Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Samsung's New San Jose Headquarters is Complete!

Last week Samsung officially unveiled their new 1.1 million SQFT North American Headquarters in San Jose. The ten story main building (technically two connected towers) is state-of-the-art. Each floor is no more than one staircase away from expansive outdoor gardens, the floor plates are huge, ceilings are high on every floor, and the campus has every amenity you can think of (yes, that is a putting green in the sky photographed below). 700 employees have already moved in, but the building will accommodate up to 2,000 workers.

Check out some of the best photos I have found of the new campus below.

Source: CNET

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Curry Up Now and Mortar & Pestle Now Open in North San Jose!

Finally, San Jose has gotten a Curry Up Now brick & mortar restaurant! Curry Up Now has been one of my favorite food trucks for years and I was elated when they built their first restaurant near my work in San Mateo. They went on to open two additional restaurants in San Francisco and Palo Alto, but have saved the best for San Jose.

Ideally situated in the Golden Triangle, San Jose's Curry Up Now is the largest with 160 seats. Of course it offers all of their favorites such as their famous Tikka Masala Burritos, Sexy Fries, Deconstructed Samosas, and Naughty Naan--however, there will be some new items exclusive to San Jose. The San Jose location will be the only one to offer Brunch, and they created an assortment of specialties for the occasion like the Bird's Nest Samosa (photo below) and Indian-style crepes.

It gets better. The San Jose location also has a Mortar & Pestle, their Indian-themed craft cocktail bar. The only other one that exists is in San Mateo, and it's my favorite bar on the Peninsula. The drinks are designed to be paired with spicy Indian dishes and have unique flavors I have not had at any other bar before. The drinks are outstanding and are worth a trip in and of themselves.

Curry up Now is located at 3250 Zanker Road, near Patxi's and Wahoo's. The restaurant is open 11am-10pm Monday through Thursday, 11am-11pm on Friday, 9am to 11pm on Saturday, and 9am-9pm on Sunday.

Source: Eat - Drink - Play

Monday, September 28, 2015

New Tech Campus Coming to Downtown San Jose!!!

Downtown San Jose is growing by leaps and bounds when it comes to residential development and retail, but has not been getting a lot of love from commercial developers. That is going to change with a very exciting project on Santa Clara street near Diridon station and the SAP Center.

Trammel Crow is a developer that acquired an 8.5 acre plot of land from Adobe for $58.5 million. Adobe was planning to build an expansion of their headquarters in this area, but instead reconfigured their existing three towers to support a larger number of employees (no more private offices for every employee). I think it was actually for the better. While I'm a huge fan of Adobe and believe they play a vital role Downtown, if they were to build out their expansion it would likely not have been very inclusive to the whole community. Trammel Crow on the other hand is planning the exact opposite.

I'm going to start with the quote from the developer that Nathan ended his SVBJ article with:

"We’ve committed ourselves to making it iconic," he said. "We think it will be a landmark in the South Bay."

Iconic sounds right. Trammel Crow want to build 800,000 SQFT of office space across two buildings 10-12 stories tall. This would be a 10% expansion of all the office space currently in Downtown San Jose today and the first major office project to break ground since 2010. 400,000 SQFT of the project would be built speculatively without requiring a signed tenant. This would also be Class A++ premium office space with huge 40,000 SQFT floor plates and soaring ceilings popular with tech companies.

There would be 325 apartment units in a separate nine-story building. The whole site would be sprinkled with shops and restaurants and even feature a large public plaza along West Santa Clara Street. The beautiful and historic San Jose Water Company building would be renovated and repurposed. 2,400 parking spaces would be built to support the whole project, mostly underground... but hopefully most people won't be driving here.

A big attraction to this spot for the developer is the access to transit at Diridon Station. They are even tentatively calling the project #Diridon. With Caltrain, Light Rail, Capital Corridor, ACE, and a VTA bus hub, this is already one of the most important transit hubs in California. In the future Diridon will also be getting multiple Bus Rapid Transit lines, BART, and California High-Speed Rail. Even the $2 billion Transbay Terminal will not be as well connected as Diridon.

Trammel is expecting to get their building permits in Q1 2016, start construction in the summer, and have the first office building ready for occupancy by the end of 2017. The apartments are slated for 2018. They are also promising a signature look that will make the project a South Bay landmark. I cant's wait to see the first drawings for this!

Source: SVBJ, Hat tip to Josh Russell for sending this in!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

San Jose's Velostrata Raises $14M

Velostrata is a tech company that enables network admins to easily move virtual machines on their network into the cloud. Their software runs on top of VMware, and makes moving servers into the cloud as easy as right-clicking.

The San Jose company--which is headquartered at 2880 Zanker Road--has operated in stealth mode for over a year and is just now announcing a $14 million funding round. This goes to show that San Jose has tech startups as well, not just established companies.

Velostrata has a total of 25 employees, with plans to grow to 40 within a year. They also have an office in Tel Aviv.

Source: VentureBeat

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Camera 12 Cinemas Getting 3-Screen Barco Escape Technology

Barco Escape is an immersive movie experience that uses three separate screens to wrap a film around the audience. It was used to highlight a few a few shorts during the last Cinequest Film Festival, but is now making its way into the mainstream.

Last week, Camera 12 was one of only 20 theaters in the country to use the technology for a full-length film: Maze Runner 2: The Scorch Trials. During the movie there are almost 23 minutes of footage that make full use of all three screens. The rest of the time, the screens are used for effects that help keep the audience immersed (such as dust storms). Camera 12 is the only theater in Silicon Valley with Barco Escape. You can get your tickets to see the film over here!

The technology will also be featured on two independent films during the 2016 Cinequest Film Festival.

Source: SVBJ

Friday, September 25, 2015

Google Eyeing North San Jose!

First Apple, and now Google. Momentum is quickly building in North San Jose for anchor tech companies! With little room to grow in Mountain View, Google has finally decided to consider office space in San Jose.

The company is planning to start with about 150,000 SQFT. If things go well, I would not be surprised if they expanded. North San Jose has millions and maybe even tens of millions of SQFT worth of potential office development. The SiliconBeat article also references the BART extension in Milpitas and Berryessa as one of the reasons why the North San Jose office market will get hotter over time. Completely agree. BART is going to be a huge amenity for East Bay commuters that Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Cupertino will not have easy access to.

Source: SiliconBeat

Thursday, September 24, 2015

NextEV (Chinese Tesla Competitor) Building R&D in San Jose

There is a little known fact that before purchasing the NUMMI plant, Tesla was trying to build their factory in North San Jose. Since they would not qualify for federal incentives at that location, the deal fell through. However, Tesla still does have some history with San Jose as they chose to open the first Tesla Store in San Jose--which is still considered to be the United States flagship store. I should also note that they are rumored to be seeking office space in San Jose.

Well, it turns out Tesla won't be the only electric vehicle (EV) company in town for very long. A Chinese company called NextEV has selected North San Jose as their location for a significant R&D center. The company already has a supercar that competes in the Formula E racing series. Now their goal is to manufacture a mass-market electric car in 2017 for the Chinese market as well as a US-bound electric car in 2019. The company seems pretty serious unlike previous EV companies like Coda. They have hired a former CEO of Maserati and poached employees from both Tesla and BMW.

NextEV has leased a 85,000 SQFT building at 3200 North First Street. The R&D center will focus on "connected car" functionality. Manufacturing will be done in China while car design will be handled in Germany.

Now all we need is an Apple facility for their future self-driving cars as well as a relocation of the Tesla Headquarters to San Jose--then we'll have hands-down the EV capital of the world.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: More Public Art

A few weeks ago I was in Vancouver and was surprised at the amount of public art around the city. Below is one example that I really loved. This piece turns a bland, windowless side of a building into an attraction that tells a story about the the building itself. There are so many walls throughout San Jose that could use something like this.

I love all the murals going up in San Jose right now, especially Japantown. Let's take it to the next level and aim for something at the scale shown below!

P.S. Notice the green rooftop. Despite having much worse weather than San Jose, almost every high-rise had trees, shrubs, and patios on the roof.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Kit and Ace Opening First Silicon Valley Location in San Jose

Santana Row is getting yet another premier tenant this month. Kit and Ace is a contemporary luxury apparel store that prides itself on "technical luxury," a combination of premium fibers with comfort and functionality. High-end clothing tends to be dry-clean only or fades/falls apart after a few washes. Kit and Ace specifically designs their clothing to be easy to maintain and last a long time--perhaps due to the fact that the line's proprietors are closely related to the founder of Lululemon. Even their cashmere apparel is machine washable.

I also like how there is an element of technology and innovation in their clothing line. Features includes smart ventilation, articulated knees on pants, hidden pockets, sewn inseams, and special materials that minimize wrinkles. It seems like an appropriate clothing store for Silicon Valley.

Hyper-local elements are also incorporated in each store. The San Jose location will have light fixtures and custom furnishings created by a San Jose designer.

Kit and Ace only has two other locations in California: Los Angeles and San Francisco. Their Santana Row store will be the first in Silicon Valley when it opens this Thursday, September 24th. To learn more about the company and see their clothing lines, head over here.

Shannon and JJ Wilson (wife and son of Chip Wilson, Lululemon founder)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bay 101 is Moving Forward With a New Cardroom

Ever since Bay 101 purchased the San Jose Airport Garden Hotel on North First Street years ago, we knew it was just a matter of time before they would move ahead with a new project closer to M8trix. That time is apparently now, demolition of the 512 room hotel is going to begin by the end of the year. Bay 101 is going to construct a new casino and hotel worth around $100 million on that site.

The new card club will be two stories, 67,836 SQFT, and the same number of card tables as the current location (49). The layout will be more spread out and they are planning to do a high-end restaurant as an added attraction. The hotel would be seven stories and 174 room, which is actually much smaller than the hotel is replacing. It is too bad they are not planning to go larger with the first phase, because we really could use the extra hotel rooms.

There is a second phase being planned with a 10 story hotel tower and 150 rooms. In an area that could easily accommodate a 30 story hotel building (which would draw extra attention to the cardroom), this scale is very disappointing to me.

The parking lot east of the card room could also be developed into a 250,000 SQFT office building with 12 stories, but that would be in a far later phase. Bay 101's new home should be ready for gaming by Fall 2017.

Source: SVBJ

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pentagon Selects San Jose as Innovation Hub for Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing

The United States Defense Department has selected San Jose's FlexTech Alliance to lead an initiative on advanced manufacturing. FlexTech will receive $75 million in federal funding in order to pull several disparate manufacturing processes together and build the next generation of electronic sensors. The new sensors will weigh less and be highly malleable, allowing them to easily be worn or embedded just about anywhere. 96 companies will be a part of the FlexTech Alliance, along with 11 laboratories and 41 colleges.

San Jose made a strong name for itself in semiconductor manufacturing in the 90s and 2000s. It's great to see an innovation center being created locally to support the next generation of manufacturing high-tech components. The FlexTech is headquartered at 3081 Zanker Road, in the heart of North San Jose's Golden Triangle.

Source: SVBJ

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday Stats: San Jose Metro has Nation's Strongest Job Market!

The South Bay has the strongest job market in the US based on a new government report. In the 12 month period that ended in July, total payroll employment increased by 6.2%, giving us the fastest growing job market by a huge margin. Tacoma came in second at 5% job growth, while the San Francisco and Salt Lake City metros were tried for third at 4.4%. The East Bay did not rank in the top 10 and had a gain of 2.2%.

To add more color on this data, over the last year 60,400 jobs were added in the San Jose Metro. Half of them were high-tech jobs (presumably with high salaries). We're not just adding tons of jobs, we're adding tons of great jobs.

Source: Siliconbeat

Friday, September 18, 2015

Centerra Has Two Pending Leases!

That giant high-rise across the street from the San Pedro Square Market already has leases pending for two of its five retail pads on the ground floor. L'epi D'or is a popular Asian Bakery in Cupertino. A bakery has been at the top of people's wishlists for the San Pedro Square Market, so I think this will be a great addition to the area.

Popbar would take the prime corner spot at St. John and Almaden Avenue. It is a dessert shop featuring handcrafted gelato on a stick. It is a small chain with several international destinations but only two locations in the US (New York and Anaheim). The pistachio gelato wrapped in crushed pistachios and dipped in dark chocolate looks amazing. If this opens up, I will definitely be swinging by every time I go to the San Pedro Square Market.

The fact that this retail is already filling up is exciting news and a great sign for the San Pedro area in Downtown San Jose!

Source: Robertee from the San Jose Development Forum

Thursday, September 17, 2015

San Jose State University is Beating Out Elite Schools for Tech Jobs

A recent CBS report reveals that getting hired at a high-paying Silicon Valley tech company does not require a degree from an "elite" school. In fact, Silicon Valley companies are hiring more San Jose State University alums than any other college or university. As an example, SJSU topped both Stanford and Cal for the most alums working at Apple.

What is the secret of the university's success? SJSU students have a reputation for getting stuff done. You can sit around and talk about a problem all day, or you can get your hands dirty and fix it. I imagine the prestigious schools spending more time teaching their students about theory and planning versus execution. Plus, many SJSU students are already working while studying, and nothing beats real-world experience.

The word is starting to get around. SJSU enrollment is up to 33,000 students this year, and many of them are coming internationally from countries like India. The University is building a global brand and an outstanding reputation, something that will benefit San Jose and our local economy for generations!

Source: CBS, Big hat tip to Dan De La O for sending this in!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September 2015 Downtown Dimension Highlights

Here are my notes from the latest edition of Downtown Dimension:
  • New homeless programs are being launched to ease the homeless problem Downtown. The programs start September 30th and include:
    • A new service center staffed by PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) will open on Second and Santa Clara to provide law enforcement, business owners, and others help with homeless issues.
    • PATH will deploy uniformed outreach teams to work with the homeless, including clinicians to work with mentally ill homeless people.
    • A new helpline for residents and stakeholders of the Downtown area: (408) 510-7600
    • Potentially doubling county-operated shelters.
    • Converting the Plaza Hotel to 49 rooms for transitionally homeless.
  • The 2015 San Jose homeless population dropped by 15% from 2013 and 2015, so some of the current initiatives seem to be working.
  • Insight Global has moved its office to 50 W. San Fernando, Suite 900
  • First to Market has morphed into The Craftsman on 399 S. First St. [Josh: they also have one of the best cocktail bars Downtown]
  • Singlebarrel is now Haberdasher in the basement of 43 W. San Salvador St. The outdoor sign is a pair of scissors, a bowler hat, and a tie.
  • Insight Realty is proposing an epic mixed-use project at 180 Park Ave. called Museum Place. The plan would include a hotel, residential units, offices, and an expansion of the Tech Museum.
To read the full newsletter, click here!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sourisseau News: The Home Front

The latest edition of Sourisseau News takes us to San Jose during World War II. There are some great photos in this latest video, including Moffett Field. Enjoy the two minute trip back in time right by clicking play on the video below.

Sourisseau News August 2015 The Home Front from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Splunk Is Leasing a 234,000 SQFT Santana Row Office Building!

The newest office building at Santana Row is getting a tenant well before construction is even completed, and it's a significant one. Splunk is a leading data mining company that went public in 2012. The company is currently headquartered in a 213,000 SQFT building in San Francisco. While they are not planning to move their headquarters, Splunk has decided to dramatically increase their investment in the South Bay and move their modest Cupertino operations to one of the most impressive office buildings in Silicon Valley.

The new building at 500 Santana Row has nearly a quarter million square feet and is situated at the tail end of the row with easy access to a couple dozen restaurants, premier shopping, and many other amenities. The office itself has every luxury feature a tenant could possibly want including 13-foot ceilings, outdoor terraces, and an onsite cafe. You can check out some of the renderings below.

This represents a huge win for San Jose and Santana Row. Splunk will bring as many as 1,300 high-paying tech jobs to San Jose with immediate access to San Jose retail. The city will get increased tax revenue from both the office component and sales taxes from Splunk's employees that are shopping and dining out. This double-dipping is one of the many benefits of mixed-use projects. The fact that this is a San Francisco company investing in building a quality outpost in the South Bay and not the other way around is also notable.

Sources: SVBJ, Hillrise from the San Jose Development Forum

Blast From the Past - Downtown San Jose is Getting Illuminated!

Below is an old post from December 26th, 2012 describing a killer project that would illuminate two highway underpasses that are gateways to the Downtown core. Guess what... almost three years later the project is going to happen! Work begins today according to the San Jose Trails Twitter feed!

Downtown San Jose is Getting Illuminated!
Here is a nice little Christmas present for all those that live, work, or play in Downtown San Jose. Two highway underpasses are about to get painted in LED artwork, which you can see below. The first is the main gateway to the Downtown San Jose core--where 87 passes over Santa Clara Street. This important area connects the HP Pavilion and Diridon Station with the rest of Downtown. Right now, it's pretty gloomy and can feel less than inviting if you are walking by yourself. However, that is about to change. Tons of LED lights donated by San Jose-based Philips Lumileds are going under the overpass along with colorful paint that will pop when hit by the lights.

The second underpass is the where 87 passes over San Fernando Street. This project is a bit more modest but the effect is the same. Artists are taking a gloomy overpass and turning it into an attraction. The photo shows blue and green lights, but with LEDs there is always a possibility of making the lighting dynamic.

All of this is made possible by a program called Illuminating Downtown, which received a $600k grant from ArtPlace America and other contributions from the SJDA. These first two lighting projects should be complete by fall 2013. I believe there will be two other areas that are getting lit as well, but am not 100% certain about that. In addition, they are also talking to high-rise residential apartment owners that are looking to illuminate their buildings (The 88 did a GREAT job with this and Axis isn't too shabby either).

I think this is a big step towards making San Jose look like the capital of Silicon Valley. Personally, I can't wait to see these two projects completed. This is showing that Downtown San Jose is moving in the right direction when it comes to public art and creating a more inviting atmosphere. Growdwerx is also doing a great job when it comes to lighting up parts of Downtown.

2013 is going to be a great year!

Source: SVBJ

Highway 87 & Santa Clara Street

Highway 87 & San Fernando Street

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Deluxe Eatery & Drinkery

A new restaurant and bar called Deluxe is going to open very soon at 71 East San Fernando Street, the address last used by Azucar. They have been posting some delicious-looking dishes on their Facebook Page as a teaser. Chad Ferry is Deluxe's chef and has worked in a long line of notable restaurants such as The Plumed Horse, Paolo's, Spagos, and Lark Creek Blue. I have never had short rib tater tots before, but the concept sounds amazing to me. It also looks like they are going to have some slick artwork in there by local San Jose artist Francisco Franco (see the last image below).

That is pretty much all the info I have right now, but will update this post as soon as I know the exact opening date.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saturday Stats: San Jose is the 3rd Best City to Raise a Family!

A recent study done by Healthline looked at a variety of factors such as job prospects, public schools, health care, and lifestyle amenities to come up with a list of the 10 best cities to raise a family in. San Jose came in at a very respectable 3rd place. Dallas took the top spot while Boston was second. San Francisco barely made the list at 9th place.

Source: Healthline, hat tip to Alex Shoor for sending this in!

Friday, September 11, 2015

SoFA Street Fair

The SoFA Street Fair is a celebration of music, art and culture Downtown. The event debuted in 1992, became a raging success, then took a hiatus, and was restarted last year. When it was in its prime, it would draw crowds of 20,000 people. Now the organizers are trying to repeat that success with three outdoor stages, 12 indoor stages, and 100 performances throughout the day. To compliment the music there will be food trucks, beer gardens, and a variety of vendors. It all goes down this Sunday from 2pm to 10pm.

For more info on the event, check out their Facebook page over here.

Help us make more LīVE Music this September at the SoFA Street Fair, a celebration of LīVE music, art, and culture in downtown San Jose’s SoFA District.

Beginning with its debut in 1992, The SoFA Street Fair drew music-lovers of all ages to experience world-class music by legendary local acts, while taking in the unique (counter)culture of the neighborhood. In no time, the festival became one of the most highly anticipated events in downtown San Jose, drawing crowds of 20,000 in its prime. Some would say it helped define what the community is today—a thriving arts and live music destination.

Now, the event is back and better than ever with three outdoor stages, 12 indoor stages, and up to 100 performances throughout the day. Food trucks, beer gardens, all-ages activities and artisan vendors will fill the streets, with LīVE events all day and night in adjacent arts and music venues. It’s all happening Sunday, September 13, for all ages, and always FREE to all, just as it was in 1992.