Monday, April 6, 2015

New Retail Pads Coming to the San Pedro Garage!

Let's start the week off right with some news that will add even more traction to the booming San Pedro Square area! Before the San Pedro Square Market, San Pedro was already one of the few areas Downtown with substantial contiguous retail (almost exclusively devoted to restaurants). The only problem was that all of the retail was on a single side of the street with the exception of the intersection of Santa Clara and San Pedro.

Now that the a proposal by the San Jose Downtown Association won a $139,000 grant from the Knight Foundation via the Knight Cities Challenge, a project called San Pedro Squared is moving forward that will forever change the street. The ground floor of the drab San Pedro Garage closest to the San Pedro Square Market is going to get four retail pads, each taking up two parking spaces in the garage and creating 400 SQFT of new retail. These could be used for micro-restaurants, pop-up shops, or retail. See the conceptual artwork by our friend Adam Mayberry below.

Not only will this add more retail to Downtown's hottest district, but it will make the street much more pedestrian friendly. If things go well, more of the garage may be converted to retail in the future.

It's amazing how the San Pedro Square Market has transformed this whole area. Think back to what this district was like before the Market... now imagine a near future where we have San Pedro Squared, retail on the ground floor of Centerra, 20,000 SQFT of retail at Silvery Towers, and an official San Pedro Square Market expansion on St. John. Downtown Boosters has a lot to look forward to!

Oh, and another San Jose project was one of the 36 winners of the Knight Cities Challenge--and there were over 7,000 submissions. "Houslets" by Tim McCormic received $40,000 to allow for prototyping and deploying low-cost modular housing for both temporary and affordable housing.

For more info on the exciting San Pedro Squared project, check out the press release below the drawings!

Downtown San Jose garage to receive “facelift”
as winner of the Knight Cities Challenge
SAN JOSE, Calif. – March 31, 2015 – The San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA) announced today that it plans to retrofit part of a parking garage, replacing parking spots with retail shops facing San Pedro Square.

SJDA will receive $139,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Cities Challenge to implement the project at the Market-San Pedro Garage.  Four 400-square-foot retail outlets will fit into eight parking stalls that front the east side of San Pedro Street at sidewalk level.

The Knight Cities Challenge is funding ideas to make the 26 cities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.  The challenge asks innovators to answer the question:  What's your best idea to make cities more successful?  More at

“Activating street-level spaces in the garage will contribute to the district’s popularity just as new high-rise residential developments near the square are opening,” said Scott Knies, SJDA executive director.

Lined with restaurants such as Peggy Sue’s, The Farmers’ Union, O’Flaherty’s, Old Spaghetti Factory, 71 St. Peter, Old Wagon and the San Pedro Square Market, the west side of the block of San Pedro Street between Santa Clara and St. John streets is one of the busiest downtown.  Fewer pedestrians stroll the opposite side, where the garage sits.

SJDA and the city’s Office of Economic Development (OED) introduced last year shipping containers as retail stores with its nine-store “Pop-Up Project” along Paseo de San Antonio and other downtown locations.

“The project has the potential to create a model for awakening street life and bringing new economic opportunities to neighborhoods, while fostering connections between residents by providing vibrant places to meet and interact,” said Danny Harris, Knight Foundation program director for San Jose.

The project will begin immediately.  The City’s Department of Transportation, which owns the garage, and OED are collaborating on the project.  Plans call for minimal demolition, awnings, other fa├žade improvements, sidewalk improvements and street paint, said Jason Su, SJDA street life project manager.  Local businesses and property owners have already expressed support for the project, Su added.

About the San Jose Downtown Association:
The San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA) is a nonprofit group of business and property owners working to improve the vitality and livability of downtown San Jose. SJDA advocates on issues that affect downtown business and property owners; enhances the image of downtown and attract new visitors through year-round marketing, public relations, and special events; and makes improvements to downtown’s cleanliness, security and aesthetics.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit


  1. Very cool! This is exactly what we need, interesting solutions for buildings that are already in place. On another note, any idea what's going in the retail spots in One South Market?

  2. Next step -- close down San Pedro to vehicular traffic.

  3. I would agree, if it's possible, less traffic down San Pedro would be nice.

  4. I'm glad they will finally put some more food options over in this area, clearly something the entire San Pedro neighborhood is lacking...
    When I read "retail spaces" my first thought was that these would be stores, but no one buys anything but food through a window facing the street....or maybe I'm wrong, what else do people buy through windows?
    Seems like they could just pull some food trucks inside the garage and position them at these holes and you would have the same thing - and they could be different options every day. That would cost very little, the remainder of this grant money could be spent on the Homeless issues downtown.