #LifeonTheRow hash tag. The person who took the best or most original photo will win a gift card to a Santana Row restaurant.

    About Santana Row
    Santana Row, a 647,000 square foot mixed-use development in San Jose, CA, is Silicon Valley’s premier destination for shopping, dining, living and working. Santana Row features over 70 shops, 20 restaurants, a boutique hotel and movie theatre. In addition to the dynamic retail & restaurant collection, Santana Row offers 615 luxury rental homes, 219 privately owned condos and 65,000 square feet of Class A office space. Santana Row is a property of, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, please visit
    About Federal Realty
    Federal Realty Investment Trust is an equity real estate investment trust specializing in the ownership, management, development, and redevelopment of high quality retail assets. Federal Realty's portfolio (excluding joint venture properties) contains approximately 20 million square feet located primarily in strategically selected metropolitan markets in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and California. In addition, the Trust has an ownership interest in approximately 1.0 million square feet of retail space through a joint venture in which the Trust has a 30% interest. Our operating portfolio (excluding joint venture properties) was 95.3% leased to national, regional, and local retailers as of June 30, 2014, with no single tenant accounting for more than approximately 3.2% of annualized base rent. Federal Realty has paid quarterly dividends to its shareholders continuously since its founding in 1962, and has increased its dividend rate for 47 consecutive years, the longest record in the REIT industry. Federal Realty is an S&P MidCap 400 company and its shares are traded on the NYSE under the symbol FRT.

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Sourisseau News: Port SAN-O-SAY

    Boat rentals in San Jose? The Guadalupe Lake? Check out the latest edition of the Sourisseau News bellow for a dose of super-interesting San Jose history. The video is only 2 minutes long and will leave you wondering what San Jose would be like if the Guadalupe Dam was never taken down.

    Port SAN-O-SAY from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    November 2014 Downtown Dimension Highlights

    Here are my notes from the latest edition of Downtown Dimension:
    • Nine pop-up shops will be open during Downtown San Jose's holiday season when more than half a million people come to visit. The new shops will be placed in vacant or underutilized indoor and outdoor spaces like the former San Jose Rep lobby. The lineup includes:
      • Therethere - unique graphic T-shirts created by local artists
      • Underground: A Fashion Boutique - men's and women's clothing and accessories
      • San Jose Bike Clinic and Cowgirl Bike Couriers - bike repair and education
      • The Usuals - apparel, accessories, and gifts
      • SJ MADE Playspace - trunk shows
      • San Jose Earthquakes - soccer merchandise and Earthquakes ticket sales
      • Empire Seven Studios - art gallery
      • The DH Company - unique sports apparel
      • First Article - Bay Area designed men's wear
    • The iconic Downtown Ice rink returns on November 14th to the Circle of Palms at 120 S. Market.
    • After 50 years at I-880 near Brokaw, The Mercury News has finally moved back Downtown into offices at 4 N. Second Street.
    • The Fountain Restaurant now features fresh new decor after a three-week renovation.
    • ThirdSpace Fitness opened at 550 S. First after a four-month renovation.
    • Whole Foods is opening on Dec. 9th at 777 The Alameda! The 35,000 SQFT store includes the first in-store microbrewery/tap room in a California Whole Foods.
    • The Glass House is a new social center at 2 S. Market that can host parties and events of up to 1,200 people.
    • The SJDA is $100K in the black for FY13-14! The allows the association to invest in some new infrastructure for Downtown Ice this year.
    To read the full newsletter, click here!

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    96th Annual Veteran's Day Parade

    Today marks a tradition almost 100 years old in San Jose, a Veteran's Day Parade. Below is a list of street closures Downtown to support the parade. The parade stats at Plaza de Cesar Chavez at 11am (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year). This is one of the largest parades in all of Northern California.

    Road Closures
    • 7am: Easternmost portion of Park Ave. at S. Market St. closes for reviewing stand setup. Eastbound Park Avenue will remain open at all times from Almaden Blvd. to the break in the median strip and u-turn will continue open westbound for access to Park Center Plaza garage (main driveway). Westbound Park will be closed from Market St. to break in the median.
    • 9am: Parade staging area closes: Autumn St., from Santa Clara to St. John, Santa Clara from 87 to Montgomery, Delmas Ave. from Santa Clara to San Fernando, and Santa Clara, from Montgomery to Cahill.
    • 9am-2:45pm: Santa Clara St. off ramp from northbound Rt. 87 closes.
    • 10:45am: For the Ceremony; southbound lanes of S. Market St. close from San Fernando to San Carlos.
    • 11:20am-2pm: Parade route closes: Santa Clara St. from 87 to First, S. Market St. from St. John to San Carlos, side streets one block to either side of Parade route.

    Monday, November 10, 2014

    Downtown San Jose Now Has 100+ Tech Companies! - The Latest Addition is Datawise Systems

    Downtown has become a haven for tech start-ups. With available office space of all sizes, access to multiple types of public transit, tons of urban amenities, and suburban housing less than a mile away for workers with families... this is an ideal location for high-growth tech companies. A year ago Downtown had around 80 tech companies... now we're at 100+!!!

    Over the last year there have been 150 new office leases Downtown. We have had 7 quarters in a row of positive net absorption of office space, bringing us down from 25.54% vacancy 17 months ago to 18.39% today. Also over those 17 months, Downtown has netted 233,897 SQFT of new tech tenants.

    The latest tech company to move here is Datawise Systems, a startup in stealth mode that was founded by a team from Cisco, VERITAS, and VMware. They are moving into 10,000 SQFT at 111 N. Market Street. Originally they looked at the entire corridor from Palo Alto to San Jose. Their key criteria were close proximity to Caltrain, located in or near a downtown area, expansion capabilities, and reasonable pricing. Downtown San Jose hit all of those and is high-tech friendly to boot (no Google bus protests here).

    BTW, Datawise is hiring hardware and software engineers as well as storage and networking architects that want to "put a dent on the universe." If you are interested in learning more, email

    Source: SJ Economy Newsletter, SVBJ